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For fans of McLoone's who live up north

The Restaurant opens on Friday, October 21. Bandiera is there on the 28th, I think.

Oct 13, 2011
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

The Boards Restaurant-Asbury

The Boards has closed their doors. There is the promise of a Cuban restaurant in the Spring, under new ownership. This one never got off the ground.

Nov 27, 2010
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

National Harbor July 2 - 6. Restaurant Suggestions Please!

Pretty discouraging news here. We're going to be somewhat pressed for time and tired, so what is the best we can expect on the property? There must be something?!?

May 31, 2010
hotfoodhot in Washington DC & Baltimore

National Harbor July 2 - 6. Restaurant Suggestions Please!

I'm staying in the Westin in National Harbor in the beginning of July and I'm in charge of dinner reservations for a group of 10-12 for 3 of the 4 nights. These are not foodies but I would like to deliver solid experiences. Price no obstacle - all expensed. Thank you in advance.

May 28, 2010
hotfoodhot in Washington DC & Baltimore

Ocean Avenue Grill - Sea Bright, NJ

Actually, it's Lindsay.

Apr 14, 2010
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Ocean Avenue Grill - Sea Bright, NJ

The Cove is re-opening under new management. The long-time manager of Ichabods is opening her own restaurant at the Cove this summer.

Apr 13, 2010
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Tip Advice for Thanksgiving Buffet

It is never appropriate to tip less than 15%, except for poor service. The dynamic is no different in this setting. Instead of the servers bringing the food to your table, they are bringing it to the buffet line all day. Do understand it is their expectation, holiday or not, that you tip between 15 and 20%. Regardless of what you decide to do, don't talk yourself into the fact that you're leaving a "good tip" at 10%.

Nov 25, 2009
hotfoodhot in Not About Food

Sunday Brunch in Monmouth County NJ

Wow, not only that, you were ripped off! The brunch at the PierHouse is $29.95, not $50. I'd say you are due a serious refund! I've eaten brunch there and had better luck than you. Avenue's brunch is limited, just a few items a la carte.

Aug 05, 2009
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

LUNCH OVERLOOKING THE OCEAN LONG BRANCH,N.J.

Tapas, I don't think you were paying attention. The first three words in thinfoodie's post are, "not too pricey". What is Avenue, if not "too pricey"? On a side note, if one is going to dine overlooking the ocean, one should expect to pay a premium for that view. Just sort of the way it works.

Aug 04, 2009
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Umberto Restaurant in Fair Haven

Cling,

Restaurant is being a bit too kind. Its really a pizza joint and local youth hangout. Its a nice enough place and decent pizza. I can't remember having a meal there, though. I wouldn't expect to find anythin online, very much an old-school ma and pa operation.

Jan 22, 2009
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Monmouth County Restaurant Inspections

RGR,

This is just the county. Most towns, including the ones you mentioned, have their own municipal inspector. The others defer to the county.

Jan 14, 2009
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Wedding at Avenue Le Club, Long Branch [moved from Tristate board]

Perhaps I misunderstood the initial posting. Avenue has a very popular club every weekend night. I am unaware of any nights where they have closed the upstairs for a wedding, certainly not once every weekend! Are you saying that they have these events in the public spaces, with other non-wedding guests also using the space? To me, that doesn't sound like a wedding. Also, how many people could they hold?
Vibiaron, are you saying that the Avenue is going to close its doors, upstairs and down, to the public for this event? It is hard to imagine, and I know that hasn't happened yet!

Jul 23, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Wedding at Avenue Le Club, Long Branch [moved from Tristate board]

The place is absolutely beautiful and not a penny was spared in the construction of this oceanfront gem. Lunch is very good and it is a very cool and crowded spot for dinner and drinks. Until now, they have not dabbled in the wedding business, and I would be very nervous to be among the first to book. I've seen what looks like a sweet 16 and a christening-type event there, but never a wedding. The space upstairs is very chic, but is clearly not laid out for a wedding. Every bride prays for good weather on the day of their big event, but in this case what do you do if the prayers on not answered? The layout is so funky that the outside would most certainly come into play in getting everyone seated, or as a cocktail hour venue.
I would be confident that the food would be quality fare, especially against some of the banquet halls in the area (Branches, Shadowbrook, Ocean Place). That space, though...
Well, good luck!

