wedding reception at the Grenville in Bay Head
I was at a wedding reception last night at The Grenville. It was wonderful because we loved the people getting married and the group of friends around us.
It was a cocktail/station reception. The first hour was passed appetizers and then there were stations: carving station with roast beef (not tenderloin) and pork loin, prepared eggplant rollatini, sausage and peppers, mashed potato bar (with steamed broccoli florets, shredded cheddar, and bacon pieces as toppers), and a pasta station that included penne ala vodka, fettucini alfredo, and something else I don't remember but looked like rotatini with plain tomato sauce. There also was a huge spread of shrimp cocktail/cocktail sauce, tomato/fresh mozzarella, and grilled vegetables put out during the passed appetizer hour but I didn't have a chance to taste that.
I didn't eat much of the food, but what I had was very good. I had a "crabcake" appetizer which was a very round and deep fried bit of crab and bread crumbs. I loved it. Also their spanakopita which the waitress said was a "spinach pie" was also delicious. The roast beef was moist and tender, but unfortunately there was only a scraping of gravy left when I got there (after the big rush) and it was never replenished. The fettucini alfredo was great and that is coming from someone who usually avoids it. The mashed potato bar wasn't so great, in my opinion, because the mashed potatoes were barely warm and certainly not hot enough to melt the cheddar shreds. I'm a huge mashed potato fan but they should have been hotter, and there should have been a broccoli-cheese sauce rather than giant florets of broccoli. I also would have liked to have seen some scallions and sour cream available as options.
Other guests raved about the pasta bar and the roast beef, roast pork, eggplant, and sausage/peppers. No one even mentioned the potatoes except to say "oh I didn't even know they had that!" I didn't hear any complaints about the food (so maybe I am exceptionally picky) from anyone.
The bar was in the lobby which was a bit of a disaster. You had dozens of people trying to get a drink at a bar staffed by 2 people in a very small area in the front. Guests had a difficult time getting in and out of the place (this is also a bed and breakfast) because wedding guests were in the lobby and also outside on the sidewalk, on the steps, and on the porch. There was no separation between wedding reception and hotel guests. Some of the wedding guests started to offer drinks to the non-wedding guests just because they were so pissed off.
Speaking of the bar, they were out of beer by 8pm (for a 5-10pm reception). They had to go out to a local liquor store and bought 3 18-packs of beer for the last 2 hours. Needless to say, they again ran out of beer and other things like specially-requested vodka, Jack Daniels, pineapple juice, etc. By 9pm the only options were vodka and club or red wine.Most people were okay with what they didn't have, but at one point the bartenders started serving grapefruit juice sweetened with lots of sugar instead of pineapple juice (we watched them do this) and that really angered people as they were specifically told that "it must be pineapple juice because grapefruit juice is pink". Not cool because guests aren't stupid, some people can't have grapefruit juice if they are on certain medications, and the worst thing to give someone with an already upset stomach is grapefruit juice!
The space that The Grenville has available for a function isn't all that big. The dance floor is smaller than the floor in the front room of my small ranch and has a huge pillar in the center which kind of ruins first dance pictures. The guest list was 130 people for this reception but there were several tables on the outside porch. My guess is that they had probably 80 inside... and that was too many. The temperature outside was 84 and it was extra humid. There were no ceiling fans and the doors to the outside were open. Unfortunately, it was very warm inside the main reception room and dance floor.. uncomfortably warm. And then it just got hotter and hotter and worse and worse. People who weren't very mobile were stuck in a room without even ceiling fans (really? at the beach?) and were stuck just very uncomfortable and pouring sweat.
My overall opinion is that The Grenville would probably be a great venue for a wedding reception or venue for 40-50 people. The food that I had was very good and they specially-ordered liquor and beer for the occasion. The whole place just seemed to be overwhelmed by 130 people at the reception, especially in the summer when the air conditioning simply couldn't keep up with the heat and humidity.
My final thoughts are that I really enjoyed the event that I attended at The Grenville. Most of the "really enjoyed" was just due to the actual event, but the food was good and the servers and bartenders were pleasant and accomodating. It wasn't their fault that it was uncomfortably warm in the main room throughout the night.
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Wow. We had our reception there in Sept 2006. We had 90 and were told that they coukd squeeze 105 if they had to. I can't imagine 130 in there.
We had a sit down dinner and found the food to be very good. We loved our wedding because we made it what we wanted it to be but I don't know if I could recommend it. We had some issues and overall they need better management.
Funny, on Sept 30th we were also very hot in there when the party was fully cranked up.