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Jul 27, 2012 07:11 AM

The River House in Brielle brief review and rant about the Jesey Shore dining scene.

Yesterday was Mom’s birthday as such it was here choice where to go to diner and her choice was The River House in Brielle. I have only been to the River House one other time and you guessed it that was last year for Mom’s birthday.

The place is beautiful on the water near the inlet. The menu is a true mix of things from Pizza to wraps and burgers to Steaks and Seafood entrée’s. I had a chicken sandwich…. I remember being disappointed in my steak last year so I just went basic and I received just that….a basic chicken sandwich. Around the table there were a few Salmon Entrée’s which were overcooked served with “risotto” which was horrible….there was an order of crab cakes (which mom said she enjoyed….but mom picked the place so she’s a lil bias) a burger with no complaints and a stuffed flounder which received the highest marks at the table however came with the same horrible risotto. Sushi earned praises and there was a turkey wrap….well you can’t really go wrong with a turkey wrap.

The place like many I sadly find on the water in NJ is truly geared towards their banquet/wedding facility upstairs the restaurant just seems like something they do with the downstairs room while people hang at the outside tiki bars etc. Their only interest seems to be in the 50k wedding packages and keeping the lights on the rest of the week so people know they are opened.

This really started me thinking what happened to true dining at the Jersey Shore. Even when people ask for advice on here for nice waterfront dining it’s always hard to come up with a place to fully endorse. My suggestions are always half hearted like “Go to The River House for the colossal shrimp cocktail, sushi or sandwiches stay away from everything else”. I can’t think of one waterfront restaurant from Monmouth or Ocean County I can give a full true endorsement to. (fine dining)

What happened to The Bluff’s of the world? (remember them in Bay Head?) How about the original Waters Edge in Bayville? I might be old fashion but boy what I would give to be able to have a go to water front restaurant that truly cared about dining first and left the Tiki Bars and Beer Buckets to Martel’s and Jenks.

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  1. jrvedivici - I share your disappointment with the state of waterfront dining on the Jersey shore. The problem however is that there is no incentive for these restaurants to "up" the food quotient. They are doing an excellent business irrespective of the food due solely to their location. I would assume if people failed to patronize these restaurants, they would have no choice but to make the food the equal of the view/location.

    1. Just an extension of the Monmouth County Inverse Seafood Corollary:

      The quality of seafood in Monmouth County is inversely proportional to it's proximity to water.

      This was further reinforced with the recent closure of Doris & Eds. :-(

      4 Replies
      1. re: equal_Mark

        Geeze! This is so scary to read. We moved here a little more than a year ago. The shore was a big motivation. I keep trying restaurants and keep feeling maybe it's me... So far my two favorite seafood restaurants are Shoals and Pt. Lobster!.

        As my father used to say about Burger King that's a real classy joint! He LOVED it!
        I think he was probably their first customer back in the good old days when going out was a rare treat!

        I keep thinking maybe I need to get back into cooking more...

        1. re: EL7

          The Monmouth / Ocean County area's are among the best to live in the state. (In my opinion). There are plenty of water front dining options and if you what your doing at each place you can have a very nice meal and enjoy the location.

          The problem I'm speaking of is just a nice restaurant with table clothes and good service and all around good food. You look at places like the Lobster Shanty / Warfside...those places have been serving crap for generations. Fine/decent dining has truly become a lost art at the Jersey Shore.

          1. re: jrvedivici

            I totally agree this is a wonderful place to live, and I only wish we had moved here years ago! However, I thought I would find wonderful seafood here, and would sit happily by the shore enjoying both. That has yet to happen.

            I would love to hear what you have enjoyed.

            1. re: EL7

              Not Fine dining but really good seafood in Monmouth Co...

              Navesink Fishery, Navesink - Hidden gem disguised as a strip mall seafood store.


              Rays Seafood, Little Silver - Another unassuming storefront that has been serving great seafood for over 20 years.


              Mr Shrimp, Belmar - Solid basic seafood, fresh and well prepared.


              All three of these places are connected with seafood markets and are all BYOB.

              There are also quite a few great restaurants that are not seafood joints per se but do serve great seafood... Drews Bayshore, Belford Bistro, nemo, Moonstruck, Nicholas, Nikos Taverna, Oyster Point and Shipwreck Grill.

      2. A. I'm multi-generational local. No offense, but I wish no one was allowed to move to Southern Monmouth's Shore for the last 30 years. Our infrastructure is bursting.

        B. I totally remember The Bluffs. First time I ever drove a car was when I was 15 and my friend's dad got drunk there and called for a ride.

        C. The River House literally made a decision a couple years ago to no longer keep a chef on salary and move their food to be just something to keep people there and drinking. Works at Leggets . . . .

        3 Replies
        1. re: MGZ

          The Bluff's was the eptiome of fine waterfront dining if you ask me. There is such a lack of that anywhere in NJ anymore...such a shame. I guess I'm just a throw back to a time when dining was an it seems people just want quantity of tasteless food thrown at them for the cheapest price as possible.

          The River House is a beautiful establishment that is so underserviced by it's kitchen it is a shame.

          1. re: jrvedivici

            "The River House is a beautiful establishment that is so underserviced by it's kitchen it is a shame."

            Yep. Nice stop for a cocktail though. Last time they even let me use a real glass. We actually have joked about ordering food delivered when sitting on their patio.

            1. re: MGZ

              Yes the outdoor bar(s) and decks are a very nice place to have a cocktail.....but I was there Thurs. night the night of the brutal storm that rolled in right around 7pm as we were having dinner. I couldn't believe fools actually stayed out at the outside bar sitting in/out in the storm as it was lightening over their head. The only thing in my opinion worth ordering off the menu is the genuine JUMBO shrimp cocktail. Although I believe they are charging $15. for 4 shrimp. lol