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SEA BRIGHT: JERSEY GIRL’S SHORE FOOD TOUR

deb smith 033016 3Deborah Smith, author of “The Jersey Shore Cookbook,” outside Ama in Sea Bright last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels mediumThe flavors of the Jersey shore really burst into fullness in the summer, helping to draw millions of visitors to our sun-splashed sands.

Somehow, though, it seems no one had thought to ask the most iconic beachfront restaurants for their top recipes, with the idea of sharing them in book form.

It took a Jersey Girl from Red Bank with an insatiable palate to finally tie it all together.  Read More »

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A TASTE OF NEW ENGLAND

032216navesinkfishery5A fried shrimp platter with coleslaw and crispy french fries. The corn chowder, below, was filled with bits of crab. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

032216navesinkfishery1Casting its net a bit beyond the usual limits of the Greater Red Bank Green, PieHole finds lots of fresh fish choices at the Navesink Fishery in Navesink.

With 40-plus years of fishmongering and cooking, 20 of which have been spent at this restaurant, owner Ruddy Field is serious about bringing his customers simple cuisine from briny depths and fresh water lakes. Landlubbers need not apply.

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MIDDLETOWN: A RETRO CHINESE NEW YEAR

020216houseofchong6Shrimp lo mein, left, and shrimp in garlic sauce at House of  Chong. Edward Chong, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

020216houseofchong1Chinese new year begins Monday, and diners with a yen for a little time travel along with well-made Asian cuisine might set their GPS for House of Chong in Middletown.

The restaurant, located in the Union Square Mall, has been serving Cantonese and Szechuan-style Chinese delicacies since 1976, owner Edward Chong tells us. His parents first opened House of Chong in Brick in 1969, and though that restaurant is now closed, the Middletown eatery remains a family affair — and something of throwback.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SUMPTUOUS SOUP

011615kanji1Seafood soup served in a rustic bowl at Kanji. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

011616kanji3Shades of gray and black dominate the tables, slate flooring and walls of Kanji Steakhouse and Sushi Bar, a Japanese restaurant in the Tinton Falls strip mall that was once anchored by an A&P and is now an Acme at the intersection of Shrewsbury Avenue and Route 35.

In this cave-like setting, the well-lit sushi bar takes center stage. Maybe this was a tactical design, because we went in thinking of soup but wound up ordering sushi.

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SEA BRIGHT: HARRY’S LOBSTER CLOSING

082715harrys1082715harrys6After 82 years in business, Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright is closing Sunday, when owner/chef Lou Jacoubs and longtime manager Lynne Perry-Szwede will host a goodbye party.

Jacoubs declined immediate comment, except to say that he expects to lease the Ocean Avenue space to another restaurant under a new name. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CRISPY FISH AND CHIPS

112515chowda1Fish and chips from Chowda House. Below, the always helpful Tish Mancia at the takeout counter.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

112515chowda4The Chowda House, just across Bridge Avenue from the Red Bank train station, makes some fantastic clam chowder, which also happens to be the hottest takeout item on the menu, waitress Tish Mancia tells PieHole.

But the fish and chips, we’re told, is the second-most ordered item — and according to many PieHole readers, the best fried fish in the area.

We take claims such as this seriously, and went to investigate for ourselves.

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CHIKYBOOM: COOKING WITH CUBAN ROOTS

eduardo bover 092415Though the signage still reads No Joe’s, chef Eduardo Bover is cooking authentic Cuban food in the kitchen of ChikyBoom, where the dining room features a Caribbean feel. (Photo above by John T. Ward; below by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092215chickyboom6

If you remember the song “Cuban Pete,” made famous by Desi Arnaz, you know the bongos and maracas playing to the rhumba beat: chick-chicka-boom.

The same might be said about ChikyBoom, the former No Joe’s coffee shop-and-luncheonette on Broad Street in Red Bank that’s now a Cuban-and-Spanish restaurant — when it’s not serving coffee and breakfast.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A DIP IN THE OCEAN CAFÉ

090215oceancafe4Seared tuna in a rice-paper wrap and a mixed fruit smoothie for lunch, with a picture-window view of Monmouth Street thrown in, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

090215oceancafe5It’s the first week of September, but still hot as blazes outside. So the fun, beach-themed mural seen through the floor-to-ceiling front window of the Ocean Café in Red Bank beckoned us to chill out and take a little extra time for lunch.

