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Red Bank Redux

Theres been a bunch of little blurbs on here lately, but I feel it really needs to be pointed out... There's some great things going on in Red Bank. To me, the restaurant scene here has gotten a pretty nice re start. The days of stale Italian, boring steaks and 1990s menus have finally given way to some quality spots in RB.

Here's an interesting article from the owner of dish speaking about what's happening in the red bank culinary scene.

If you haven't been to dish, you should. Great food, good portion size, fresh ingredients for a good price. Their short rib is heavenly.

In that article, the owner mentions the bakery whose praise I've been singing to anyone within earshot lately. Antoinette boulangerie... It's a little French bakery on Monmouth st. IMO, best macaroons I've ever had, best croissant outside of Paris and the strawberry shortcake I had yesterday was as stunning visually as it was on my taste buds. Wow, just wow.

Anyway, while Asbury keeps getting the "buzz" and considered to be the "scene", great things are happening in Red bank. The under construction Triumph brewing and Patrizias should only continue the upward trend.

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  1. Though I laud your optimism, I don't agree with your conclusions. Red Bank has some great spots for specific things - tacos at NOTB, Bagel Oven, etc., but there really isn't any place that's making much better than B or B+ food for dinner. Via 45 is better than most, but certainly not great. Dish isn't even as good as that - ditch the short ribs and challenge a palate.

    They'll all make money and are perfectly suited for the nouveau foodies in the area (just like AP), but none of them are really putting out chow worthy of a 'hound. Take Muong Thai for example. It's great to have a spot offering such fare, but the food lacks the extra-fresh spark and diverse spice associated with the cuisine. Same is pretty much true of Pho Le. I actually like both restaurants, but, at their best, they're only playing the game at the Triple A level.

    As to Triumph, if you've eaten at the Princeton location, you know that the new place doesn't deserve too much excitement.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MGZ

      I've eaten at triumph numerous times. While not amazing, i have certainly enjoyed my meals there.

      And I couldn't disagree more about dish and via

      1. re: MGZ

        It all depends on what you're looking for. Red Bank is certainly not a Chowhound's dream, but it's as good as it gets in Monmouth county. Not saying it's the *best* food town in the county, but it's certainly near the top.

        This speaks more to the general sad state of food around here than anything else I guess.

        I'm personally not interested in Triumph at all...their Princeton location has disappointed me one too many times. I do enjoy Dish and Via though. Pho Le is perfectly acceptable and the only Vietnamese joint in a 15-20 mile radius..And Nicholas is still the best thing in all of Jersey.

        Most of all, there's no better place to overpay for Italian food anywhere in the state!

        1. re: joonjoon

          we too have given up on all 3 Triumph locations. Especially Princeton.

          Beer's fine but food has never been more than mediocre at best. Have as much desire to dine here as either of the Salt Creek Grills. If Triumph hired a chef and put some care into what they were serving, we could be enticed to return.

          1. re: joonjoon

            I will certainly agree that if given a choice between meeting someone for dinner and drinks in RB or AP, I'd choose the former nine times outta ten.

            As to Nicholas, I really don't count that in my assessment as it's not in Red Bank. Food wise, it is definitely better than any place that is.

          2. re: MGZ

            MGZ is correct. There is a paucity of Asian cuisine whether properly spiced or not in our area. It is with great sadness we note the passing of KimchiSushi in Lincroft and the Asian Market on Route 35, which does not bode well for the future.

            I further agree that Via 45 is good, but in that neighborhood local restaurant kind of way. It is not a destination cuisine kind of place, but at least it is home cooked and not a chain.

            Dish has had the short ribs on their menu since they opened in 2008 along with most of the rest of what they serve. Don't see how a static menu equates to locally sourced fresh and seasonal.

            I think of Triumph as the outback steakhouse/chilis/applebees of brew pubs. Its ok if you like chain food produced in a central kitchen and "finished" at the franchise. Not my thing. Oh, and the beer is overhopped and usually not fresh. Either that, or they never clean the taps.

            It's a little bit sad when the most authentic local things we can offer is taqueria's that are periodically shut down by the health inspector, and dirty water water dogs down by the train station, but then there you have it.

            Oh, MGZ, do not forget your paeon to the mythical jersey shore slice...

            1. re: vikingkaj

              Does anyone ever truly forget their first true love?

          3. Triple decker I agree with everyone commenting on RB. I call the town one hit wonder eating. I'll order one dish, one take out item at many of the restaurants/eateries but unless planned by someone else wanting the "RB experience" rarely plan an entire meal.