Jul 22, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Ocean Avenue Grill - Sea Bright, NJ

Serving "one-time tourists" in a town like Sea Bright is a death sentence. In order to have staying power a restaurant in this town must appeal to the locals as well as the tourists. So many restaurants have come and gone in Sea Bright, with very few making it successfully over the long haul of the last 20 years.

Jul 05, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Casual, waterfront dining between Long Branch and Belmar?

Amen!!!

Jul 05, 2008
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Restaurant Nicholas Disappoints and Under-Delivers

*I don't want to go into the way that I know the Server, just as I have not specified the day, so that I don't identify the server and get the server in trouble.
*I was disappointed because I have heard so many raves that I truly thought the food would be inspired. It was not.
*I thank you for not doubting my account. It was, at times, painful to get through. I truly expected more. I would think that Nicholas takes seriously its role as a "special occasion" restaurant and I think that the owners would be very discouraged at what took place. To my mind, they clearly were not there that evening, and some staff took advantage of that.
*Please don't apologize for being unable to respond to my criticisms or disappointments. I'm sure I'm not the first guy who dined at Nicholas and left disappointed, and I'm sure I won't be the last. The vast majority of people who leave Nicholas do so happily and with smiles, and their longevity and success bears that out. I had a bad experience, and life goes on. You shouldn't burden yourself with feeling the need to be an apologist for Nicholas.
*If my surprise at the sparse dining room came across as disappointment, it was not. I simply had the opinion that it was a busier restaurant - hell, I was thrilled to have the place to myself!
Thanks.

Jun 27, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Restaurant Nicholas Disappoints and Under-Delivers

You can't imagine (or maybe you can) my excitement at the prospect of dinner at Nicholas this past week on my birthday. Being from the area, I have followed, from afar, the quick ascension of this restaurant into the ranks of the elite. For the last year I have read about the coveted "Nicholas Experience" and finally, it was my time. I am a Nicholas virgin no more.
I called twice to make sure of the dress code. I respect this restaurant very much, and I wanted to wear the appropriate attire - whatever it is they require. I was told at 5pm that night that the suggested dress code for gentlemen is jacket and tie. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and surveyed the sparsely filled dining room (at 7:45) and only one of the 6 gentleman had a jacket and tie on. The others ranged from polo shirt, to designer tee, to oxford. I should have been tipped off by the casually-attired valet in his monogrammed polo shirt, khaki pants and white sneakers. This was disappointing.
We were greeted by a very nice, young hostess. We started in the bar. We seated ourselves at a small table in the bar and were greeted immediately by a server (bartender?). We ordered a round of drinks and then the server recognized me. The server then let fly a diatribe of issues with the restaurant, its management and specifically the dining room (expletives included). Turns out, though, this person is happier in the bar. Not the start I was looking for in my Nicholas dining experience. When our table was ready and the hostess came and got us I began to struggle to pay the check (out of habit). The server let me know the check would be transferred. I think thats a nice touch, most places will fight to have you pay in the bar so they get their tip. I left a tip and followed into the dining room.
As I mentioned earlier, the dining room was mostly empty, it was now 8:15. There was a table of 6 in the middle of the room, a table of two straight ahead, a table of three right next to us(paying) and another table of 2 on the right side of the room. There was a business meeting in the semi-private room to the right with a slide projector (which struck me as odd in this fine-dining setting.
The server (Wendy) was nothing short of perfect. The right mix of pleasant and professional and helpful all the way. We ordered a bottle of wine and I was really pleased with how she kept up with the wine service all night. I think far too many restaurants allow the wine to go empty in the glass, and servers seem wishy-washy about pouring it. Wendy did this perfectly. She walked us through the menu and its options and my wife and I (had already) decided on the tasting menu. We ordered one of each course, as we wanted to be adventurous. The Highlights (and lowlights):

