Zoni's Coal Fired Pizza - Middletown (Red Bank)
Went to Zoni's Coal Fired Pizza tonight. This is the former location of Coal, former location of CIBO. It was a "splurge meal" day off the paleo plan.
The new owners spruced up the inside quite a bit and it feels a lot "warmer" now. I must say, I think the food is much better now than it was before. They also added more "less fancy stuff" like burgers and sandwiches, so It seems to appeal to a wider audience now.
We had a cheese steak with homemade fries as an appetizer, and then the Stefano pizza with meatballs and caramelized onions. everything really tasted fresh and homemade. The fries were probably the best hand cut fries I can remember. For not being their main thing, the cheese steak was really good. Lots of meat, fresh bread, and the peppers and onions had just the right amount of "bite" left in them. They didn't offer whiz unfortunately.. but hey... its a fancy pizza place :-P
I wanted to try the oven wings, but my fiancee declined. Next time I will.
The pizza was really good. Crust was nicely crisp and a bit blackend on the outside, but still had enough chew left on the inside, the sauce was nice and sweet, and the meatballs were homemade. Great balance of ingredients to crust carrying capacity. This is probably the best coal fired pizza in the area that I've had.
Near the end of our meal, the new owner/chef came out and introduced himself to us and we were talking about the place, how he spruced it up, and how he makes everything that he can from scratch. He was also explaining how he has a garden with 1500 plants in it, and he will be doing farm to table stuff as he goes along, As a side vegetable, he also offers kale sauteed with garlic. I thought this was pretty cool. and he said he will be making fresh pasta soon.
It's still BYOB, with the liquor store next door, and he does delivery now also.
We had our rehearsal dinner here last night with 15 people, and it was fabulous. They worked up a great price for us and there was more than enough food to go around. and our guests had plenty of take-home containers.
The service was awesome, and the timing of the food was right on track.
We brought a couple cases of beer, and a few bottles of wine ahead of time, they had it on ice and ready to go wen we got there. Everyone had a great time, and the atmosphere was perfect for a small rehearsal dinner.
I've been here probably about a dozen times now with just my fiance and myself, and its been great every time.
Now that this is a great spot for a dinner with a group of people, makes it that much better!