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The Chowda House ~ Red Bank

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  1. Online menu has no prices. Why bother posting one?

    2 Replies
      1. re: sockster

        OK, I see the link down at the bottom of the page. May have to check out the Fish & Chips...

    1. Stopped by last night and was impressed. A clean, bright space with both a takeout counter and a nice dining area. Preparations are being made for an alfresco dining area out back which will be open by the official grand opening on June 8th. Not sure if it is a temporary situation, but for those with kids they currently have booster seats but no high chairs.

      Started out with a cup of Manhattan clam chowder, which was nicely seasoned and featured lots of clams as well as veggies that were still firm. Portion was large and only $2.95.

      Then I opted for the Fish & Chips. 3 decent sized battered and fried pieces (cod I believe) served in a basket on home sliced fries with a small container of nicely dressed cole slaw. Some tartar sauce and malt vinegar are provided as accompaniments. I generally like my tartar sauce with a little more zing. The fries were quite good and I hope they are able to maintain the quality as fries made from fresh sliced potatoes are notoriously difficult to produce consistently given the variability of moisture and starch.

      I would have enjoyed some more slaw, but honestly this meal is offered for a mere $9.99. This is $5 to $9 less than similar dishes offered in the area! Other menu prices here are equally reasonable. Service was prompt and friendly.

      All in all a nice addition to the shore seafood scene, which has long been dominated with impressive views coupled with overpriced mediocre seafood. Hopefully Chowda House will be able to maintain the focus on the food even when the inevitable crowds start swarming in...

      2 Replies
      1. re: equal_Mark

        Nice review, Mark! Funny, we were going to try it last night, but instead we headed to Mossutto's in Wall for some amazing pizza!!! (as always)

        Thanks for taking one for the team! This is definitely on our "go to" list. Is it located in the Galleria? Do they have specials as well as what is on the menu?

        Thanks again!!

        1. re: Angelina

          It is actually south of the Galleria. It is on the other end of the block where Senor Peppers is located, directly across from the train station. Yes, they do offer some off menu specials. I'd liken them to a mini version of Mr. Shrimp in Belmar.

      2. Sounds promising! Plan to give them a try very soon. I was excited to hear about the malt vinegar, brings me back to the excellent Fanwood Chippery days!

        After many delays, a new Fanwood Chippery is said to open soon.

        1. Wow! Stuffies! That's REAL Rhode Island! Too bad it isn't closer to Bergen...(:

          1. So I had to post about this place! We went this past Sunday (Mother's Day) and I am so glad we did!!

            First off, the place is super clean and cozy. They have a huge outdoor backyard that will open soon with picnic tables. The waitress was very friendly, and the owners were very kind as well! A delight to speak with!

            Now, the food. The NE clam chowder was very tasty. Had a lot of clams, not loaded with potatoes like most places. My mother and I were very pleased with the soup. My husband had an appetizer of the fried clams and they were excellent! Huge clams..the belly of the clam, not those rinky-dink ones most places serve.

            We also had delish fresh oysters, and I have to tell you..we have not had oysters like this in quite some time. I never like to order them because they aren't usually fresh. Last time we were at Avenue in Long Branch we were so disappointed in the freshness of the oysters. Chowda House gets and A+ from us on these oysters!!!

            For dinner, both my husband and I had the seared scallops. They were so good! Reminded me of this off-the beatn path place in Cape May. They were delish! My mother had scrimp scampi over linguine...again..FRESH! I know I sound so repetitive, but usually seafood is not always the freshest in some restaurants, but this gem of a restaurant was! Her sauce was nice and garlicky, too!!

            My daughter had the kids fish & chips..I should say I had the kids fish and chips!! She ate the fries, and we all shared her fish bites! so good!!

            No room for dessert, but we will definitely be back ASAP!! We even overheard the table next to us complementing the owner on the quality and the taste of all their dishes! Overall, we were all very pleased!! Well worth a trip. It is a BYOB, located across from the train station in Red Bank. I am very happy we had our Mother's Day meals here. Worth the trip for us and you should all check out the place!

            The owners were very gracious, and the waitress was great, too!!

            Next time in Red Bank, check out the place!!

            6 Replies
            1. re: Angelina

              Thanks, Angelina. Those fried belly clams have made me decide where I'm goin' the next time I head to Red Bank.

              1. re: MGZ

                Not being a big "seafood" guy, I think I've established that on these boards, there are a few seafood items that I do truly enjoy.

                One are fresh clams roasted on a grill with drawn butter on the side. Another are those frozen and processes fried clam strips, but fried belly clams? That's a new one too me, my first impression is they must be chewy, no?

                I also really enjoy Ne clam chowder as well as GOOD fish n chips, so I do have every intention of checking this place out.

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  First off, fresh clams on the grill are a thing of beauty. Even if they're cooked over gas flames and paired with cheap canned beer.

                  Second, fried whole clams are not chewy. The "belly" of the soft shell clam (Ipswich, usually) is actually less chewy than the muscle normally used for the strips. My own personal favorite fried clam would be makin' cherrystones at home, but I still haven't figured out how to make 'em like my Grandmother did. I'm gettin' close, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that we dug 'em ourselves and that vegetable oil was different in the 70s-80s.