            I tried Dish in 2011 and my experience was not anything near what other hounds raved about. Early Via left me hungry and when they moved from Lincroft to RB PhoLe changed.

            So many restaurants have come & gone or moved their locations to another spot. I can't keep track anymore.

            Cupcakes, pizza, burgers...over & over. Copycating Westfield NJ and other restaurant towns. Too much turnover at the RiverCenter oversight.

            I've been stopping in RB since high school and whatever magic I once enjoyed hasn't won me over yet.

            Staying hopeful.

            16 Replies
            1. re: HillJ

              HillJ stay hopeful. Sure there's a. Lot of bs in red bamk, but a lot of it is correcting itself. The restaurant turnover has pretty much been a case where the weak get eaten. The places that offer crap or simply try to follow a trend continue to open and quickly close.

              Apparently I've touched somewhat of a nerve here. All I'm saying is that for the first time since red bank became relevant again in the early 90s, legit things are starting to take shape. Is it where Montclair, New Bruns or Princeton are, no... But a good foundation has been laid and that foundation has finally upped the quality ante for those who do open in town.

              1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                I'm also aware of some of the landlord issues over the last few years and very familiar with the evolution that is RiverCenter. I have friends with ties to RB businesses and surrounding towns.

                My hope is that RB; old & new business owner start getting treated the same. But I'll say this, the focus and support for the food businesses far exceeds the non food businesses in town. And every business is expected to participate in the never-ending fundraisers and events the RCenter comes up with.

                1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                  Sorry, after living near Red Bank and now living closer to New Brunswick - there is NO Choice of which town I'd rather be close to - for good restaurants.
                  That would be Red Bank. And of course you can always get great ices at Strollo's - what could be better than that!!

                  Montclair thou - is an absolute stand out for good-great restaurants!

                  New Brunswick has one standout - Due Mari - but that's it

                  1. re: eatinman

                    Forget Red Bank New Brunswick or Montclair...IMO best restaurant town in NJ is Edison!

                    1. re: joonjoon

                      joonjoon, let's not forget Stanhope, although I only can think of one restaurant in the town. You guessed it, The Black Forest Inn.

                      1. re: Herm

                        Herm, you're holdin' "Ace High" and joon has "Two Ladies and a pair of Tens", and it's just before the cards have to be flipped. Go "all in", if you want, that way my friend will have to treat for all the dim sum I can eat.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          Oh c'mon, I mean when we talk Black Forest, we're always talkin' 'Full House"

                        2. re: Herm

                          I'm considering moving there just so I can be close to the Inn!

                        3. re: joonjoon

                          Care to mention your fav's in Edison?

                          1. re: eatinman

                            Honestly there are so many places in Edison and they're all great in their own way...it's difficult to pick favorites. It's pretty rare that I'll go anywhere in that area and come away disappointed.

                            Having said that here are some of the places I've been to most recently:
                            Picnic Garden (BBQ)
                            China Star (Korean Chinese)
                            Sichuan Spring / Dragon Palace (Sichuan - ok, technically SS is in Highland Park)
                            Thumbs Up (Hot pot)
                            Baguette Delite (Banh Mi)
                            Spice Zone / Chopstick (Indian Chinese)

                            Places I've been meaning to check out:
                            Coco Asian Cuisine (Malaysian)
                            Noodelicious/Happy Noodle/Red Onion (Taiwanese noodle)
                            Noodles Plus (Ramen + Sushi)

                            Places I haven't been to in a while but have always been good:
                            Wonder Seafood
                            So Kong Dong Tofu House
                            Pho Anh Dao / Bien Hoa / Pho Thanh Do (Pho)
                            Keum Ho Jung / Chung Sol Bat (Korean)

                            I mean seriously they're pretty much all great..

                            1. re: joonjoon

                              Joonjoon nice list and some I haven't been to yet... I am on my way! Thanks!

                              1. re: EL7

                                I'm jealous! Wherever you go...report back and let us know!

                              2. re: joonjoon

                                Hi Joonjoon...
                                Thanks! I'll report back as I make my way through your list.

                            2. re: joonjoon

                              Hello Joon,

                              Tell us if you would - what are your 7-10 favorite restaurants in Edison - the town you say is the best restaurant town in NJ.

                              I went back to read your posts and could not find one that described Edison - as this post did.

                              All types of food - accepted!!

                              1. re: eatinman

                                Hey eatinman, I thought you were going to eat through the list above? It's hard to pick favorites in Edison because they are so different. I'll add a couple places I missed to the list above though. Maybe others can chime in with their faves:

                                Little Sheep (Hot Pot)
                                H Mart Food Court (Random Korean things)
                                Dong Fang Chun Dian aka Lamb BBQ (Chinese BBQ)
                                Shanghai Noodle House (XLB, noodles)

                                It's easy to see what makes Edison the most diverse - if not greatest - food town in Jersey. And it barely scratches the surface when it comes to Indian options and doesn't even include the myriad of places slightly outside Edison. Anyway, eat and enjoy!

