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Drew's Bayshore Bistro, Keyport

Wow, Drew's just keeps getting better and better (if that is even possible). We settled in last night looking over the menu while our server Colleen read the specials. It seems you can't go wrong with anything at Drew's, it is also nice to have a wide variety of choices.

We started with a special salad of spinach, sliced strawberries, fennel, goat cheese all tied together with a blood orange vinaigrette. Excellent salad and a large portion. I had the signature voodoo shrimp which I had not ordered in some time. Well, it is as good as ever. Go hungry and enjoy! Also had a large bowl of mussels that were prepared with white wine, garlic and herbs. These were tasty and we sopped up the broth with some nice bread.

Entrees were perfectly seared scallops over a creamy corn risotto and two jumbo crab cakes with smashed potatoes, veggies and a creamy tartar sauce. Both entrees were superb.

It is hard to pass up dessert at Drew's, so we didn't try :) A new salted caramel pretzel pie was off the charts good. A pretzel tart shell with caramel, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, chocolate sauce with a scoop of vanilla gelato. Wonderful mix of sweet and salty!
Also had another new dessert, a fried apple pie with whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream was crispy on the outside with warm apple berry goodness inside. Another excellent dessert to end a delicious meal.

Drew was recently nominated for a James Beard award, this is the third year in a row!!. A real accomplishment. Totally comfortable in the new restaurant he is experimenting all the time and is devoting time to a recently purchased smoker. Can't wait for Drew to start sampling from that smoker.
Service from Colleen, Tara and the entire staff is friendly and very helpful.
Always a pleasure dining at Drew's and last night was no exception, enjoy.


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  1. Tom246 - Thanks for the excellent report. Last week I had a chance to try the mussels as well as the excellent chocolate caramel pretzel tart. Both are fantastic additions to the DBB menu. Looking forward to trying the fried apple pie. If its anything like the fig "drewton" I'm sure its a real winner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bgut1

      Fig "Drewton"? b., Tell me more! :) Mr. R. and I are way past due for a visit to the Bistro.


      1. re: RGR

        R - The "Drewton" is obviously Drew's take on a Fig Newton. I would describe it as a empanada or half moon pie with a sweet fig filing. The pies are fried and are delivered warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce and some whipped cream. The nice flaky crust, warm filing and cold ice cream make for a perfect bite. It's a truly masterful job by Drew to bring back the flavor memories of our youth and transform them into a grown-up dessert.

        1. re: bgut1

          Thanks, b.! I'm drooling. Really must get over to the Bistro asap.


    2. Drew's cajun meat pie (empanada) might be my favorite food ever. Seriously. The most delicious.

      1. Read via Facebook. They have soft shell crabs this weekend!

        1 Reply
        1. re: angelo04

          When I called the restaurant they confirmed they would be closed Sunday.

        2. Some quick notes on an excellent dinner Friday night. Drew’s regular menu is awesome, something for everyone but Friday had a list of specials that we could not resist.

          Special salad had sliced strawberries, spinach, goat cheese, curried cashews, with a blueberry shallot vinaigrette. This salad was a meal in itself. Stuffed clams were another special, very large clams hollowed out stuffed with a clam, pepper, tasso ham, butter breadcrumb mixture and had a drizzle of a delicious sauce. These were yummy.

          Soft shell crabs are in the house! Drew’s preparation are hard to resist. Two jumbo crabs were sautéed with brown caper garlic butter with smashed potatoes and crisp vegetables. The pork Friday was a tenderloin with a cornbread stuffing with a root beer glaze. Also came with those smashed potatoes and vegetables. Two excellent entrees. On the expert advice of our server Colleen we sampled the scallops with creamy corn risotto. She told us they were “just off the boat”. They were incredibly sweet and delicious.
          We finished our feast with a menu dessert, salty pretzel crusted chocolate caramel tart with whipped cream and vanilla gelato drizzled with chocolate and caramel. Yes, it is as good as it sounds. If you want to beat the weekend rush, Drew's is now open 7 days for dinner.

          3 Replies
          1. re: tom246

            Tom246 - You beat me to the punch. I was there last night and tried many of the dishes you sampled and can confirm that they were all excellent. I would like to add however that I tried two new dishes on special: escargot in a butter and garlic sauce over country bread (appetizer) and the panko crusted chicken fried steak topped with a jalapeno cream sauce over smashed potatoes (which I understand is to be be added to the menu). Both items were phenomenal. As usual my family was fighting over the leftovers this afternoon. At this stage of the game, Drew could rest on his laurels but instead he continues to innovate and I look forward to returning again and again to try whatever is new. BTW, weren't those scallops fantastic? They were probably the freshest tasting scallops I've ever had.

            1. re: bgut1

              The old meets the new or should I reverse that :) Last night we sampled some excellent new dishes as well as some old favorites.
              We started with clams & andouille, Southwestern salad and a new Southern Flatbread, a combination of cheddar cheese, Bentons bacon and topped with greens. Very tasty new flatbread to try. These three yummy starters were enough for a meal.

              Entrees were that fabulous new panko crusted chicken fried steak topped with a jalapeno cream sauce over smashed potatoes with seasonal veggies. As bgut1 says above, just a great tasting entree and lunch for today. DW had the "surf and turf", a creative dish which had a large perfect medium rare flat iron steak topped with New Orleans style BBQ shrimp. Also had smashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. Just delicious and another lunch portion for today.

              Desserts were Strawberry Cream Sundae which combined strawberry sorbet, vanilla gelato and sliced strawberries. The tangy sorbet and rich gelato make a perfect combination. Also had that scrumptious Salty Caramel Pretzel tart which is fast becoming an old favorite.
              Service is always top notch, you feel like dining in one's home, not a restaurant. Makes for a pleasurable dining experience.

              1. re: tom246

                Tom246 - As usual, I just missed you by a night. My group had many of the same items you enjoyed and I have not much more to add to your assessment but to confirm your raves. One dish that was a first however were the Denver ribs. They were exceptional having exhibited a perfect blend of smokiness, lambiness, and tanginess (BBQ sauce). They may have been some of the best ribs I've ever enjoyed (I've I've eaten many). As far as desserts, the sundae has become a favorite of mine. Since Drew picked up the ice cream maker, his ice creams and sorbets have been exemplary and the flavors of that sundae brought back memories of eating those strawberry vanilla cups I enjoyed as a kid. You can't ask for better than that. As usual, DBB never disappoints.

          2. Will have to give this a try. I always end up at McDonaughs in Keyport because I don't know anywhere else. I was there yesterday and I was disappointed with the quality of my turkey club sandwich. The turkey was shredded to bits.

            1. Last night at dinner we sampled several new menu specials, all were delicious and show the skill and versatility of Chef-Owner Drew Araneo. We settled in, listened to the specials while munching on some crusty bread.

              The apps were a series of specials. “Shrimp Cocktail” was all that and more and included a Mexican flair. Several large shrimp, split in half were mixed with a chili lime cocktail sauce and also included avocado and radishes. Also came with homemade tortilla chips. Now that is shrimp cocktail! Eggplant “Parm” flatbread was a fun and very tasty version of the classic. Fried eggplant, tomato jam, mozzarella all together on crispy flatbread. I’m a sucker for fried eggplant and this was excellent.
              People are wondering where fresh Jersey tomatoes are, get to Drews for some. Fresh Jersey tomato salad included a variety of tomatoes, olives, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil with a red wine vinaigrette. Super fresh and delicious. Contrast that with slices of greaseless fried green tomatoes served with a tasty garlic infused sauce. Fresh tomatoes, fried tomatoes, both were a treat for the taste buds.