                  I'm unlikely to get to RB 'til late June. Do me a favor and go try 'em?

                  1. re: MGZ

                    I think there is something about a woman when she becomes a grandmother, she sprinkles everything with a little love that we cannot replicate. From your fried clams, to my meatballs, so very close but just a little off. (Could of course be the oil, but my story is more for the readers)

                    Anywho, if you ask me to bring some BYOB with me to the Chowda house, then I'm pretty sure I can do ya the favor.

                  2. re: jrvedivici

                    I love grilled clams also! I plop down a half drunk beer right on the grill and jam a stick of butter in it and pour it all over the clams when they open. Heaven!

                2. re: Angelina

                  I thought oysters were either fresh or not fresh - not fresh entailing sweating and wriggling in bed in pain and fear if not the hospital

                3. Stopped by again tonight; again, no downsides. Started with the NE Chowder. As mentioned earlier, good clam to potato ratio. Also the clams were tender but firm, not rubbery or mushy.

                  Followed up with the Raw Bar special which is 3 oysters and clams on the half shell for $7.95. Come On! Anywhere else and just the 3 oysters presented here would have easily been $10. One note: it would be nice if more than a couple wedges of lemon were offered as an accompaniment. Mignonette or wasabi aoli perhaps? Luckily a few drops of my emergency bottle of chipotle sauce was there for me.

                  Finally I had a plate of the Skipjack Sliders which were nice little bites of fried flounder served on small buns accompanied with tartar sauce (duly enhanced with some lemon juice and more of my chipotle sauce).

                  For what it's worth I got takeout here several nights ago, which included their Shrimp Scampi, which did not miss a beat!

                  Now if only this place could snatch up the lease at Irwins Marina down in Marine Park where Boondocks is now, we would be talking a serious combo of excellent seafood AND an a heavenly view!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    =Mark - the wasabi aioli or mignonette will cost you the extra 2 bucks!

                    1. re: Herm

                      To be honest, the shellfish were so fresh that additions were not really needed. I added stuff to maybe half of them. If it keeps the price down, bring it on!

                      1. re: equal_Mark

                        Place sound great, I'm looking forward to giving it a go.

                    2. re: equal_Mark

                      mark, or they can take over bahrs LOL

                      I definitely want to check this place out soon.

                    3. I'm surprised no one fairly mentioned that The Chowda House hasn't even had their grand opening yet! They are still working the bugs out. Grand opening is this weekend, I believe - live music, etc.

                      We had lunch al fresco - the outdoors seating has a delightfully beachy atmosphere - a nice taste of the shore away from the shore traffic!

                      The wedge salad with blue cheese and bacon was perfect - the tabasco lemon aioli for dipping the fried clams or fish is not to be missed. Best fresh-squeezed lemonade ever.

                      The bugs we encountered can all be fixed: they were short-staffed, the FRESH fries were cooked soft, the fried clams had a nice light coating but were not not juicy at all (8 clams per order), the mussels in garlic and white wine lacked mussel juice, white wine, and were too heavy on the butter. I like a salty broth for dipping, not so much butter that I start feeling guilty! They were slightly overcooked TO MY TASTE...

                      I was happy to give this feedback to the owners and NOT just post online. Only posting online helps no one, and the owners were so grateful for the feedback. I will be keeping an eye on this place - it could be quite a gem, especially if the offer more grilled options than fried.

                      1. There are coupons for 15% off for take out and 1/2 off second entrée on Sundays in the Monmouth Clipper.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SusieQQ

                          Thanks for the heads up, SusieQQ. I grabbed a cover page coupon this evening.

                        2. I went here last weekend. Nothing terrible but nothing outstanding either

                          1 Reply
                          1. Ok the time has arrived that I gave this place a try. The wife has heard me mention it, thanks to this very thread, so tonight she established this as our destination!

                            ***Disclosure*** This hound is not a big seafood guy.

                            One of the biggest reasons I wanted to try this is because I love NE clam Chowda. However on a humid 80+ degree night, in a suit and tie, chowder is the last thing I want. So we started with the whole fried clams and shrimp cocktail. The whole fried clams (vs. clam strips) was a first for me. Apprehensive to say the least, I really liked them. I anticipated them to be tough and chewy, but they weren't at all, very nice. The shrimp cocktail was good too, but not jumbo as I had hoped. 16/20's are a decent sized shrimp but I always hope for u-10.

                            Entree's wife; fish and chips myself; fried seafood platter. Fish and chips were good, nice size filets (cod?) prepared in a light and flakey beer batter. Served with homemade slaw and fries both of which were good.

                            Mine consisted of a fried filet (flounder?), shrimp and scallops. Everything again was very good, mine served with the same fries and slaw.

                            Both had their home made ice tea which was very refreshing.

                            All and all a cute lil seafood place. Not a very elaborate menu but they seem to know what they are doing.