                        4. re: HillJ

                          I love the "one hit wonder" analogy. I do the same thing: NOTB for tacos, Bagel Oven, Tommy's for wings, and Brothers for pizza. And maybe 7-11 for coffee, because I can refill my travel mug for $1.

                        5. Red Bank to me seems like a cycle. I tend to hit the same spots and get the same things at each location that I like and most are "lower end" spots (ie not that expensive)

                          MGZ is spot on with the bagels and NOTB. Although I think the El Pastor tacos at Linos take the cake since you get that wood grilled flavor.

                          Gus' dirty water dogs
                          windmill dogs and cheese fries
                          tommy's wings and a decent Carton beer
                          Pho = superbowl
                          brothers pie
                          new corner cheesesteak (not the best but if you toss some extra cheese on and toast it up its ok...especially when wife brings one home after she gets out of work ; )
                          chowdahouse lobster rolls

                          I still have to get to via45

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: corvette johnny

                            Gus' is the truck behind the Galleria? If so...yeah love those dogs. I concur about the Windmill as well, one of my favorite dog spots.

                            I'm not a huge fan of Brother's pie, I don't like thin crust pizza so that's more a "me" than "them" type thing.

                            I would add Mr. Pizza Slice for as decent an Italian Hot Dog as you are going to get in the area.

                            FYI I noticed the Chowda house has a sign in the window now indicating they have the lobster rolls on any given day.

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              Yeah gus is the hot dog nazi next to the galleria. (If you are a Seinfeld fan, and you know Gus, you will be laughing! lol)

                              My wife follows the chowdah house on Facebook so she gets the updates on when they have lobster rolls.

                              Yeah brothers is decent...not my favorite but sometimes I get in the mood for their pizza.

                            2. re: corvette johnny

                              Sh*t, I'd do it in a loop.

                              Warm up after the train at Tommy's with beer and wings.

                              Head up Monmouth with a taco in hand.

                              Pocket a couple bagels for later before grabbing a hot dog and walking across the street for beer and/or wine to take along.

                              Get to Pho le and relax while getting the chill out with some soup.

                              Stroll down Broad Street. Head west again on Front until finding oneself at the bar at Brothers. Pizza, beer, and whatever game's on the TV.

                              Stumble out and for another block or so to grab some cheese fries to eat while heading back to the Station.

                              Sounds like a decent Saturday (and honestly, not far at all from some trips I've taken to the Heart of Monmouth County). Other stops available upon request.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Solid trip Mgz. Personally, I like they hot dog guy by the Dublin, but I've been ruined by biker jims dogs in Denver.

                                1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                  Yeah, I think (even though Johnny & JR actually clarified who they were talking about) that was the place I had in mind geographically. Truth be told, given the charted course, I probably would go to Mr. Pizza Slice for the hot dog - primarily for sentimental/nostalgic reasons (and, while I'm speaking truthfully, I also would likely have made a pit stop in Jamian's for a beer and to sneak a bat hit in the downstairs bathroom).

                                  As to the guy by they Galleria, my only contact with him was one morning, a couple years ago, when I parked there to go to the Farmers' Market. He yelled at us, said we couldn't park there, even threatened to call the cops. I stifled the chuckle and sent Mrs. Z ahead. The vendor and I proceeded to 'discuss' the matter for a minute or so before I joined my wife. I never did try the dogs.

                                  1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                    MGZ, that sounds like a serious loop LOL I don't know if I could keep up food wise...drinking you bet!

                                    LCD: On monday night some guy was hammering down a cheesedog at barnacles. Man that looked good! I always get cheddar burgers but might have to break down and try one next time.

                                    So if everyone had to pick "one dish" for your favorite red bank spots, what would they be?

                                    1. re: corvette johnny

                                      i also never deviate from the cheddar burger.

                              2. Dish is perfectly fine and I've always had very pleasant meals at Red; nothing super wow but I'm not looking for that most nights.

                                1. I love Red Bank. Give me a Friday night starting off with a tasting at The Cheese Cave and a good bottle of wine. Then tacos from NoTB or IMG, or the filet mignon app at Red, or a full meal at Via45 and I am happy.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: seal

                                    ... and a great concert at the Basie for dessert!