              Entrees were a large grilled pork chop, prepared perfectly and was fork tender. Came with a “New Mexico” green chili sauce which was the optimum balance of flavor and kick. Came with a serving of corn pudding. This dish was flat out delicious. Last entrée was a menu staple but one that is so good. Large seared day boat scallops served with a ragout of fresh corn, bacon and poblano. It is hard not to order those scallops.

              Finished by splitting a chocolate bread pudding topped with peanut butter gelato with whipped cream and caramel sauce. Yes, it was as good as it sounds!
              Service was great all evening, our server deserves special credit for being able to open a wax sealed bottle of Audelssa Cabernet. Like opening Fort Knox :) If you have a hankering for some Nawlins food mixed with Southwest flair, get to Drew’s soon!

              1. After a couple years of trying to hook up our darling daughter and SIL with a visit to Drew’s we finally accomplished that last night. It’s not our fault they live in Jersey City, work in NYC and are without a car :)
                They both were looking forward to dinner and were not disappointed.
                I thought it might be interesting to get their take on our feast last night so during this report their comments are included.

                Sat down and while looking at the printed menu our server Tara read us a series of special appetizers and entrees. Lots to decide from. To be able to sample everything we served the food family style.
                Started with Mexican Shrimp Cocktail, DD “I’m stuck with making Christmas dinner this year but this is our starter for sure". "It may not turn out as good but all the ingredients are written down”. Clams & Andouille, SIL “this is the best clam soup ever” as he ladled in the chorizo flecked broth. Voodoo Shrimp, DD “Why didn’t I order a full serving of this“. “This is to die for”. Mac & Cheese, cheddar jack, Benton’s bacon, toasted bread crumbs, a meal all by itself. Perfect for sharing. Candied Bacon was a new starter and an instant favorite. Thick cut bacon seasoned with pepper then coated with brown sugar and baked to form a heavenly crust. Sweet delicious flavor served with some awesome coleslaw. DD “how does he get the bacon so chewy yet crispy with that much flavor”

                After that array of starters we shared fresh Jersey tomato panzanella salad with an assortment of tasty Jersey tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, croutons in a fresh Italian dressing

                Entrees were a couple of jumbo soft shell crabs sauteed with browned butter caper garlic sauce over mashed potatoes.So sweet and yummy. A special of two large prime pork chops with a mushroom marsala sauce with chunks of chorizo over smashed potatoes and veggies was so juicy and tender. SIL “this is how I always picture Creole food tasting but never get. This is the real deal!”. Scallops with fresh corn, bacon and poblano. DD, “OK, this is my new standard for scallops”. Shrimp and Grits, a long time favorite which received a table full of smiles when tasted.
                A nice lunch is planned with the assorted leftovers.

                Desserts were the Salty Caramel Pretzel tart, DD, “So good, how does he do that”, Lemon Blueberry Tart was a hit with fresh tart lemon custard over blueberry filling with toasted marshmallow topping. SIL. “wow, a lot happening with this dessert and its all good”. Cantaloupe sorbet was like eating a fresh piece of fruit and creamy corn ice cream had everything but the husk :)
                Saturday night at Drew’s can be really busy but Tara and team had everything under control which makes for a relaxed fun evening. With a couple of birthdays coming up we had a magnum of 05 Mondavi Cabernet Reserve with dinner.
                Final comment from DD, “I am so happy we are getting a car soon. I know where we are coming to dinner”.
                I think that says it all :)

                3 Replies
                1. re: tom246

                  As usual tom246, that was a great review. Drew's never disappoints.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    Last night the DW and I enjoyed another fantastic meal at Drew's. To avoid any redundancy, I wanted to focus solely on the single most enjoyable dish of the evening: my dessert. Our server advised that there was a special ice cream for the evening and explained that it was bacon and butterscotch. Loving all things bacon I had to give it a try. I am so glad I did as it was probably the best ice cream I've ever had. Smooth, creamy, sweet and salty, it comprised the best textures and flavors one could ever come to expect in an ice cream. I hope for everyone's sake that Drew decides to make more and make it a permanent addition to his dessert menu. If others get the opportunity to try the ice cream, I welcome their thoughts.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      All I can say is YUM! bgut1, that sounds really good and desserts combining sweet and salty are becoming quite the trend.

                2. We had dinner at Drew's yesterday. We hadn't been in ages -- so long ago that this was our first time in the new location. Much more attractive than the old digs.

                  As everyone has said, Drew's cuisine continues to rock big time! We kind of went overboard with the appetizers and shared he following: Bistro Bacon, Bistro Flatbread, Escargots, Fried Green Tomatoes. For mains, Mr. R. had his beloved Jambalaya while I had the Duck Breast special which was accompanied by Duck Confit Jambalaya. Portions, as always, were so huge that in order not to burst -- and, of course, to leave room for dessert -- we came home with several containers of leftovers.

                  For dessert, we shared the Salty Pretzel Chocolate Caramel Tart and a few ice creams. I had the delicious housemade lemonade, and now that they have the proper equipment, Mr. R. ended the meal with an excellent cappuccino.

                  Tana and Heather provided superb service.

                  We are definitely putting Drew's back on regular rotation.

                  Photos of last night's dinner at Drew's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RGR

                    R - As always, that was an excellent review. I'm happy that you enjoyed your meal at Drew's. It looks like you had quite the feast. The Bistro Bacon and the Escargot are two of my favorite appetizers (along with his fantastic mac and cheese). What did you think of the desserts? Drew has definitely taken them to a new level since you and Mr. R. last were there. I am particularly interested in your take on the goat cheese and fig and butterscotch and bacon flavors. Thanks in advance.

                    1. re: bgut1

                      b., Thanks for your kind words. :)

                      While the bacon was amazing, the escargots totally blew us away! One of the best escargots dishes we've ever had. I actually missed noting the mac and cheese. But it's just as well since we were already on appetizer overload. Definitely next time.

                      Mr. R.'s favorite dessert is ice cream, and he loved all three equally. The butterscotch and bacon was nice, but I didn't love it. Goat cheese and figs are two of my favorite things. Together, they were dynamite. The one that had me totally swooning was the corn ice cream. What an explosion of corn flavor! Also, the vanilla gelato that topped the chocolate caramel tart was excellent (as was the tart). It's great that Drew now has the proper equipment so he can make all sorts of delicious ice creams and gelatos.

                      The entire menu is a testament to Drew's never endiing creativity.


                  2. Had a delicious dinner at Drew's last night. Old favorites are still on the menu but Drew's ability to offer new innovative items keeps the dining experience at a high level.

                    Voodoo shrimp, Autumn salad and escargot were the appetizers last night, the voodoo shrimp were wonderful as always, the Autumn salad and escargot were new treats for us.

                    Entrees were new to the menu, both were delicious and large portions. Looking forward to lunch today: Crispy duck confit was a duo of legs sitting on a bed of duck, mushroom and tasso ham jambalaya, also had a spicy orange glaze. Wonderful combination of flavors. Lobster Pot Pie was a pot pie like no other. Meat from 1 1/2 lb lobster combined with carrots, potatoes, pearl onions in a yummy buttery crust. A pot pie for the ages :)

                    Leftovers for today but could not pass up dessert. All the times we have dined at Drew's we had missed the Fig Drewton's. Not last night, they were on the menu and we indulged. Empanadas were stuffed with fig jam, drizzled with caramel sauce, served with a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I honestly think Drew should trademark that name, it is that good! What a way to mend a great meal.