                            They had the lobster roll for special and I probably should have ordered that. In my opinion this place should be doing some lobster bake, or clam bake buckets. 2 whole lobsters a few clams, mussels a corn cob $29.95 and you should have a line out the door. The place screams a bucket of coronas and finger seafood to me.

                            It was too hot for me to check out the outdoor dining, but I stand by my assessment above.

                            I wouldn't discourage anyone from checking it out, I'll go back but as my disclosure said I'm not a seafood guy, so my next visit will wait till mid winter, prime Chowda time.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              Good review. I hope to check this out sometime this summer. Is there parking? I usually avoid RB because parking can be a bear.

                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                Chowda House is on the west side of RB so parking is not really an issue...

                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                    Jerseygirl, the place is right by the train station. Grab some beers and just take NJT there. Otherwise, you can park at the station. My first visit, however, is gonna involve the rails and a taco at North of the Border After.

                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      No train from Toms River :-( Will possibly be able to drag hubs there next weekend. I will report back.

                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                        Just promise to save room for a taco for desert?

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          Didn't get to visit yet, now suffering from a summer cold. Will update.

                                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                  There is a parking lot next to it however I'm not sure if its for the restaurant. I parked on the street directly across from the restaurant, as previously noted there is ample on street parking.

                                  On a side note; when leaving I noticed significant progress has been made to the old Little Kraut location, including the name San Remo now adorning the facade. I guess whatever the hold up was has been resolved.

                              2. View of the dining area out back. Perfectly shaded for dining alfresco now that the heat & humidity have abated somewhat. The little raw bar is open on weekends.

                                The plastic container on the plate with the Raw Bar appetizer ($7.95) is the chef's private habanero salsa. Pretty darn fiery!

                                1. Am noticing shell pieces in the half shell clams and oysters. Not sure if this was because of a B-team kitchen crew on a Tuesday night, but it was not happiness...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: equal_Mark

                                    large pieces of shell or sand?

                                    It is funny. I haven't been there recently but this place must be doing ok. I was in brothers the other night and sitting at the bar having a pie. Half the bar was talking about the chowdah house and how they like it. (the local drinkers there.) I am now in the mood for a lobster roll : )

                                    1. re: corvette johnny

                                      C'mon CJ do you think =Mark wouldn't know the difference between a pieces of shell or sand? Shame on you! lol

                                      My money is on a novice shucker in the kitchen. Both clam and oyster shells will splinter a bit if you don't know the right spot to start opening the shell. God knows about 25 years ago there were many people with shell bits in their clams and oysters when I was learning how to shuck. All these years later it will still take me a few try's to find the sweet spot for opening those lil suckers.

                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                        yeah now that I think of it, you are right. I have had some awful sandy ones with big grains of sand that made you feel like you bit into a piece of shell though. (not at chowdah house...other spots)

                                  2. As our first choice was overbooked last night the wife and I gave Chowda House a try.

                                    We were there at about 6 pm on a Friday night and the place was empty.

                                    Interior is kind of noisy, I would not describe it as cozy unless old dive tanks qualify as cozy. It being November, outside dining was closed. There was a rope running across the front of the restaurant, apparently there is a step between the counter and the tables that is an elderly person liability trap.

                                    I ordered the fried seafood combo and the wife ordered the scampi. Even though there was no one in the place, it took about 20 minutes for the food to arrive. While we were waiting we saw numerous members of the kitchen staff running in and out of the kitchen, including what looked like the owner in an apron to take a cell phone call. While we were there one other table arrived.

                                    While we were waiting the waitress brought us an amuse bouche consisting of a chunk of "cajun" shrimp hiding in a corn muffin slathered in ranch dressing. While I salute them for trying, it was not something I would want to order on its own.

                                    When the food arrived it was inconsistent. The fish and scallops on the fried platter were dark brown, overdone and dry. The shrimp were a lighter shade and slightly moist but cold. French fries were, again, dark brown. Cole slaw was also nothing special. The scampi was better, not overcooked with fresh garlic and what seemed to be a little white wine in the sauce. Portions were ok but not overly large at $ 19.95 for the platter and $ 13.95 for the scampi.

                                    We spent some time talking with the wife owner afterwards while paying the check, and asked how they were doing. She indicated things were ok but could be better. They are getting some take out business off of the train, but on a Friday night they should have been way busier.

                                    I have the sense that it is difficult to make something go on the west side of Red Bank, while leaving we checked out the San Remo location (former little Kraut). Most of the construction permits were more than a year old but it still isn't open.

                                    Both Navesink Fishery and Barnacles do a better job with sea food in my book, and we have had bad experiences with Blue Water in Red Bank. While we would go back, we felt the Chowda House was overpriced for what they offered, and certainly could have done a better job with the preparation given that the place was empty.

                                    It's a shame, because I think Red Bank could really use a place like the Keyport Fishery with simple seafood prepared well and priced reasonably. This isn't it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: vikingkaj

                                      A few weeks ago in a last minute decision decided to go back and give it a other try. 8:30 on a Sat night there was nobody in the place, based upon a drive by visual, I decided to go elsewhere.

                                      I think the writting is on the wall for the anticipated longevity for this place.