                                    1. re: seal

                                      The Cheese Cave deal is one of the best deals in Mon. County! By far! If people havent been there, I strongly suggest a visit. The owner & staff are super knowledgable about cheese and have a great selection of cheese and some damn good sandwiches!

                                      1. re: Lcdsoundsystem

                                        I too like the selection at the Cheese Cave, but have learned that ideally one wants to go there when the place is empty or close to it. Two reasons for such an assessment:

                                        First, the owner who, albeit quite knowledgeable, naturally moves with the rigidity and speed of someone drenched in quick drying cement. When the place is crowded, his movements suggest that the concrete has begun to harden at an increasing rate.

                                        Second, the clientele is predominantly comprised of the nouveau foodies that have multiplied exponentially in the area. Perhaps it is simply the fact that I have a Shore denizen's mindset, but being surrounded by that level of phoney really icks me out (I am allergic to the pretentious.).

                                        Now, I grant that it is not the fault of the Cheese Cave that they attract such a following, but with service that can be, shall we say, painfully methodical, I find it best for my personal well-being to shop there at off times (especially since Mrs. Z frowns upon me f*cking with strangers in such settings - "I'd be careful with too much sheep's milk cheese ma'am. There are recent studies suggesting it may lead to adverse reactions with Botox.").

                                    2. I was in Red Bank yesterday and ate at/from four different spots. Pretty much everything was great. The Bagel Oven bialy I smuggled into the movie was a standout. The highlight of the trip, however, was undoubtedly the Turkish coffee and Kataifai pastry from Cafe 28.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        I hit cafe28 for the first time. This is a cool little place. I would love to see some people try it and report back.

                                        I had the chicken Cairo. For 7.50 this was a really tasty dish and the proprietor Mohammad is a dedicated and interesting guy.

                                        He will definitely talk food if you want. He was getting all technical into the art of this dish and how the flavors have to meld together (not have the Tzatziki overpower it.) I am definitely going to try a few more things.

                                      2. Respectfully, but completely, disagree LCDSS. Red Bank is lots of red sauce and dough. If you google Red Bank 4 out of the 5 restaurants that come up are Italian. Not a lot of locally sourced fresh menus like in Brooklyn. Not a lot of creative new American cuisine. And even the places that are supposed to be better like Nicholas feature bizarre techniques (sous vide) and unusual decor.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: vikingkaj

                                          Sure 4 out of 5 are Italian, but that's really not too far off the averages of the rest of the state.

                                          My point of this thread is that legit things have finally been happening in red bank. Dish, via and temple could hold their own in any town in nj. Retail wise, cheese cave, Antoinette Boulangerie, and Monmouth meats are among the top of their craft in the state. Those six spots are a pretty good backbone imo.

                                        2. I think there are plenty of "Red Bank" threads out there so I'm not going to start a new one however this can be a "sub-thread" to Redux. It seems Red Bank is experiencing the largest turnover in restaurants that I can ever remember. How many places have closed in Red Bank in the past 12 mos? I'll start the list, please add as I'm sure I don't remember them all;

                                          The Broadway Restaurant (not the diner)
                                          The Broadway Diner
                                          The East Side Diner
                                          Zebu's & It's replacement (name escapes me)
                                          Blue Water Seafood
                                          Board Walk Burgers
                                          Haagen dazs
                                          (I"m pretty sure San Remo closed it's old location with the French theme)

                                          Anyone else can add to this list?

                                          30 Replies
                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                            Whoa. What happened to the Broadway Diner? I've only been there with the 2am crew but it was always PACKED. I guess it's the end of an era.

                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                              There is a thread about the Broadway closing, that's what prompted me to start this sub thread.


                                              I was part of a few 2am crew's as well. That was many years ago, as the matter of fact probably around when Ashes has originally opened. I closed that place many a nights. I was an original member of the cigar club, still have my old humidor key somewhere.

                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                I've never been into cigars but I've spent many a night putting down martinis at Ash's - not sure when they opened but it was a weekend staple for me from 2001 til they closed. Maybe I'm getting old but Char doesn't have the same charm.

                                                1. re: joonjoon

                                                  Char is very cold to me for all they have put into the place it lack's any charm or ambiance to me. Everything is very mechanical, cold and just going through the motions of serving you and turning things over. I've been a handful of times for drinks only, I have yet to eat there, and not sure I ever will. Which is a shame because I was a HUGE fan of their original location.

                                                2. re: jrvedivici

                                                  My two cents is that Red Bank is evolving and getting stronger as a destination. My new favorite places are all recent additions like Antoinette and 25 Burgers. I am all over the Count Basie's schedule this summer for the first time ever too.
                                                  Having said that, I grew up in Lincroft and spent my time at the Broadway over the years. She will be missed.