                    A new 2010 vintage of DeBiase Pinot Noir went well with the variety of food.. Here are some pictures of the food in the order I mention above.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tom246

                      Excellent report tom246. I can't wait for my next dinner at Drew's.

                    2. Drew's Bayshore Bistro will be reopening tomorrow, March 5, at his new location at 25 Church St., Keyport!!!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bgut1

                        Saw that Drew's was just about ready to go based on their Facebook page. Good news indeed. I've got a birthday dinner coming up Sunday. There will probably be a 'crush' of reservatitons as they reopen who've been missing this wonderful place. Thanks,

                        1. re: bgut1

                          Great news bgut1!!, a long road back is almost complete.

                          1. re: bgut1

                            Drew's is indeed open again. His cooking is as stellar as always. The most incredible caesar salad followed by the root beer glazed pork chop was our dinner, that ended with the special dessert, salty-pretzel-chocolate-caramel-tart. It's so great that one of the area's finest restaurants has returned!!

                            1. I was lucky enough to get a reservation to Drew's for its opening night last Tuesday. Having eaten at the prior two restaurants I can attest that this one is the best. From the larger room to the decor to the picture windows, this space is so much better in every way. As for the food, there was evidently no rust exhibited in Chef Drew's 4 month absence behind the stove. Everything tasted as good as I remember. In fact I would argue that certain dishes tasted better (which may have come from Drew tinkering with his recipes during his hiatus). For appetizers we had the voodoo shrimp, pork rillette, escargot, and calamari. For entrees the table ordered the root beer glazed pork chop, scallops and the strip steak. All the apps and entrees were stellar. For dessert we had the car bomb sundae, the signature chocolate caramel tarte, bananas foster bread pudding and the "Bay Breeze" crumble (pineapple, cranberry, and rum ice cream). All the desserts were exemplary with the bread pudding (more delicious than ever) and the new crumble being the standouts. Add the fantastic service and it clear to see that Drew's is back and better than ever.

                              1. Did Drew ever get anywhere with that smoker? I'd like to try some smoked goods!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: corvette johnny

                                  Johnny - I don't think he has the smoker out yet in the new place but I do recall him using one at the last location. Last year he did amazing lamb ribs and I hope to see them again at some point on the new menu.

                                2. We were fortunate enough to get a reservation this past Saturday. Since we didn't have a sitter and the kids love Drew's, we got a 5:00 reservation, (not an issue cause my 8 year old daughter, and 6 year old son are definitely fellow hounds!)

                                  Now I never had a bad meal at Drew's. Never had a Just OK meal at Drew's. This meal was no different, maybe the best I have had at Drew's. You would think he might be a little rusty. Nope not a chance. The meal was stellar. While Drew may have been out of commission for months since Sandy, he did not miss a beat Saturday. Great service and a great meal.

                                  We ordered 4 app's, 3 entree's, 2 desserts. Hey we were hungry! And missed the food, we were last there in late August, MId September.

                                  App's - Those wonderful Voo Doo Shrimp. Really the best part is soaking up the sauce with bread, so good. The Clams with Andoulie sausage, another great broth to soak up. A well executed spinach salad with cheddar, bacon, nuts and pear (maybe apple, memory eludes me right now.) But my personal favorite is his take on the escargot. OMG. Heavy, rich, creamy. Served out of the shell with some type of chopped cajun style sausage, Delicious. No one wanted to share this. Thankfully this was all mine!

                                  Entree's - My better half had Shrimp and Grits. We hate grits until we had Drews (and Chef MD's. ) So so good. I really like to have the pork du jour but the stuffed cat fish with crawfish caught my eye and did not disappoint. The Kids spilt the Short Ribs. The one bite I had was really good, the only bad part was I was hoping for leftovers!

                                  Desserts were the Salty Carmel Pretzel tart thing, my favorite and Bananas foster bread pudding.

                                  A stellar meal.

                                  The new space is by far the best and there is even a small parking lot.

                                  Glad Drew is back in business, wishing him much success.

                                  1. DH and I have had two dinners in the past two weeks since opening. We have had old favorite Voodoo Shrimp - still fabulous- and had the best spinach salad lightly dressed (I don't remember exact but I think it had maple flavor) with white cheddar, Benton's bacon, apple and grapes- all ingredients top notch and fresh. Entrees included the catfish on the regular menu, mako with New Orleans BBQ shrimp on top (OMG) and pork chop duo with a spicy rub and cooked to perfection!

                                    1. Congratulations to Drew's for being named 2013 Best Restaurant at the Jersey Shore!!


                                      1. Per their Facebook Page, the first batch of Soft Shell Crabs are being served tonight. One of my favorites and Drew's are awesome.

                                        1. So I finally got around to trying out Drews.

                                          The verdict: good food with some creativity, good service, and average location/decor. I would recommend trying this place out.

                                          On a sunday night my wife and I had to wait about 5-10 minutes....no big deal. I was glad to see them turning out some business after all they went through at their old location. To start, I had a great bottle of wine from my friend Craig Justice at Blue Merle winery. That set the night off right (yes this is BYOB for those that don't know.)

                                          The first great sign was that Drews actually got the bread right! Instead of a rock hard chuck of better on a room temp piece of bread, they serve soft butter and warm rolls. Kudos for getting the bread right Drew. The bread was pretty good too.

                                          The $10 bowl of mac and cheese was our appetizer. We opted for one app instead of 2. It was a nice rendition...not amazing by any means but good comfort food.

                                          If I could wind back time, I would have opted for another dish. As usual, I went with a NY strip steak and I left wishing I tried something more in their wheelhouse like the Gumbo or Jumbalaya....or even his pork dishes. It was a quality cut of meat served with a whopping pad of garlic/jalapeno butter. Steak was served medium (asked for medium rare but no big deal to me....still like medium.) The butter honestly didn't do too much for me. You could put butter on anything and have it taste better but it just tasted kind of bland to me...not much bite. Maybe that was the goal but to me I was expecting some bolder flavor in this steak (more than the natural beef flavor.) Don't get me wrong, this is a decent steak but for 30 bucks I had a small gripe with the sides. Simply put, I thought they were kind of skimpy....not too many veggies and not much for potatos (and starch is cheap so load people up with it.) Anyway, bottom line was this steak was OK but I just was looking for more "energy" out off a Drews steak since I know they are reknown for pronounced flavors.

                                          In contrast to my B- strip steak, my wife's hanger was superb and cooked to perfection. It had a great flavor, was a large portion, and had a hearty helping of potatos. Maybe I got the wrong cook but her sides dwarfed mine. As a steak guy, this is a good steak with some unique flavoring and tenderness. If you are hung up on steak, I'd recommend the cheaper hanger cut over the strip.

                                          Overall, it is great to see a small business thrive and it is awesome to see them back on their feet. I like Drew's style and his commitment to thinking outside the box wtih some creative dishes and flavors you just don't see every day. I will be back someday.

                                          Ps, I would love to try his smoked pork out if ever gets that up and running.

                                          1. Dinner at Drew's last night was exceptional on so many levels. Back in NJ for a week but it wasn't complete until dinner at Drew's.