Overindulging during the month of August, PieHole was looking for some dietary balance, and the menu here skews to healthier fare such as salads, wrap sandwiches, soups and sandwiches on reliably good French bread. Deciding to go all-in with a lighter, cooler, less-fattening lunch, we found a myriad of options at this Monmouth Street getaway.

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SEA BRIGHT: POPPING IN AT HARRY’S

082715harrys4redbankgreen‘s PieHole food page pops in owner/chef Lou Jacoubs to find out about at changes at Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright. Among them: cooking classes starting this month. Check out the story here. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

 

SEA BRIGHT: HARRY’S LOOSENS ITS TIE

082715harrys1Harry’s Lobster House owner and chef Lou Jacoubs gives PieHole a lesson in lobster anatomy. The patio is open to the street, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

082715harrys5Is it possible for a restaurant open since 1933 to keep its jacket-and-tie reputation while loosening its style?

Lou Jacoubs, owner and chef at Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright for four decades, is asking himself that very question.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HOT DOGS IN SEA BRIGHT

rooney hot dogs 082715Hot dogs from the cart of Frances Rooney, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mrs rooney 082715It’s noontime on a gorgeous, late-summer day in beautiful downtown Sea Bright, and PieHole is hungry.

What’s for Lunch? Plenty, and more to choose from every month, it seems, on this back-from-the-brink spit of sand. You’ve got pizza, seafood, Japanese and more, at places ranging from beachware casual to near elegance, all within a one-mile stretch of Ocean Avenue.

But it’s not just food we’re craving. We’re nursing a palpable, please-don’t-ever-end yearning to make this day of blue skies and soft breezes just keep going and going. Sitting down indoors just seems… criminal.

So, hello, Mrs. Rooney.

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LITTLE SILVER: NEW OWNER TRANSFORMS ZOE

081315zoe2Laercio Chamon at the chef’s table at Zoe, where a large window offers a view of the kitchen. Below, an octopus and a watermelon salad.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

081315zoe4With new owner Laercio Chamon at the helm, the once Greek-centric menu Zoe Bistro in Little Silver has a jazzy bossa nova rhythm now.

At 33 years old, Chamon says he’s been working in kitchens for more than half his life, starting as a dishwasher at Doris and Ed’s in Highlands when he was 14.

“I always wanted to be a part of the line,” he tells PieHole. It’s like being behind the scenes of something you see in a movie. There’s something about the adrenaline, the rush.”

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SHREWSBURY: LUNCH IN A BENTO BOX

072815fuji4The Bento Box lunch special at Fuji in Shrewsbury. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

072815fuji2Our hearts skipped a beat five years ago when Trader Joe’s announced it would open a store in what was then called the Treasure Island Mall in Shrewsbury: we thought we’d never again see the inviting teak interior of Fuji.

This was before the Greater Red Bank Green caught up to the public appetite for sushi and became fairly saturated with Japanese, Asian and fusion-style restaurants. Fuji was one one of the few, and among the better. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s simply bumped the restaurant out of its spot  in the Route 35 shopping center – and into one with a lighter, more organic decor. And the restaurant is as busy as ever, owner Jenny Chen-Ng tells PieHole.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? MEETUP AT DELFINI

071715delfinis3A Buffalo shrimp salad from Delfini, above. The Big Lou sandwich shown, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071715delfinis6Keeping lunch hour social, PieHole joined Red Bank Lunch Meet at Delfini Gourmet Catering, at the corner of West Front Street and Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, on a recent outing.

What’s Lunch Meet? Created by borough resident and redbankgreen webmaster Kenny Katzgrau, it’s a loose assemblage of epicures in which any member can suggest a get-together, whether it be for lunch, happy hour or dinner. It’s all coordinated through the group’s Facebook page.

This meetup was called by another Red Banker, Tom Musumeci. No one attending had eaten at Delfini before, but everyone came away impressed by the fresh ingredients and array of choices.

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