                                                  1. re: seal

                                                    Antoinette's? Not familiar with it, care to share some details?

                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      You're in for a treat my friend. Check out their website and then go for a french pastry.


                                                      New thread idea - how about we take one of these fine summer days and each share one of our favorite places in Red Bank for a ....
                                                      Hounds Choice Crawl? ;o)

                                              2. re: jrvedivici

                                                It sucks that the Starbucks is always packed. It doesn't belong there, imo.

                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                  I drove through Red Bank yesterday & saw Basil T's was being transformed into something called Birravino. I thought I saw another discussion about it here somewhere, but can't seem to find it.

                                                  1. re: Jerzeegirl

                                                    interesting...I wonder why they are changing the name.

                                                    It looks like the same menu, or very similar.

                                                    I guess "brew pub" doesn't sound that fancy so this new Italian name will work. rolling eyes


                                                    1. re: corvette johnny

                                                      I said a long, long time ago I didn't see the correlation to a brew pub and Italian restaurant. It would have made so much more sense to have some kind of "wine club" than a brew pub.

                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        I agree.

                                                        I wonder if the new triumph brewery is playing a role in this. To me it sounds like nothing is changing but the name and that might be due to new competition.

                                                        1. re: corvette johnny

                                                          They are expanding the taps to offer more craft beer and also bringing in more wine. It seems like 50 taps now. Here's a recent article.


                                                          1. re: LifeGeek

                                                            “My friends are saying, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ Or ‘did you go bankrupt?’ ‘Are you a heroin addict?"

                                                            Is it just me who finds it rather curious his friend would ask "Are you a heroin addict"? The guy is renovating his restaurant, not selling the silver ware and stem-ware in the side ally. WTF?

                                                            Anyway.....I've often thought Basil's was overpriced so perhaps this will be a change for the better. I just hope they don't get rid of their Italian meat and cheese platter. Yummmmm

                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                              well I was totally wrong. When I first read the Italian new name I thought he was going to position it as a higher end place and try to get even more money per plate. Well I guess it is good that he realized lots of people are broke lol

                                                              JR: yes, their antipasti is top notch and overall, the place is on the pricier side. However, with his location and clients, he can charge a "slight" premium. Fair haven, rumson and red bank people don't balk at spending a few bucks extra on a plate. Plus, they get lots of Molly Pitcher people eating there. Slightly reducing the dish prices might just be what the doctor ordered. Vic is a smart guy. Seeing an owner react to the market is interesting. Most restaurants dont act until it is too late.

                                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                OK my sources tell me that there will be changes to Basil T's. First of all, say goodbye to the Mug Club and weekly Mug Club food specials. As described in the article there will be 3 local brews and a few guest tap beers. Bar is being redone and all hanging mugs will be gone. May be an opportunity to stop by and pickup a few of the mugs for posterity sakes. Victor was never a beer guy anyway. Maybe he knows that the beer people in town will go to Triumph for their beer and so he needs to reinvent Basil's.

                                                                1. re: scrappyone

                                                                  do you know what local breweries? hopefully kane and carton : )

                                                                  1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                    By local brews I meant Basil's brews as I have not heard that he's removing the brewing operations. Their beer does not measure up to the quality that Triumph will be serving so Victor is better off reinventing the restaurant now. I think there will be a surge of interest when they first reopen but they are likely to lose their mug club members as customers. That's a lot of empty seats at the bar during happy hour.

                                                                    1. re: scrappyone

                                                                      actually, judging by the menu online they will have 3 beers they brew and 2 brewed by two brewers in Pennsyltucky (one is "Victory" and the other is "Stoudts"), which is good because the beer has always been the 'meh' part of Basil's, especially after they changed brewmasters a few years ago. and i say this as a long long standing mug club (and wine club) member.

                                                                      looks like the menu is similar but a tad cheaper, which makes me think smaller portions, which is frankly ok as the portions at basil's were always rather large.

                                                                      beer menu: http://birravino.com/our-beer/

                                                                      food: http://birravino.com/our-menus/

                                                                      my fear on the re-do is that they will make the bar too 'bright'. what i liked about it was that it was light enough that you could sort of see all the other folks about you but dark enough that you still felt somewhat private.

                                                                      but we shall see.

                                                                      1. re: Mr. Bingley

                                                                        I agree with you about the bar. That's were I would always go, the thing I liked most is it didn't draw the normal Red Bank crowd. You could sit down, relax, enjoy a couple drinks some food. Hope they don't change that and try to become a player for the Red Bank bar crowd.

