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Red Bank Redux

Lcdsoundsystem Feb 9, 2014 01:53 PM

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. MGZ RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 10, 2014 03:59 AM

    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
      Lcdsoundsystem RE: MGZ Feb 10, 2014 04:57 AM

      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
        joonjoon RE: MGZ Feb 10, 2014 07:32 AM

        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
          Foody4life RE: joonjoon Feb 10, 2014 07:56 AM

          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
            MGZ RE: joonjoon Feb 10, 2014 08:14 AM

            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
            vikingkaj RE: MGZ Mar 16, 2014 10:29 AM

            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
              MGZ RE: vikingkaj Mar 16, 2014 10:53 AM

              Does anyone ever truly forget their first true love?

          3. h
            HillJ RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 10, 2014 07:46 AM

            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.

            14 Replies
            1. re: HillJ
              Lcdsoundsystem RE: HillJ Feb 10, 2014 08:09 AM

              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
                HillJ RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 10, 2014 08:13 AM

                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
                  eatinman RE: Lcdsoundsystem Mar 15, 2014 08:56 AM

                  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
                    joonjoon RE: eatinman Mar 15, 2014 12:37 PM

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

                    1. re: joonjoon
                      Herm RE: joonjoon Mar 15, 2014 01:38 PM

                      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
                        MGZ RE: Herm Mar 16, 2014 06:23 AM

                        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
                          Herm RE: MGZ Mar 16, 2014 10:18 AM

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

                        2. re: Herm
                          joonjoon RE: Herm Mar 16, 2014 07:42 PM

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

                        3. re: joonjoon
                          eatinman RE: joonjoon Mar 17, 2014 07:53 AM

                          Care to mention your fav's in Edison?

                          1. re: eatinman
                            joonjoon RE: eatinman Mar 18, 2014 09:55 AM

                            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
                              EL7 RE: joonjoon Mar 19, 2014 06:58 AM

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

                              1. re: EL7
                                joonjoon RE: EL7 Mar 19, 2014 08:03 AM

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

                              2. re: joonjoon
                                eatinman RE: joonjoon Mar 21, 2014 09:07 AM

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

                      2. re: HillJ
                        cke25 RE: HillJ Feb 11, 2014 11:52 PM

                        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.

                      3. corvette johnny RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 10, 2014 09:14 AM

                        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
                          jrvedivici RE: corvette johnny Feb 10, 2014 10:27 AM

                          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
                            corvette johnny RE: jrvedivici Feb 10, 2014 12:24 PM

                            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
                            MGZ RE: corvette johnny Feb 11, 2014 03:46 AM

                            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
                              Lcdsoundsystem RE: MGZ Feb 11, 2014 05:22 PM

                              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
                                MGZ RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 12, 2014 03:46 AM

                                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
                                  corvette johnny RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 12, 2014 08:33 AM

                                  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
                                    Lcdsoundsystem RE: corvette johnny Feb 12, 2014 06:56 PM

                                    i also never deviate from the cheddar burger.

                            2. m
                              Mr. Bingley RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 12, 2014 02:57 PM

                              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. seal RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 13, 2014 05:25 AM

                                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
                                  Foody4life RE: seal Feb 13, 2014 06:54 AM

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

                                  1. re: seal
                                    Lcdsoundsystem RE: seal Feb 13, 2014 06:47 PM

                                    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
                                      MGZ RE: Lcdsoundsystem Feb 14, 2014 07:00 AM

                                      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. MGZ RE: Lcdsoundsystem Mar 15, 2014 07:44 AM

                                    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. vikingkaj RE: Lcdsoundsystem Mar 16, 2014 09:41 AM

                                      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
                                        Lcdsoundsystem RE: vikingkaj Mar 17, 2014 01:21 PM

                                        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. jrvedivici RE: Lcdsoundsystem Jul 22, 2014 06:33 AM

                                        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?

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: jrvedivici
                                          joonjoon RE: jrvedivici Jul 22, 2014 07:39 AM

                                          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
                                            jrvedivici RE: joonjoon Jul 22, 2014 07:45 AM

                                            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
                                              joonjoon RE: jrvedivici Jul 22, 2014 07:51 AM

                                              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
                                                jrvedivici RE: joonjoon Jul 22, 2014 08:01 AM

                                                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
                                                seal RE: jrvedivici Jul 22, 2014 02:52 PM

                                                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
                                                  jrvedivici RE: seal Jul 22, 2014 02:57 PM

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

                                                  1. re: jrvedivici
                                                    seal RE: jrvedivici Jul 22, 2014 03:12 PM

                                                    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
                                              ebchower RE: jrvedivici Jul 22, 2014 09:12 AM

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

                                              1. re: ebchower
                                                jsfein RE: ebchower Jul 22, 2014 09:25 AM

                                                convenient bathroom!!

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