                                            For those that haven't been, the new space is larger and absorbs sound so much better than the East Front address. Tables are well spaced and dinner is comfortable and relaxed. INHO a big step up. Bread service is now some crusty semolina rolls with butter. These rolls come in handy sopping up all the goodies that follow :)

                                            The food, well, what would you expect. From start to finish everything was excellent, old favorites plus some new menu items. Voodoo shrimp is Nawlins comfort food and grilled calamari, gnocchi in a red sauce was a new treat, yum!

                                            Scallops were seared perfectly and came with a corn risotto, just delicious. The special last night was truly special. Two HUGE corn meal crusted soft shell crabs pan fried in BACON FAT, topped with a drizzle of remoulade sauce. Are you kidding me. These were seriously delicious.

                                            Desserts were the salty caramel pretzel (a favorite) and a lemon tart with blueberry compote which was the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

                                            It felt really good dining at Drew's again. The space is great, Tara and the servers make you feel like your in their home and Drew, Joe and crew are back in the kitchen cooking better than ever. If you haven't been, just go, you will thank me later :)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: tom246

                                              tom246 - Welcome back. Happy to read your excellent reviews again.

                                            2. This just in Per Drew's Facebook page

                                              "It's official, so we guess we're allowed to post about it! (last of course!) Throwdown - Drew's vs. the man himself - Bobby Flay! We'll post the details as we get them, but we have to make this clear - Bobby Flay will not be at Drew's Tonight! We have already received a few phone calls from folks who want to come down & meet Bobby!! Sorry to disappoint ya'll but the Throwdown in next week! Remember NJ is 'STTS'!!!!"

                                              Go Drew! Show him how its done!

                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: angelo04

                                                Good luck Chef Drew. I know you will make us proud.

                                                1. re: bgut1

                                                  Agree bgut1, wish I was there to cheer him on!

                                                  1. re: tom246

                                                    Actually I am really happy for the entire town who came out in support of Andrew, his wife and the business community. The skills speak for themselves. Now the business is part of Stronger then the Storm campaign. So this Throwdown is being publicized as a town event during the Thurs night Concert Series event. Open to the public with projection screens for viewing. Should be fun!

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      When is this show due to be aired?

                                                      1. re: equal_Mark

                                                        I haven't seen anything posted about when this show will run on tv yet.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          I don't think it even taped yet so I imagine it won't air for at least a month or 2 but that is just a guess.

                                                          1. re: angelo04

                                                            didn't you see my post the show is live in keyport next thurs @ 8pm, angelo04. you should go!

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              Well, I guess I won't be going there for dinner for my bday next Thursday then. What are the chances? Sigh.


                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                Hillj I missed that. Thanks so much. We will be there!

                                                                1. re: angelo04

                                                                  We're going to try as well. Hope I can see something! If you follow the Throwdown format, the show surprises the owners challenged by Mr. Flay...and clearly that format is not employed here...or ever truly is. The PRwire has been talking about the meetup in Keyport all week.

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    TIME CHANGE according to the PR Wire:

                                                                    Update: NOW 2pm ON THE KEYPORT WATERFRONT (not at the restaurant)
                                                                    This is a voo doo shrimp throwdown.

                                                                    (Time of this event has changed 3x's already! So I'd recommend checking back this week on the Keyport Happenings FB page.)

                                                                    The culinary cook-off between Bobby Flay and Andrew Araneo, of Drew's Bayshore Bistro, will now take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, according to a spokeswoman from the Stronger Than The Storm campaign. The event was initially planned at 7 p.m. the same day.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Bobby must be nervous so he keeos changing the time!

                                                                      Hope the time is later, no way I can make 2:00. Either way go get em Drew!

                                                                      1. re: angelo04

                                                                        I'm not really a huge fan of Drew's, but the last time I rooted for someone this much it was a Game Seven in the Bronx.

                                                                        1. re: MGZ


                                                                          To each his own. I think it is one of the better places in the area. Never had a bad meal or service and that includes Mothers day which depsise eating out on! Yeah I didn't have much say on that!

                                                                        2. re: angelo04

                                                                          I could not make the the throw down but just read on Twitter that Drew won....No real Surprise there. Congrats Drew!

                                                                          1. re: angelo04

                                                                            No surprise indeed. It's kinda like Duke playin' the Miami Heat. At first, you think it might be a game, and then you realize you're watchin' that "other team" playin' the Globetrotters or Rutgers steppin' across the baselines to take their swings against the Yankees.

                                                                            Hat's off, Drew. Thanks for what you did.

                                                  2. Is there a dress code? I only go to Keyport to meet friends when they come in off the fishing boats, and nobody's dressed for much of anything.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: ebchower

                                                      Keyport Dress Code


                                                      Harmonious discord.

                                                      True lies.

                                                      Kosher ham.

                                                      It's the Bayshore - just make sure you wear pants.
                                                      Free love.

                                                        1. re: ebchower

                                                          Well, ebchower, I appreciate that hangin' curve. I really do.

                                                          It gives me a chance to add to the list:

                                                          Airplane food.

                                                          Marajuana Initiative.

                                                          One man crew.

                                                          Business ethics.

                                                          And, of course,

                                                          Bobby Flay's food.

                                                    2. We finally had the opportunity to dine at Drew's last night. Three people, myself, husband and our 24yo son. Had an early reservation, 6pm, but we arrived around 5:30pm. They had no problem seating us immediately, there were only two tables occupied when we arrived. My first impression is that while the place is simply decorated with pictures of the South, it was very dimly lit. Also, it would benefit from some music. It was a very humid, warm day but the restaurant was cool to chilly. I was wearing sandals and my feet were frozen.

                                                      Our server was pleasant and professional, efficient but there were some delays between courses and it took a little while at the end of the meal before she noticed we were ready for the check. She was occupied by the arrival of a large party right about then. Another server, very personable came over at least twice to see how we were enjoying ourselves and if we needed anything. I would absolutely request to sit at one of her tables if I went back. An odd note: every one of our chairs was wobbly, like if the legs were uneven. My DH said he thinks it was the tiling on the floor, it seemed a bit uneven.

                                                      Drinks: As we did not BYOB, we ordered off the menu, my son had a Coke, I had a homemade Lemonade-very nice, not too sweet, not too tangy and DH had an unsweetened tea to which he added Splenda.

                                                      Bread basket: Small seeded rolls or mini loaves were piping hot and very good. Nice and crusty but the butter was rock hard. Wish it had been softened a bit.

                                                      Apps: Son chose Bistro Mac n Cheese. He barely ate any of it. It was super smoky and tasted like you were eating a fireplace. I tasted it and also did not care for it. DH chose the Escargot. It was very tasty, not too garlicky, the snails were a nice size he loved the combination of the gorgonzola and bread with the garlic butter and pieces of ham. I thought it was too salty and I am a salt user. As an aside, there was a small chip on the side of the dish and one end was broken off. Was a bit surprised at that. I chose the Voodoo Shrimp. Had to after hearing everyone rave and finding out this will be the Throwdown dish. The sauce was excellent, very flavorful, the jalapeno cornbread was fantastic (it comes on the bottom if the dish, under the sauce, not on the side-I wish it would've said so on the menu). The shrimp were large, plump, tail off (hooray!) but slightly overcooked. They were a bit chewy and grainy. I was disappointed in that because otherwise the dish would've been sublime.