                                                                        1. re: Mr. Bingley

                                                                          I'm putting the reported changes in the should be "for the better" category. It may just be the fact that I've got a soft spot for Mrs. Stoudts though (she popped my (microbrew*) cherry back in the fall of '87). Better suds than Triumph, at least.

                                                                          * For you kids out there, that's what we used to call "craft beer" back in the days when "following" a girl you "liked" would end with a call to the police. Just ask jrv.

                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                            I've told you a dozen times, she asked me to follow her! Geeze just like the police you never listen to my side of the story.

                                                    2. re: jrvedivici

                                                      I'm still mourning the passing of Hinck's Turkey Farm Restaurant.

                                                      1. re: eleeper

                                                        When and where was there a Hinks in Red Bank? I'm drawing a complete blank.

                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                          Up until 2003, opposite the corner of Broad and Monmouth.

                                                          1. re: eleeper

                                                            yep, we used to get our 'fresh brined' buzzard there every thanksgiving

                                                            1. re: Mr. Bingley

                                                              Us too. Although it seems like a lot longer than ten years.

                                                              And I remember in the 70s picking fruit at Delicious Orchard's orchard - apples and peaches as far as my teenage eye could see.

                                                              Why do I have an irresistible urge to go yell at some kids to get off my lawn? ;o)

                                                              1. re: seal

                                                                You can still pick apples and peaches to your hearts content at Eastmont Orchards on 537 in Colts Neck. (I'm fairly certain they are associated with Delicious Orchards)

                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                  Back when I was a kid DO was originally located at the current Eastmont location.

                                                    3. Bringing this back up....

                                                      has anyone been to Patrizias? I drove by last night and it was jumping. I was wondering if this is a hound worthy spot.

                                                      It looks like they have quite a few locations

                                                      Also, has anyone been to the in between cafe lately? My buddy tells me it is decent.

                                                      1. OK, so I had a chance to try Bagel Oven. Took me once around the block to find it, but I did. Now, I love anything loaded with carbohydrates and fresh. But boy, is their bagel over the top great! I loved the crunchy crust, and the warm interior. Did you see the lady parked in the municipal lot, eating her way into a carb coma last week? OK, 1 bagel wasn't enough, I needed two. One right after the other. They were that good. And yes, I DID travel with my own cream cheese to dress it up exactly the way I like! Yup, that was me! Bagel Oven wow!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Heidi cooks and bakes

                                                          I'm glad you enjoyed your bagels, Heidi. I sometimes wonder if some of the old school places I cherish are still actually as good as I remember or if the taste of their wares simply benefit from romanticized reminiscence still seasoning my palate (sorta like why it's never a really good idea to recommend the food at a place you've only tried when incredibly hungry or terrifically stoned - "Dude, you gotta try the peanut butter, salt carmel brownie at the Krauzers off Ryders Lane. Oh, and make sure you get extra nacho cheese sauce on it . . . .")

                                                          Nevertheless, since you enjoyed BO,* I'm gonna leak a bit of doughy deliciousness closer to home: the baguette at Massuto's Market in Wall. Actually, all of their breads are excellent and have become pretty much the only ones I will bring home. I'm not sure about everyday, but I do know that the loaves seem to be put out at around 11 am on Sundays and thus are wonderfully warm when I go in at 11:05 (give or take). The tip that sticks out of the bag is a fine reward for being the one who goes to pick it up, and should never still be intact when you pull in the driveway. (I will confess that I actually hesitated to fully disclose the foregoing, out of fear that I might let the cat too far out of the bag, but, after all, what fun is there in being a 'hound if there aren't a bunch of cats to chase around.

                                                          * He He He. Sorry, I've still got a bit of an eleven year old boy in me.

                                                        2. I am not sure if anyone posted this yet but Taka is opening up where the old Broadway grill used to be.

                                                          A few updates...

                                                          I finally tried the italian hotdog at Mr Pizza slice....not impressed. It was not bad but a chili cheese dog at windmill will destroy this thing. For 7 bucks I left underwhelmed.

                                                          Mac Attack came through with their buffalo chicken mac n cheese....good stuff and I will be back.

                                                          Cheese steak from Pacinis was weak. I can't figure out why only a few places in this county can make a decent cheesesteak.

                                                          This place was jumping on sat night. Has anyone been?

