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American Hotel -- Freehold

One more comment ... I see the poster above me went on the same night but had a completely different take on the place. I'm wondering if we were there at different times, because it was definitely packed and very lively when we were there. I didn't see one kid at the bar. Majority was people in their 30's - 50's, with some younger and some older. I felt a good energy in the place. This was at about 8:30 - 9:45 PM.

Jan 17, 2010
marls in New Jersey

American Hotel -- Freehold

Went to American Hotel last night, (Saturday) for drinks. Packed! They restoration is A+ in my opinion. There are two bars -- one beside the main dining room and one in the hotel lobby. We hopped from one to the other. The lobby bar only seats about 18. It has a comfy contemporary feel. Brighter, and well lit compared to the main bar. THe main bar is about 3X bigger than the lobby bar. It is very warm and inviting, as is the dining area. A serious nod to the history behind the building with lots of woods and tiffany styled pendant lighting. Classy but not stuffy or pretentious. Vibrant atmosphere. We loved it. Looks like a great meeting place for friends or a nice spot for a date. They have a tappas menu at the bar that was quite good and well priced. We checked out the dining menu: mostly fish and steak entrees. Some interesting choices. I don't think I saw one pasta dish on the menu which is actually a refreshing change! (TOO many boring Italian places in western monmouth!) Best cosmo I've had in a LONG time! We will be having dinner there soon and will report back with our thoughts on the food. One problem: it's probably too small. This area desperately needs more places like this. It was a pleasure hanging out in a place with some atmosphere and good vibes for once!

Jan 17, 2010
marls in New Jersey

Angelo's Cafe and Bistro Freehold NJ

Went to Angelo's for a mini-family celebration of my daughter's 16th birthday on a Tuesday night. It's on Main Street in Freehold, on the courthouse side of the street, about a block from the "main" Freehold restaurants. What a welcome addition to Freehold! The brick oven margarita pizza was very good --- thin, crispy crust with a flavorful (yet not overpowering) sauce and just the right amount of mozzarella and basil. I won't say it's the best I've ever had, but it was very good. We had a party of 8 --- including one native Italian. I had the homemade gnocchi with light pink sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella & basil and thought it was surprisingly good. The native Italian thought it was a bit too al dente, but I felt it was just right. I am not a fan of mushy gnocchi. The salad was good, penne with vodka sauce good, penne with chicken good (not sure what sauce, but the feedback was positive). This is a smallish restaurant with a fairly open & comfortable atmosphere. The service was a bit slow, but we didn't mind. It reminds me of the dinners I've had with family in Italy -- relaxed and slow. A bottle of good red to sip while your dinner is being prepared is a must.
(It's a BYO). The real treat is the owner, Angelo, who sings Italian songs now and then throughout the night. He has a mic and a soundtrack behind him and I must say, the guy can sing! His little grandson (8 yrs. old) joined him at one point and sang Volare. Adorable ... and on pitch! The guests all enjoyed the entertainment -- applause, smiles all around. This is not a fancy restaurant and it's not a pizzeria. The "bistro" isn't entirely an accurate reflection, but it's close. Overall, I highly recommend it. Good vibes, nice atmosphere. And you do NOT have to be Italian to enjoy the singing.

Oct 18, 2009
marls in New Jersey

Semi-comprehensive Montauk dining guide (long)

Just returned from a weekend in Montauk with family to visit my husband's father who lives there year-round. Our group of 16 ate at ENE. The service was A++. The staff was knowledgeable, pleasant, and quite competent. We compared notes after dinner and by all accounts, the choices were plenty and the food was very good. Lamb, halibut, and swordfish were the most popular dishes with our crew. The atmosphere and decor is contemporary , yet very warm and comfortable. Expansive space with huge windows overlooking the water. WE were there at sunset and it couldn't have been more beautiful. Highly recommended. (And the bartender makes a good straight-up margarita!).

Sep 27, 2009
marls in General Tristate Archive

Atmosphere at Eurasian Eatery in Red Bank NJ

We are considering going to the Eurasian Eatery in Red Bank tonight with another couple. Just wondering what the atmosphere is like .... we don't want anything too laid back, overly casual or a family type place. This is a night out away from the kids ... !

Aug 15, 2009
marls in Mid-Atlantic

Need Advice!

I'm really open ... I don't want to limit my options by imposing cuisine restrictions or preferences, other than what I've already stated --- (no Italian, no steakhouses). I guess we should probably stay away from restaurants that are heavily French, since my cousins frequently vacation in France. Otherwise, I'm all ears!