                                                      Mains: My son had Pan Roasted Garlic 1/2 Chicken. The menue described it as boneless but it was not. It did have a single bone but the chicken was flattened. It was served with smashed potatoes and seasonal veg (green beans-crunchy) and squash. It came with about thirty cloves of sauteed or roasted garlic but it was not overwhelming at all, it was a mild sauce. He enjoyed the dish.
                                                      DH had Jambalaya. It was a huge dish. Huge. After about 30 min of eating, he still had half the mountain of food left and the dish was still steaming hot. Wow. He said it was spicy but not overly so (he likes spicy hot food).
                                                      I ordered the Gumbo, which is not listed on the current online menu. It was also presented on a huge dish over rice. The shrimp were perfect here. The dish also included crawfish tails, andouille sausage and lump crabmeat, and large pieces of okra. It was delightful. We each ended up bringing home half our entrees.

                                                      Dessert: My son opted out totally. DH and I split two desserts, the Chocolate Caramel Tart with Pretzel Crust and an Almond Coconut Bread Pudding. I had coffee, described as Sumatran from a local roaster. It was excellent. No bitterness at all. The server brought a steak knife for the tart as the crust is very hard. The tart was served with vanilla gelato on top and real whipped cream on the side. This is a fantastic dessert. Overall, the best item of the night. The gelato was tasty but unnecessary for the tart. The choc ganache on the tart is sprinkled with chunky Maldon Sea Salt. The sweet and salty together was fantastic. The bread pudding was fine. It was served with choc gelato but we felt it would've been better with Vanilla gelato or a vanilla sauce. The choc gelato itself was excellent, it really tasted of semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, not just ice cream chocolate. The bread pudding had the coconut incorporated into it and sliced almonds on top. I really felt it was just average and the coconut just made the texture of the pudding strangely stringy.

                                                      There were specials, quoted to us with prices, as it should be. There was some sort of Berry Salad over Arugula, the pork was a Caribbean Jerk Premium (?)Pork Chop, the giant Soft Shell Crabs and a Hudson Valley Sliced Duck Breast. I may be missing something.

                                                      The total for the three of us was approx. $140.00.

                                                      The parking lot is very small and as the restaurant filled up when we left (about 7:30) cars were parked sideways in the lot, etc. I don't think there is parking on the street directly outside so just be aware there could be an issue. Also there is only a single handicapped spot.

                                                      Overall, we were very pleased with our dining experience there and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

                                                      16 Replies
                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                        Rock hard butter is a pet peeve of mine too. Nice review. I'm going to try to make the throwdown later today..hope the weather holds....I wonder if reservations will be near impossible after this...

                                                        1. re: HillJ


                                                          Some fun details about the folks judging today's Throwdown.

                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                              Yes, I made it there. Nice crowd turn out considering the time of day, the sticky hot weather, last minute announcement and smallish space to host a live throw down. Everyone was in great spirits and the stage setup was interesting. I can't see how this would air on FN as anything other than a food event piece but that's really besides the point. Turns out the Governor asked Bobby Flay to come into NJ to have some fun with a restaurant owner and Andrew was the very deserving chef chosen. I didn't taste any of the samples passed around (I was standing too far back at that point) but for DBB and for Keyport this was a terrific moment.

                                                              Bobby Flay took photos with fans, a few prizes were given out, the celeb judges and the MC kept the crowd entertained.

                                                              I hope reservations @ DBB aren't hard to come by now :)

                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                HillJ, thanks for the nice report on the throwdown. Great day for Drew, Keyport and the entire NJ Shore.
                                                                Wish we could have attended but following online was like listening to a prize fight on the radio (you need to be old enough to appreciate that!).

                                                                BF can come off as a pompous wise a** but having met and spoken to him a few times, he is actually quite gracious.

                                                                1. re: tom246

                                                                  My pleasure. I've never seen Andrew smile that BIG..and you know the guy is always quick to smile! BF is a good egg in my book and quick to shine a light on up & comers. It was extremely hot that afternoon! I lasted about an hour and headed back to my studio. And thank you for the charming reference (I mean it!) about age. My 4 kids (40, 37, 33, 23) would get a real kick out of that.

                                                                  See you on the boards!

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    I was trying to figure out if anyone has ever lost to BF on a Throwdown? Wouldn't that be bad publicity for a restaurant, to lose on your signature dish? Probably just promotional correct?

                                                                    1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                      If you check previous episodes, BF has won at least half of the throwdowns. Plus many times he will challenge in a food category that he is not familiar with (donuts as an example).

                                                                      Makes Drew's win all the more impressive as Voodoo Shrimp is right in Bobby's wheelhouse.

                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                        German Chocolate Cake in Harlem lost..but BF is gracious even when he "wins" because the show is designed to highlight people who "do what they do"...

                                                                        1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                          A friend who returned to The New School for film interned for the show for about 6 months, when the show was fairly new. She was one of his talent scouts for Throwdown. She says BF started out truly surprising the business owners but it was difficult to keep the surprise element going for long. As for the win, I think it truly depends on what the owners are willing to demonstrate on camera.

                                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                                          You kinda have to expect the hot steamy weather this time of year in New Orleans...

                                                                        3. re: tom246

                                                                          Man, listenin' to a prize fight on the radio was almost worse than listenin' to fireworks on the radio:

                                                                          "Oh, that was a big one. Round. So pretty and blue

                                                                          "My oh my, that one's red and a flowery spelctacle

                                                                          "It's green! This one's green."

                                                                2. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                  nice to find okra in gumbo. most around here are only roux based no okra.

                                                                  1. re: Gastronomos

                                                                    That does seem to be the trend locally, no okra. It's a shame because it was delicious.

                                                                  2. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                    Excellent review thank you very much. Actually hearing about the Jumbalaya & Gumbo makes me want to go more now. I'm not a huge seafood guy and most of the reviews I have read have been more towards the scallops and other seafood dishes.

                                                                    Regarding the chicken......if it was a boneless breast with just a wing bone attached, that is "french cut" and is generally considered boneless.

                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      It was my son's dish and for some strange reason he dislikes me deconstructing his meal while he is eating it. So I didn't have the chance to examine it but it was described as a half a chicken and although it was pounded flat, there was dark meat attached. It was presented as a clean bone though.

                                                                      A boneless cut that comes with a bone? How strange. Thanks for the info.

                                                                      FYI both the Gumbo and Jambalaya had seafood in them.

                                                                  3. Finally made it to Drews last night. We were a party of 8ppl and it took us 3 weeks to get this reservation for a Fri or Sat night. Even after waiting 3 weeks 8:30pm was the time they had available.

                                                                    We arrived on time at 8:30 but still had to wait about 30 mins for the table to become available. It's understandable in a small restaurant you are always at the mercy of the tables ahead of you. The biggest problem is by sitting at 9, it's easily 9:30 before you sit, read the menu and decide on your order(s) and close to 10pm by the time food starts coming out, which is pretty much how the night went.

                                                                    The new space is nice, well laid out, complete open view into the kitchen as you walk in, very well done. Several pictures of Drews recent victory over Bobby Flay adorn the waiting area. As it was late and we were hungry we ordered a large assortment of appitizers, the list of which were something like this, escargot, roasted clams, voodoo shrimp, Mac and cheese, mussels and a salad. Everything was excellent, the only problem is we were so hungry you just ate, not really appreciating the VERY complex layering of flavors. An example is the escargot, they were sautéed in garlic in a creamy spinach and blue cheese (I think) sauce which was such an indulgently rich layering of flavors I would have liked to taken 5 minutes to eat each individual snail to let the flavors breakdown. Instead with a party of 8ppl at 9:45 dishes were just being passed and samples are being taken and passed around. The voodoo shrimp (award winning) were delicious and so much enjoyed by one guest it became a dinner order as well.