                                                          36 Replies
                                                            1. re: corvette johnny

                                                              Too funny, you know about a month ago I was in Red Bank around lunch time and decided to stop into Mack Attack. I forget the name of what I got but it was with ham and peas, it was ok, decent but certainly nothing special. I also got the tomato soup which was average canned soup. The wood floor on the place was buckled and created a serious tripping hazard which I found very annoying. The counter service, vs. food delivery seemed very disorganized. It took awhile to get my food and they forgot my soup, when I pointed it out a soup so obnoxiously overly micro-waved-piping-hot was delivered it took half a cup of ice to make it consumable. I was not terribly impressed with the place.

                                                              Sicilian Cafe' has been on my radar a long time, the owners are live on my street. They are first generation Italian so I have been very anxious to try their food, sadly being located in Red Bank I pretty much always dismiss everything in town when I'm looking to go out. I've got to get there....they do a decent business from what I've heard. FWIW the family also owns the Salad Works two stores over and the same in the Monmouth Mall.

                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                Mac attack isn't fine dining but for takeout I liked it lol

                                                                and yes jr....i won't get into my story about disorganization there.

                                                              2. re: corvette johnny

                                                                FYI this is not the same "Taka" as in Asbury Park. Just read about it in the Redbank Green. Different owner.

                                                                1. re: toonik

                                                                  Wow, I wonder why they didn't research the name before hand. Maybe they will change it before it opens. SEO will definitely not be great for his place with one named taka so close. Then again, it is his 5th restaurant so he might know something I don't


                                                                  PS, I tried the red bank bistro recently. I have to do a writeup soon when I have some time.

                                                                  1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                    I don't even know how this kind of thing would even be allowed. If I were Taka (Asbury) I would not be happy about this.

                                                                    I'M SO FUCKING SICK OF ITALIAN AND JAPANESE RESTAURANTS!! GIVE ME SOMETHING ELSE ALREADY!

                                                                    Having said that, I hate brown rice but Sogo is really good.

                                                                    1. re: joonjoon

                                                                      How about Japatalian? Italian infused Japanese place?

                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                        That would actually be really cool!

                                                                          1. re: Curlz

                                                                            That leaves the non-italian part really ambiguous though.

                                                                            1. re: joonjoon

                                                                              Red bank could use a korean bbq place....get that town smelling like charcoal.

                                                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                I don't know if it was a "korean bbq" but there use to be a Korean Restaurant where they cooked everything on a large flat metal drum type surface. It was pretty cool, you picked out the ingredients you wanted and they cooked it in the middle of the restaurant. I haven't seen a place like it since, although I'm not a huge follower of Asian food, it was pretty cool.

                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                  Sounds like "Mongolian BBQ" to me...

                                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                      That is definitely not Korean JR! I think I need to take you to a Korean BBQ and show you how it's done...

                                                                                        1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                          You know I'm game! Just let me know if it's a BYOB. Can you give me an example of one?

                                                                                          How about this, I ate at a restaurant once where the stove was in the middle of the table you were seated at, similar to Melting Pot. They then brought the main protein out, placed it on the stove top, then your "side" dishes, and a halved head of ice berg lettuce. You then assembled your own lettuce burrito. The place was on 18 in East Brunswick, again I ate there probably 15 years ago. Was that a Korean BBQ?

                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                            JR, here is what an average korean BBQ table looks like. Meat is cooked traditionally over charcoal

                                                                                            When you leave you smell like smoke : )

                                                                                            1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                              Yes! That's the type of place I had been to in East Brunswick, I didn't do the ordering but whatever we had was served with lettuce as "bread". Ha! Look at that I was ahead of my time!!!

                                                                                            2. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                              That's pretty much it but it's always red leaf lettuce, I've never seen anyone use iceberg. It's BYOB but don't worry JR, I fully expect you to down enormous, life threatening amounts of soju with our meal. If you haven't had it, it's basically half strength vodka with a slight hint of sweetness.

                                                                                              And being a steak guy I know you'll appreciate - the marbling you can get on some of the kalbi cuts at the buffet is insane! The idiots try to pick out the leaner cuts so I get to eat all the fatty ones! Mwahahahahha

                                                                                              Of course you would be more than welcome Missybean! So far it looks like we got three of us! I forget...who used to organize the Chow meetups? I know someone has everyone's emails here.

                                                                                              1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                It could have very well been red leaf lettuce and perhaps I'm just not remembering correctly, as I said it was at least 15 years ago. I think the place I went to is now Christie's Florist on 18N.

                                                                                                Where is your favorite Korean BBQ?

                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                  JR, it sorta depends.

                                                                                                  For group meals Picnic Garden is the best. It's BYO, everyone can cook the meat they want, it's got a large selection of meats, and has a set price so you don't have to worry about who ordered what.

                                                                                                  For absolutely gorging on meat, Picnic Garden is also the best. I love that you get to personally pick out the cuts of meat there. You wouldn't believe the marbling on some of the cuts I've found in the tray.

