The former Red Bank Pizza storefront on Bridge Avenue has been reincarnated as the to-go counter of O Bistro Francais. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
When chef Marc Fontaine opened O Bistro Francais in Red Bank a year ago, local gourmets rejoiced at the return of top-quality French cooking after a six-year absence from town.
Now, Fontaine has turned the disused former storefront pizzeria end of his Bridge Avenue restaurant into a takeout counter to supplement the linen-napkin dining room. And once again, Francophile eaters are over the moon.
Shrimp, scallops and chopped clams swimming in a creamy herb-flecked sauce are folded into a tender crepe and served with a side salad at O Bistro Francais. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
A big old barn of a building on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank is now home to the much anticipated French restaurant, O Bistro Francais.
Following the arrows along the side of the building to a door crowned by a French flag, PieHole finds a new entrance, an interior whipped up in cloud-like shades of white and dove-gray, and familiar faces. Traditional French fare from the kitchen of chef Marc Fontaine is all the enticement we need to slide into a booth and indulge. More →
Traditional French crepes are served sweet, with sugar, Nutella, jam or a creamy cheese filling. But Napoletano envisioned “an Americanized, savory version,” he tells PieHole. “I wanted to take familiar foods like turkey and cheese and create a more hearty filling on a whole-wheat crepe.” More →
Nick Napoletano gives PieHole a sneak peak of the new savory crepes menu at Whipped Bites. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)
By JIM WILLIS
Whipped Bites is busy. The dessert café and creperie on the corner of Broad and Monmouth streets in Red Bank has been in a near-constant state of transformation since this summer, when Nick Napoletano and his girlfriend Erica Lieberman took over the lease on the space from chef Marc Fontaine, who had been making crepes in the location.
When the couple first took over the space, it was a hodgepodge collection of tables and chairs, with empty refrigerator cases and a small sign in the window that read “crepes.” Despite the less-than-inviting space, the Nutella crepes were enough to keep PieHole coming back again. And again. Though frankly, we’d eat Nutella crepes while crouching over a cardboard box in a shipping container and still ask for seconds.
But over the past few months, the couple has revamped the café into a comfortable, welcoming space that invites you to take a seat and leisurely enjoy a coffee with your crepe or dessert.
Napoletano says the café is doing a brisk breakfast business, especially for Sunday brunch when it offers specials like Grand Marnier French Toast or Champagne-infused Belgian Waffles, and draws a steady after dinner crowd on Friday and Saturday nights.
Now, after sweetening up the space and honing the dessert side of the business, Napoletano is in the process of revamping the savory spectrum of the cafe’s menu. PieHole caught up with him as he was finalizing the new menu. More →
Erica Lieberman is jumping into the baked desserts fray with Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar on Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Into the ever-changing mix of Red Bank eateries comes a new entry that aims to compete on several fronts, including cupcakes and coffee.
Dubbed Whipped, A Café and Dessert Bar, the business opening at 6 Monmouth Street also incorporates some offerings of the last tenant there. Chef Marc Fontaine, who briefly offered crepes under the banner of La Patisweet, will be working a section of the space now leased to Whipped owner and first-time retailer Erica Lieberman.