                                                                    I should also add fresh hot rolls, hot fresh baked, crisp outside warm and gooey inside with butter was also served. Excellent rolls.

                                                                    Dinner entrees included, 3 fried catfish (special), rib eye (special and no not mine!) duck breast in a fig sauce, pork Osso Bucco, voodoo shrimp, jambalaya (my order). There wasn't one complaint to be had. I tried the catfish (which was my wife's order) and it was outstanding. I've never had catfish nor would I have ever wanted to try it except for her bragging how good it was, and it was! My jambalaya was awesome such a great combination off flavors and textures with just the right amount of "kick" to it.

                                                                    There were a few deserts ordered, the most popular was a salted caramel pretzel cake. There were no complaints there, I did not sample any, I enjoyed a double espresso.

                                                                    All in all an excellent experience under less than ideal circumstances that are beyond the restaurants control. I look forward to going back as a table for two at 7pm and slowly enjoying the night.

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                      Great report Jr, nice to hear the group enjoyed everything though it did make me a bit jealous :)

                                                                      1. re: tom246

                                                                        Me too. Most of my friends in NJ are waiting very patiently for their first visit to DBB.

                                                                      2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                        Drew's take on escargot might be one of the best dishes I had in recent memory. Then the bread to sop up all that delicious sauce. Oh and that voodoo shrimp rocks. Nice write up, hope you left room for the salty pretzel tart, another favorite

                                                                        1. re: angelo04

                                                                          The escargot was sooooo good, but we were sharing so I couldn't really take too many. Next time that is MY appetizer and I cannot wait to enjoy that.

                                                                          Am I correct was it blue cheese?

                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                            It is blue cheese with the escargot. You think that combo wouldn't work but it does. I don't remember spinach in it when we had it though.

                                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                              As a general rule, not a fan of blue cheese, but that dish just works, soooooo good

                                                                        2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                          Glad you enjoyed it! We loved the jambalaya, voodoo shrimp and the escargot also. And that tart is to die for! We recommend Drew's to everyone we talk to.

                                                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                            On my first-timer trip there a couple months ago, I had the Voodoo shrimp and the jambalaya. Best meal I've had in...... Well, I can't remember when.

                                                                        3. Went on a wim Last night. Service was great. The duck and onion MAc and cheese was one of the best dishes I've ever had. The 16 Hour Pork Belly was also out of this world. For an entree I had the hanger steak, at the table we also had the soft shell crab and an order of the scallops. To finish it off we got the chocolate, caramel,and pretzel tart with sea salt. It was a perfect blend of sweet salty with just the right crunch. Everything was amazing. I live 3 minutes from Drews and honestly can kick myself for not going there earlier. I will be returning.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Simmons5

                                                                            I can't believe this place is not packed to the rafters every night.

                                                                          2. Ok went back on Saturday night for my second visit. My last time (first overall experience) was with a party of 8, so I completely understand difficulty of seating a party that size in a restaurant of this size. This time we were a party of 4 we made reservations 3 weeks in advance and were given 8:30 reservations. (I was told during the night Drew's called the day of the reservation to try and move us to 6:30/7pm, but we couldn't accommodate that time since we had these plans for 3 weeks already, so we kept the 8:30 we were originally given).

                                                                            We stopped on our way to Drew's at Piero's on 36 in Union Beach, about 5 mins from Drew's for a few cocktails before dinner. (Piero's was packed by the way, and the food looked really good and live entertainment. I've only eaten there a handful of times but this put it back on the radar to give it a try again soon).

                                                                            So learning from our previous trip we called Drews at 8:15 and asked how we were looking for our 8:30 reservation because we didn't want to wait when we got there. They said to give them till 8:45 and we would be fine. We walk in at 8:45, no table, this pissed me off a little. The fact we didn't get a table till 9:15, pissed me off a lot.

                                                                            Adding insult to injury at this point is the very nonchalant attitude of the "hostess", whom I assume we spoke to when we called to check on our reservation. Drew standing in the kitchen gawking out, either aware or not, he is the owner/manager of his restaurant and should be made aware of an already upset customer(s).

                                                                            Once we were seated we were told that they were going to buy us desert for the delay. This made it alarmingly clear to me that Drew needs a floor manager. (if that "hostess" was a manager then this point is even more valid). We are seated at 9:15 there is no way we are going to be ready for desert till 10:30, which is late and the place will be empty. Already we are feeling a little "rushed" simply because we are VERY hungry. Offering us desert is a back handed gesture, one in which we probably aren't even going to take them up on by the time we are finished. If Drew, or his manager were sincere about the mistake, there would have been an appetizer served to us while we were waiting, or as soon as we were seated some kind of app's, platter, something to help take the "edge" off our hunger or at least give us a choice. The offer of "free desert" didn't seem sincere or sit well with me.

                                                                            *Escargot for me, Voodoo Shrimp, Duck Mac n Cheese, Clams and Andouillie, all excellent.
                                                                            (*my previous review said this had spinach which it does not, this is still an EXCELLENT dish)

                                                                            Braised Short Rib for me, 1 Shrimp Grits, 1 Crawfish Etouffee, 1 Hanger Steak. Everything was excellent, my only critique of my dish is they were served off the bone. Personally I like the bone served with the short rib, no big deal the dish was delicious. I had a piece of the Hanger Steak, delicious as well, and same with the Etouffee. I've never been to New Orleans, but I have a hard time believing you can find a better Crawfish to compare with this one, it's very very good.

                                                                            As expected by the time we were done eating it was close to 11pm, we accepted the "free desert" just out of "spite". I got a sweet potato pie, with pumpkin ice cream, there was one of the salty pretzel deserts and two others. To be perfectly honest nobody was in the mood, we took a few bites of each and left the rest.

                                                                            For those of you who haven't been here, it's not a real big place, maybe 20 tables there is a small waiting area which is open to the kitchen when you walk in. When the kitchen closes at 10pm they clean up and are "done" by 10:30/10:45 the entire kitchen and service staff then hang out in the entrance waiting area of the restaurant. Drew included just sit's there as members of the wait staff stare into the dining room to see if you are ready to leave. It's a very poor environment to try and enjoy a coffee or desert, if you are even so inclined.

                                                                            As we left through the employees, we had parked a little distance off and were discussing if we would all walk or if we would bring the car up etc. We had just walked out, standing on the steps and they locked the door directly behind us. Like thank you very much, get the F' out we want to leave.

                                                                            Drew is talented there is no questioning that. But there are two sides to running a successful restaurant, or bringing your brand from Keyport NJ, to the a national level like some of the Celebrity Chef's Drew has proven himself against. (Hahahaha yeah I don't like Flay anyway) Ask any Chef/Owner and the front of the house is just as important as the back of the house. Drew needs help with the front of the house.

                                                                            The woman we dealt with was inept, to be polite, or just down right didn't want to be there or deal with the public at all. It was a shame and a very poor representation of a very talented Chef/Owner.

                                                                            I'll be back for the food, but more experiences like this and it would frustrate me enough to turn me off all together.

