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Best of Monmouth County: Readers' Choice Awards 2014

Hopefully this isn't a repeat. Before I throw some comments up, I will let someone else start the fun LOL

It definitely looks like a popularity contest for some of these.


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  1. I had seen that list a while ago, maybe not on here but some of the places on the list surprise me but that makes sense as it is a readers choice and voting could be suspect

    1. Seeing the word "best" isn't a good thing IMO..

      1. The best taco list made me laugh.

        1. I'll just say this, any "Best Of" list that has an MJ's on it is useless to me.

          1 Reply
          1. Not a single Mexican restaurant among the "Best" Mexican restaurants

            6 Replies
            1. re: equal_Mark

              yes I agree with everyone above and I started laughing too Joon.

              I must say barnacles is a strong contender in the burger category and I do think the crab cake at copper is one of the best around, if not the best.

              Does anyone know anything about this cheesesteak at the Dawg house? I may have to investigate.

              I was really surprised by Tuscanella too in the Italian category. That place is not on a main drag so I wonder how they got second place. Who knows, maybe the food is good. Has anyone been?

              1. re: equal_Mark

                If you don't mind me asking =M, can you clarify your statement. Are you saying the restaurants selected aren't authentic Mexican? (I know you have criticized me in the past for recommending Juanito's to someone)

                I was surprised not to see North of Boarder not mentioned for either Mexican Food or Taco's. I don't think Pop's garage really deserves to be on the list either.

                1. re: jrvedivici

                  Really not surprised NOTB is absent from this "best of" list. While probably an over generalization (but probably not too far from the truth), I would guess that whoever took the time to vote doesn't know about NOTB and/or wouldn't step foot there. Indeed, if not for CH, NOTB would have gone unnoticed by myself (and probably at least a few others on this board). And, I suspect, not many of us on CH voted in this survey.

                  1. re: jsfein

                    Even with all the Chow buzz about the place, it still took me a long time to actually find it. Once I decided to give it a try I probably passed it two or three times just assuming I either got the location wrong or thinking it was just a bodega. The first time I actually realized it was there, when I walked in I thought it was a "Chow Prank" like the Banana board!! lol

                    I'm sure they do a good business, but boy if they would invest a little bit more into cleaning the place up and some curb appeal imagine what might be! (not saying the place is dirty, it's just a hot mess. lol)

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      For me that's the charm of hole in the wall joints like that. I want it dingy.

                  2. re: jrvedivici

                    I guess it goes to the distinctions I've noted previously regarding local Mexican Vs. Tex-Mex places. Authentic Mexican restaurants generally do not smother their dishes in gobs of melted cheese and red salsa. The food is served with a couple bowls of thin, chile based salsas meant to be spooned over the meal. Fried tortilla chips are served as most North Americans have come to expect it. Chilangos started out as more authentic Mexican like 10 years ago serving regional Mexico City style food but has drifted closer to Tex Mex over the years.

                    Tex Mex places serve a thicker, tomato based Salsa that is meant to be scooped up with fried tortilla chips. They are more likely to serve chile con carne and fajitas. Casa Comida and Juanitos both predate the current influx of local Mexican communities, and as a result started out catering to a more diverse clientele. I should mention that I like both of them and still maintain that CC is the Go-to place for fajitas in NJ. It just depends on what you are in the mood for.

                    Granted there is a varying degree of crossover among local places, but I've found most of the "Authentic" Mexican places are run by Mexicans and are catering to the local Mexican communities that have sprung up in the last 20 years or so.

                2. Rather Ironic the Broadway Diner in Red Bank fetching the #1 Diner slot...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    You read my mind Mark. Odd that I only now think about all the times I was there over the years. Just plain good food in a comfortable spot.


                    I read the lists and the only thing that leaped out at me was the huge number of Red Bank places. I know these things are just popularity contests, but it just shows Red Bank is still very popular with the people.

                    I had hoped to be outside in front of Via 45 later today with a bottle of wine but those rain clouds say otherwise. Still Red Bank continues to be my destination of choice and there is always comfort in knowing that other people feel the same.

                    1. re: seal

                      I'm now living 17 minutes from Red Bank and been once in 2+ years here (ironically to the Broadway Diner). When I want a good meal I like to be able to park.

                      On a positive note - I love Piccola Italia - I even voted for them. A wonderful combination of really great food and overwhelming convenience.

                  2. =M Wrote : "I should mention that I like both of them and still maintain that CC is the Go-to place for fajitas in NJ. It just depends on what you are in the mood for."

                    No offense...but They might be good but referring as "THE GO-TO PLACE IN NJ" I cannot agree with sorry,.. ...especially after I dined there and wasn't too impressed with CC. New Jersey is a big place with so many great Mexican restaurants that I am sure have better Fajitas.....
                    Taqueria Maria's Mexican (pics) In Jamesburg comes to mind right away for me Excellent food, El Familiar, Azteca, and a few others makes a Great Fajita dish also, ....I just have an issue with anything branded "BEST" as I always know there is better out there and some day I will find it in my CH journeys. Until then Great, Good, Delicious, Fantastic, Awesome, Amazing, are my "Go To" descriptive words at least they leave room for better at some point.

                    Bon Apetite`

                    1. The list seems about right to me (though, I am a bit surprised that Bobby Flay didn't beat out D'jeet). At least, when your readers are just seventy-four people related to the magazine staff, it's pretty easy to figure out their choices. Maybe suggest a couple advertisers to fill in any missing slots?

                      It's possible I'm just a bit bitter because they keep sending the print copy to my home. I can't seem to unsubscribe (I guess you can't "un" something you never did in the first place?). I even tried to change my address to that of the Manasquan recycling center (you know, cut out the middle man), but the sneaky bastards caught back up with me. Oh well, there is always the smidge of fun that comes from laughing at the cheesy, over-posed photos from fundraisers on the last page or two - bonus chuckles when it's somebody you know "vogueing" in a designer dress while trying to discreetly clutch a plastic, cocktail cup.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MGZ

                        "Maybe suggest a couple advertisers to fill in any missing slots?"

                        Dare you suggest Danny's isn't the best steak to be had in Monmouth County??? Although I only mentioned MJ's above, I found Danny's to be equally, if not more offensive as MJ's.

                      2. Right off the bat I have to differ from this so called "best" list..
                        my favorite MC Bagels is "Hot Bagel Bakery" in Oakhurst NJ....
                        67 Monmouth Rd, .....just love em...! And they are not even mentioned on this list?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Tapas52

                          I've never been to Hot Bagel, I am a huge Bagel Masters fan, but I was shocked Bagel Oven from Red Bank wasn't mentioned.

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            jrvedivici......that's my point with these "Best" lists ....sometimes I think the restaurants, readers, and advertisers are in cahoots somehow, etc, ?....
                            but all I know is what tastes good to me.

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              "I was shocked Bagel Oven from Red Bank wasn't mentioned."

                              That's like being shocked that 'Lucy' or 'Hercules' made more money at the Box Office than 'Boyhood'. You give our neighbors a lot more credit than I do, my friend. Probably live longer your way though . . . .

                          2. How many closed-for-two-years places are on the list? There are always a few.