The Beet salad was the wrong way to start my culinary adventure. This dish was in desparate need of some kind of flavor hijacking. The menu promised goat cheese with it, but this was not delivered. It was, truly, cubed beets and not a hint of anything else.
Seared Sea Scallops were very good, but the presentation was uninteresting, at best.
The gnocchi was average.
The Halibut was very good.
As each course came and went I was left feeling that the kitchen was having so much fun with the different plates and the designs thereon, they forgot about making the food great.
I must admit, I was really disappointed until the mains
The suckling pig was excellent. It had, I believe, a nice smokey flavor. The best of the night to that point.
. The sliced duck breast was very good. Cooked to a perfect medium rare and tender and succulent.
The Cheese tasting was not to my liking. The cheeses seemed to require a more refined palate - an acquired taste. I like smoother, less bitter cheese and something sweet like honey to go with it. There was no such relief in the figs provided.
The dessert was great. Each of the four offerings were delicous, although I couldn't summon too much of an appetite to finish it. In addition, an extra dessert was sent out and a very nice "Happy Birthday" along with it, as well as a candle and (thankfully) no singing.
As I dined I was taken aback by the lack of professionalism exhibited by a couple of the waitstaff. I was sitting with my back to the service hallway and twice overheard staff cursing from behind me. Another time a server, Chris, was yucking it up with that table of 6, regulars I guess by their casual attire and his demeanor with them was very unimpressive and brought down the by several notches the seriousness of the dining room. I expected more.
Also, I don't like overlooking a sidestreet, a few houses and route 35. Give me a view, something! I know they can't help this, but as my wife kept saying to me, we always go to scenic restaurants for special occasions. Judging by the room that night, and the weather was beautiful, most people are like us! I don't know what kind of business Nicholas does during the week, but to say I was unimpressed with the turnout is an understatement.
The bill came to $325 including tip. Wendy did her part in giving that experience a sense of value, but it ended there. I'm glad I went, I won't rush back. I got the sense that it was a place to be, that its reputation was carrying the day. We'll see.
I went in ready to be wowed. I left underwhelmed. Perhaps my expectations were just too high after reading this board. Or, maybe, its just not my cup of tea. The food can be argued to taste, the inconsistencies and unprofessionalism in the front of the house is unnacceptable

Jun 27, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

:) Crab Cakes Anyone?

There, now..... that didn't hurt, did it?

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

:) Crab Cakes Anyone?

Thanks a lot, chef. I think I can demonstrate my own lack of knowledge without your help. Nice to have seen you at Avenue. Next time, I'll keep my idiosyncrasies to myself. Why didn't you post about your lunch?

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

:) Crab Cakes Anyone?

Copper Canyon has an excellent crab cake. All very large jumbo lump (or better?) crab meat. Very large, and charged as a loss leader.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

New Restaurant in Sea Bright - Formerly the Cove

The sign in front of the old Cove restaurant, which has read "Ocean Avenue Grill" has lost it's "Now Hiring" sign, and replaced it with "Now Open". No website that I could find. Who will be the first to venture in? The Cove left it in need of a lot of work, both physically and in the food department.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Copper Canyon - never again!

Good to hear! I can't imagine going to Copper Canyon and having anything other than the steak. If I can convince my wife to order it this time, perhaps I can venture out a bit. When Rose was there, I was afforded a little "special treatment" from the kitchen. This'll be my first visit back since she moved on.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

new "beacon" location - highlands

Did this place ever open up? Has anyone been here? The spot is nice, but the former tenant left it in disarray.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Copper Canyon - never again!

Has anyone been in recently? I have a gift certificate and was considering a visit tomorrow night. I wonder if its the same old...

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

Cuban in Highlands

I drove by the other day. The outside, which is beautiful and cleverly hides the dumpster area, is packed and the inside is nearly empty. Highlands is a tough spot to be successful in, as the many restaurants that have come and gone have proven. The Inlet cafe is among the only long running success stories. With, of course, Bahrs leading the way.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

best bakery for a wedding cake

Jolie at Piece O' Cake, 732 -741-3802 717 Broad St in Shrewsbury. She does amazing, award-winning work.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Restaurant Nicholas

Well, I'm finally breaking the seal. (No offense, Seal) I'm venturing to Nicholas Tuesday for my birthday dinner. Please, some suggestions? I'm a bit confused as to the menu opportunities available to me, and what I should choose to do. Any help from the resident experts would be appreciated.
Review to follow.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey

New Restaurants in Atlantic Highlands

Has anyone been to either of these yet? I imagine they are open, but I haven't heard anything. I'm taking the boat to a baseball game and I don't know whether to incorporate this into our plans or not. Thanks

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Looking for a good lunch in Princeton

What about Triumph Brewery? Also, I have not yet tried the Salt Creek Grille in Princeton, but I've heard mostly very good reviews - especially for the lunch

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in Mid-Atlantic

Wing Daddy Manalapan

I'm surprised they don't open up on Monday's, at least for the summer season. We'll see.

Jun 19, 2008
hotfoodhot in New Jersey