                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                              JR, I have run into the same issues with the seating there. In fact, I made a comment one time which you may have read. I don't feel like rehashing it out.

                                                                              They really need to get that issue taken care of but the food is definitely top notch.

                                                                              Speaking of short ribs, the CC now has a short rib special. I went Sat night. The piece of meat is giant! It is like one of those quick start fire logs....seriously. LOL (boneless)

                                                                              The sad part was the flavor profile just didn't do it for me. This is surprising since I love almost everything there. It was just too bland for me. However, it was incredibly impressive looking. It also had good texture/tenderness but failed in the flavor department. I know fatty short ribs don't need much spice/sauce, but after tearing into it I was kind of disappointed. It was not bad by any means...I just didn't connect with ti. Maybe it was me but if you want a BIG piece of meat then head over. For 28 bucks you may like it.

                                                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                It's funny but I've kind of slacked on going to CC simply because if I'm driving over there now it's to go to Christines. But as always I'll keep it in mind if I'm in the mood again.

                                                                                First I need to get to Cipolina's for the Rib Eye!! lol

                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici


                                                                                  How do you like Christines in Atlantic Highlands ? I used to go there when it was Ama and liked it. Went to the new Ama in Sea Bright and was meh.

                                                                                  As far as Drews my wife and I love the place. But we only go early on the weekends so don't have to deal with the logistics you described. Besides its unhealthy to eat a large meal so late at night.

                                                                                  1. re: scrappyone

                                                                                    Here is everything you want to know and more about Christine's. In short, it's a very solid place experiencing some potential growth pains with service, but overall good food. Similar to Drews! (not as exceptional food wise) I would strongly suggest you give them a try.

                                                                                    I have heard some similar experiences to Ama since the move. More meh, than great, which it was prior to it's moving.

                                                                                    I love Drew's food I honestly do, but after just two experiences I'm starting to get turned off by the "service". I'm not ready to throw in the towel, nor am I discouraging people to go, but I am sharing my feelings and experiences.

                                                                                    I won't argue the health concerns. :-)

                                                                                    1. re: scrappyone

                                                                                      Scappy, definitely get reservations if you try christines. And yes, I like that place a lot like JR. It is very loud in there though (at least when I am there it is.)

                                                                                      JR, I'd be interested to see your review on the ribeye. Lets get moving ; ) I still need to hit up Char. That is on my list.

                                                                                      Any word on when Drew is getting that smoker? I heard a rumor he was getting one a while back.

                                                                                      1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                        Based on the MANY responses I have had to my inquires regarding Char, I would caution you not to waste your money. I have been a HUGE Char guy over the years, at their Raritan location, but I have yet to hear one actual rave over Red Bank. I'm seriously talking about after speaking with dozens of people.

                                                                                        If you decide to take one for the team, I would love to hear about it, but don't do it based on anything favorable I have said about them in the past.

                                                                                2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                  We never ask for a late dinner reservation, because its very likely that you'll be delayed as other diners before you are late or spend more time than planned over their dinners. You also run the possibility that the restaurants runs out of specials and certain menu items.

                                                                                  So to complain that you're starved when you sat down may have something to do with the late reservation time and the inevitable delays involved. Maybe you could have gotten an appy at Piero's or eaten a late lunch ?

                                                                                  My wife and I always get the first reservation at Drew's, like 5:30PM. Plentiful parking, choose any table in the house, impeccable service, everything on the menu is available and the food orders come out quickly.

                                                                                  Granted, eating early is not for everyone, but when you plan to eat late you open up the possibility of just what happened to your party. It happens everywhere, not just at Drews.

                                                                                  1. re: scrappyone

                                                                                    Scrappy, I assure you I am very well aware of how the restaurant business works, that was the purpose of my phone call ahead of time. If I as the customer know enough to double check, and after doing so I rely on the "updated" information the house informs me via phone, they have accepted the burden of my disappointment.

                                                                                    If when we called had they said, come at 9:15 instead of 8:45 would I have considered an appetizer at Piero's, certainly, hell I might have entertained just staying there. That makes NO EXCUSE for telling me to come at 8:45 then making me wait an additional half hour.

                                                                                    And I won't say "it happens everywhere", not when I called to double check. I won't say it happens everywhere that they have a person working the front who obviously could care less of their mistake, and just wanted to ignore it. Sorry, but I agree to disagree "it happens everywhere" and is handled as poorly as it was here.

                                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                      I had never before watched an episode of the Sopranos. But I picked up season one on Blu Ray for $20 and watched episode 1 tonight. There's a scene with a guy arguing with a waitress about having a reservation and his table not being ready. She unapologetically tells him there were 5 parties before him and she can't control when people leave (or something like that.) It made me think of this thread.

                                                                                      I imagine that even if a customer checks in about the status of his reservation, it can be hard to always be accurate. I can understand not being pleased to have to wait an additional 30, but I don't think it was ridiculously bad for a weekend.

                                                                                    2. re: scrappyone

                                                                                      The issue I have is that the hostess/manager needs to be more in tune with what is going on. When my wife and I walk in on a monday or tuesday night at 8:30 and see 5-6 open tables (maybe 7 as a couple was leaving) it is frustrating when you get "let me see if we have a table" as she walks away to check with someone. We both know you have tables.

                                                                                      It has good food but come on, this isn't like a nightclub in miami where they need to artificially make a long line at the door. LOL

                                                                                      I am sure they are trying to condition their patrons to make reservations, and I respect that, but if I walk into a place half empty I should be welcomed immediately. They need to convey this to the hostess. Anyway, don't let this deter anyone from trying Drews. It has very tasty food. I just personally wouldn't touch this place on a fri/sat night. (never have and prob never will.)

                                                                                      1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                        Thanks CJ this is exactly what I'm talking about.

                                                                                        Plus, this time the fact Drew was standing there in the kitchen staring out, with a half smile on his face, kind of added insult to injury. NOT saying he knew anything about it, but it strikes a customer as arrogant when you're pissed off, and the owner "seems to be" smirking at you. ("seems to be" because I doubt anyone ran to Drew to tell them they f'd up)

                                                                                    3. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                      I will overlook service/seating issues if the food is outstanding, which is how I feel about Drew's food. That said we rarely experience problems such as yours because we prefer to eat earlier than you. I like to be on my couch by 9pm.

                                                                                      "As expected by the time we were done eating it was close to 11pm, we accepted the "free desert" just out of "spite". "
                                                                                      Really? (Makes face) They recognized that you were inconvienced and offered you complimentary items. Sad that you felt their recompense was lacking. You could have asked to have them wrapped up and taken home. Did speak with the hostess or Drew about your issue or just fume silently?

                                                                                      That said, I never felt Drew's was a very formal restaurant. It seems very casual, and laidback. The front house staffing was full of young people and appears to fly by the seat of their pants rather than extreme, upright structured, professional. I am not explaining my point very well. Sorry.

                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                        Well as I explained I felt the desert offer was more an attempt to placate us, than a sincere effort at good PR, or true apology for their mistake. Most deserts involve ice cream of some sort, so we didn't ask to have them wrapped.

                                                                                        Once we announced our arrival at 8:45 we were told it would be just a few minutes. Fine, no problem I thought they were probably setting the table as we stood there (there was also two tables ahead of us waiting, no idea what their reservation times were, but it's a clear indication they knew they were running way behind). After the other two tables were seated a head of us, and it could be rightly so, and it was 9:00pm I asked the hostess, what happened to our table? She said we were next and I asked her, "What was the point of our calling at 8:15 to check on our 8:30 reservation" her smug response was something along that line of " I don't control when people get up from their tables".