                                                                                                  On the other hand if I want a well rounded Korean meal that includes BBQ, there are better options. It's really just a toss up between all the other authentic charcoal based BBQ places. The one place that does everything very well is probably So Moon Nan Jip up in Pal Park, but all of the full-service Korean places in Edison and Fort Lee/ Pal Park do a great job.

                                                                                                  Personally if I made the trek to Fort Lee/Pal Park, I'm going to a non-bbq restaurant that I can't find in Edison so I haven't tried much in terms of BBQ in that area in a few years. So little time, so much food to try.

                                                                                                  As a matter of fact I can't even comprehend how we haven't done a Chow crawl or something of all the Asian goodness in the Pal Park or Edison areas. There is just SO. MUCH. DELICIOUSNESS. packed into those places.

                                                                                                  1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                                    Well Edison is this boy's hometown so I'm game, if you organize something I'm in!!

                                                                            2. re: joonjoon


                                                                              Temple was packed sat night as I walked the "strip"

                                                                              I still want to try that place even with all the lackluster things I read on here about it.

                                                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                I don't want to stop you from trying a new place...but that place is really, really mediocre.

                                                                                1. re: joonjoon

                                                                                  yeah joon, its on my list of "if I am near red bank and someone else is paying" I will try it. To me red bank is a town to get cheaper stuff like mexican food. The more expensive places don't deliver for my dollar. Hopefully that outlook changes soon. I want to try Via45 still.

                                                                                  If I recall correctly the "steak" at temple is like 40 bucks?

                                                                                  *nicholas is not included in my outlook. that is technically in middletown ; )

                                                                                  1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                    If the steak at Temple is $40, then your crazy not to spend the extra $5.00-$10.00 and go to Char or 2-3 miles away to Raven and Peach. At least both of those destinations will offer a superior overall dining experience.

                                                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                      [begin broken record] never ever order a steak away from home[/broken record] :p

                                                                                      1. re: Mr. Bingley

                                                                                        It's funny Mr. Bingley I recently ate at Arthur's in Hoboken. When asked why I held the place in such high regard I admitted, that was the beginning of my Steakhouse experiences. After work 20+ years ago a quick trip into North Brunswick for a large chunk of grilled meat -n- grissle. If it weren't for steakhouses my lifetime dining experiences would easily be cut in half.

                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                          I hear you JR. There is nothing like a properly done steakhouse steak. I just had an epic Greg Norman Wagyu ribeye the other day cooked over wood....amazing! I could never get a steak charred like this at home

                                                                                          1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                            So you're just going to drop a steak like that on us and not mention WHERE you had that steak? Nice CJ real nice. I see how you roll now.........(joke, but seriously where did you have that???)

                                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                              JR, I purposely left it out to joke around and leave you salivating ; )

                                                                                              It was at Charley's in Orlando...amazing piece of beef (not cheap but worth it.) I really don't buy into the "wagyu" thing as I think it is a marketing gimmick here, but this steak was outrageous. I have had the high grade kobe in japan and nothing here comes close but this ribeye was about as good as it can get. (old homestead has japanese kobe but I have not tried it yet.) Also, Bones in Atlanta I recently hit and their ribeye is top ten in the country I would say.

                                                                                              Mr Bingley, I understand what you are saying. I have become way too critical and have been disappointed way too many times. For this reason I don't mind paying a premium for truly awesome steaks. It can be an expensive hobby. We need to make a steak thread LOL

                                                                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                                or just pick a day in the RB area where we can have a CastIronFest lol

                                                                                            2. re: corvette johnny

                                                                                              It's true, I admit, there is nothing like a properly done steakhouse steak. But it's that "properly done' bit that always seems to mess things up, isn't it? I have just had too many times been disappointed by paying $30-40+ for 'meh'

                                                                                2. re: joonjoon

                                                                                  Amen brother, adding 'wasabi' to a dish does not an interesting 'fusion' plate make. Rant Alert: My Bride and I were talking along these lines just the other day. we're planning an overseas trip and looking at the restaurant options, and we both remarked how, to our pedestrian tastes, the high-end 'food stylist' restaurants are really all sort of converging into this frankly getting boring collection of little plates. Oh sure, it's all wonderfully executed and beautifully presented but having eaten at some of the top places here and in Brazil (and perused lots of menus of places in Europe) you could pick up any of them and plop them down anywhere and not much would change. Shoot me, yell at me, castigate me but geez louise I'm going to really try and concentrate on places that really give me a taste of a region's/country's actual cuisine, strike that, actual food.