Dec 08, 2008
marls in Manhattan

Need Advice!

My husband and I are taking out my Italian cousin and her husband for dinner this week. No steakhouses (doing Luger's next week) or Italian restaurants. I'd like to find a place with entrees priced between $20 and $40 if possible. These people eat well but have no pretense. A nice atmosphere conducive to talking is all we need. And of course, good food and good value.

Anywhere in Manhattan is fine.

Am I searching for the impossible?

Dec 07, 2008
marls in Manhattan

How's Michael Jordan's?

thanks for the responses. I think I feel comfortable with this choice!

Nov 11, 2008
marls in Manhattan

How's Michael Jordan's?

I've got a cousin and Aunt from Rome who will be in NYC in December. A group of us will be meeting them for lunch (or possibly dinner) on a Saturday in the midtown-ish area. We want a good restaurant in an interesting location and have sort of settled on Michael Jordan's. I know it's not a top NYC culinary spot, but it seems to get fairly solid recommendations and the dramatic location is an extra benefit. Comments would be appreciated!

Nov 09, 2008
marls in Manhattan

Lunch & Shopping in Montclair NJ

I am meeting a friend for lunch in Montclair. Neither of have ever been there but we hear it's a great town. Any suggestions for lunch? Looking for reasonably priced places where we could also get a glass of wine. A place that makes great and interesting salads would be perfect. Would love info on the layout of the town as well, i.e., is their a very walkable downtown area where we could get lunch and do some shopping without having to drive? Also, what kind of stores are in town? chic, artsy, ???

Thanks, guys!

Feb 13, 2008
marls in General Tristate Archive

good bread bakery in central NJ (monmouth cty)

I assume you are aware of Wegman's bakery. They obviously don't fit the bill for an non-chain, but their bread is very good. The Marco Polo bread is a round bread with rice flour on top that adds an interesting little crunch. Very good bread that is a perfect density (not overly dense, nor overly light/airy.)

Mendokers bakery in Jamesburg (about 40 minutes west of Red Bank) is a german bakery that has fabulous rye and other breads. Mendokers is very well known in the area as being a premier bakery --- great desserts, great breads. Not sure though if you'll find french bread there. Maybe. Good luck.

Jan 29, 2008
marls in Mid-Atlantic

Giusseppe's Old Depot in Colorado Springs??

We are traveling to Colorado Springs in May for my son's graduation from the Air Force Academy. We'll be taking a group of 10 out to dinner and Giusseppe's was recommended to me. I am also checking out The Blue Star and the Cliff House. I'd like to keep it to about $30 per person, not including wine. Giusseppe's prices are the best and it looks like a nice restaurant. Quality is important, though! I don't expect "great" but I want at least "good". Thanks, folks!

Dec 31, 2007
marls in Southwest

Red Bank Restaurant - La Pasteria

Sad, but this is a pervasive problem in central New Jersey. A reservation doesn't have the same meaning here as it does on the rest of the planet. I pretty much avoid dinner out on Saturday nights for that very reason. Unless, of course, the place has a nice bar --- then I don't mind the wait so much! I had a couple of good meals at La Pasteria. I hope you at least enjoyed your meal after the long (and rude) wait.

Dec 05, 2007
marls in Mid-Atlantic

Caterer suggestions in Monmouth County?

Oops .. I should mention that Spargo's Grille is located on Route 33 in Manalapan.

Nov 19, 2007
marls in New Jersey

Caterer suggestions in Monmouth County?

I've organized a number of catered events where I work -- I have used many caterers -- Jacques, Surf Taco (fun but casual), Business Bistro (great for lunches), Wegmans, DiBaris and more. The best one we ever used was Spargo's Grille. Spargo's is a great restaurant -- and they do an equally good job as caterers. They will send cooks and staff --- whatever you'd like. They're not cheap, but they won't kill you either. They are big on presentation and professionalism and their food is excellent. For a wedding, I think they'd be great. I know others who have used them and were 100% satisfied. Good luck.

Nov 19, 2007
marls in New Jersey

Cafe Europa in Monroe?

Ate there once with some friends. Have visited the bar one additional time. I agree with those who said the food was good, but not great. It was a bit overpriced. I don't remember what we ordered -- no one was completely wowed by their entrees. I wasn't thrilled with the choice of appetizers. Atmosphere is nice ... staff is friendly. Overall a decent experience, but I wouldn't rush back.

Nov 19, 2007
marls in Mid-Atlantic