                                                                                        Honestly the conversation was so void of restaurant "logic" I was quickly becoming fed up with her ridiculous response(s), tone and over all uninterested appearance. As I said, Drew was staring out into the lobby frequently but never made an attempt to come out, and I wasn't going to waive him out just to "bitch" to the owner. After all isn't that what Chow is all about? lol

                                                                                        Drew's is not a formal restaurant, not by any stretch of the imagination, but that is still no excuse for complete lack of regard for your customers and what you tell them.

                                                                                        I think you explained your point very well Jerseygirl, and I hope I explained my answers to your questions.

                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                          The free desert would have tasted like sand anyway, Jr. Good thing you passed.

                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                            They didn't pass. They accepted dessert, even though they didn't want it or eat it because they were angry.

                                                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                              Oh, I know. I was just teasing Jr over the spelling.

                                                                                            2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                              "Well as I explained I felt the desert offer was more an attempt to placate us, than a sincere effort at good PR, or true apology for their mistake."
                                                                                              Isn't it the same thing really? The only difference is the attitude with which it's delivered to you. Yes, that does make a difference. You're right, a simple sincere apology does help matters. Cost to the restaurant? Zip.

                                                                                          2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                            Hey Jr, I was back in NJ and was also at Drew's on Saturday. I had read you would be there, looked around for a self described "big dude" and saw several candidates so Wound up not approaching anybody :). Would have liked to say hi and chat a bit.

                                                                                            Anyway, my daughter SIL and I had 7:30 reservations which were perfect and no problem. Food was fabulous as usual.
                                                                                            Voodoo shrimp, assorted mushrooms over biscuits was new for me a real treat. Drew had a fois gras app that was killer. Mac and cheese along with those fabulous rice balls rounded out the apps.

                                                                                            The previous week DD had the short ribs and said they were the ultimate comfort food. Saturday she had the jambalaya, SIL had the duck which he loved and I had a HUGE pork shank that was heaven.

                                                                                            A couple of desserts, salty caramel pretzel and sweet potato ice cream finished off an evening of gluttony :).

                                                                                            Sorry to hear about your late dining experience but have some patience as Drew's has been really getting slammed with customers.
                                                                                            We live out in the SF Bay Area, have access to some wonderful restaurants, Mexican food you can only dream about in NJ but having said that there in nothing out there even remotely as good as Drew's Nawlins style cuisine.

                                                                                            Hope to meet you next time we are in NJ. Maybe hook up with a night at Drew's.

                                                                                            1. re: tom246

                                                                                              Too funny I wish you had identified me and said hello. To be perfectly honest we were the last table to be seated that night. We sat in the far left corner of the dining room as you look into it with your back to the waiting area. I sat in the back corner seat looking out into the dining room and I was wearing a black suit jacket, between us and the screen for the bathroom was a larger party of 6-8 people.

                                                                                              It would be funny if you were the table directly to our left, are you a Steve Job's looking guy, but with a full head of hair? The guy at the table next to us seemed to keep "checking me out" to the point I made a comment to my wife, to see if it was someone we knew but I didn't recognize. Steve Job's was the second to last table to leave prior to us.

                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                Now that is funny, Steve Jobs and full head of hair do not describe me :).

                                                                                                I honestly do remember seeing a person walk past us with a black suit jacket and thought it might be you but I was chicken to ask. Next time we wear something to identify us :).
                                                                                                We were sitting at the table in the center of the room, I would have had my back to you. We finished a few minutes before 10.

                                                                                                I enjoy your posts and one day we will get together and have some laughs.

                                                                                          3. I love Drew's - we've been going there since 2007 and have always been very happy with our meals. That said, sometimes things don't always work out the way you'd like.

                                                                                            On our last visit in early November I tried a new dish for me - the braised short ribs. I was expecting something rich and unctuous, meltingly tender. What I got was a dish that tasted for all the world like pot roast. A dryish pot roast that was underseasoned. I ate about a quarter of the dish and took the rest home. Three days later it went into the trash - I just couldn't bring myself to eat it.

                                                                                            Our other dishes that night were all good - I especially enjoyed the 16 hour pork belly app. That's the type of terrific dish I've come to expect here.

                                                                                            One other thing that heightened my unhappiness with the short ribs. Since our previous visit last May the prices have jumped up by 25%. Nobody here said a word about that.

                                                                                            Given that their prices have been very stable over the years I'm 100% sure that the increase is due to increased insurance and relocation costs due to hurricane Sandy. I don't blame them at all. OTOH if I was buying dinner at Drew's for a group of 6 or 8 people I would prefer not to be surprised by a price increase of that size.

                                                                                            The higher prices won't keep me away - I still like the restaurant but I won't be ordering those short ribs again.

                                                                                            1. Drew's is SINKING!

                                                                                              First I will start with I've been back a few times since my last post and things are improved with their seating issues. Don't know if it's slightly less business or slightly better front house management but I'm happy to report no more extensive waiting with reservations.

                                                                                              The food remains bold and excellent!

                                                                                              We were seated at the 2nd table from the corner of the dining room where the windows meet. It was an exceptionally cold night, so it was chilly sitting by the windows. While sitting I noticed the floor along the front wall had a noticeable gap between the tile floor and the base molding on the wall. By gap I'm going to say 2-3 inches, I pointed it out to my buddy and we couldn't come up with an explanation. Then they seated the round table in the middle front row of tables and they made it aware their table was on a sinking angle towards the front wall. The floor is considerably sinking/slopping towards the front wall facing the parking lot. On of the women put a lip stick case on the table and it rapidly rolled down the table, even their beverages showed the angle at which the table was pitching!

                                                                                              Upon closer inspection they have a rolled up tablecloth(s) in the gap to insulate the cold air, so they are aware of it.

                                                                                              Don't sink on us Drew!!!!

                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                Probably a sign of more significant structural/foundation issues no?

                                                                                                1. re: ebchower

                                                                                                  I would think so, which is a shame since this is his new post Sandy location.

                                                                                                2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                  When I saw your first line, I thought, "Oh no! Jr had another bad experience there." Lol

                                                                                                  Glad to hear the food still holds up.

                                                                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                    I've always enjoyed the food and I truly hope this isn't going to derail him at his new location. Next time anyone goes there check out the front wall you will clearly see what I'm talking about.

                                                                                                3. Just went there for the first time. The food was fabulous. The parking - a little troublesome and sparse. The service - a bit grumpy and snobby - took our waitress a few trips to begin smiling. Actually, the servers who delivered the food were a gem - it's just the person who took our order didn't give off a very welcoming vibe.

                                                                                                  Food highlights - the pork meatballs with grits and shrimp and grits entrees were incredible and the Salted Caramel Tart was the best dessert we've had in a long, long time. Voodoo shrimp appetizer was good, but I'd say a bit overrated.

                                                                                                  Heavy hand on the spices so people not wanting N'awlins-lite will be overwhelmed. It was great for me though since virtually no place offers authentic flavors that aren't mostly salt - I appreciated that Drew got the spices balanced with the salt.

                                                                                                  Our table wasn't near the window so I can't comment on structure. I wouldn't want a window seat on a cold, windy night any way.