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RED BANK: GLAZED AND AMUSED AT LUIGI’S

Teamwork at Luigi’s Ice Cream: one person holds an open table (left) while another waits on line to order. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

In Red Bank on a late-spring Saturday night, musicians, locals and tourists fill the sidewalks, and PieHole is right there with them. First we catch a whiff of pizza, fresh out of the oven, and then of something sweet. The scene is festive, and we’re hungry.

Stopping to listen to buskers performing Irish songs, we meet a group of teenage girls holding plates of donuts covered with sprinkles. In unison, they tell us that these are no ordinary donuts, and that the place to be right now is around the corner on Broad Street. So we head over to Luigi’s Ice Creamwhere we find a throng of gourmet-minded folks of all ages seeking out their next sugar high.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? HEALTHY DELECTABLES

Turkey meatballs in pomodoro sauce, shaved brussel sprout salad and sweet potato and asparagus quiche from the Healthy Palate.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Let’s just say that several seasons of culinary indulgence have PieHole seeking healthier lunch alternatives. Fortunately, there are oodles of options on the Greater Red Bank Green to choose from.

This week, we made our way to the Healthy Palate in Little Silver, where everything is organic, dairy- and gluten-free. Owner, chef and “certified eating psychology coach” Jennifer Asfar filled us in on the details of eating clean. Read More »

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ‘ALL IN’ IN SEA BRIGHT

Shrimp, arugula and capellini pasta at the newly opened GiGi’s New York Style Pizza and Restaurant. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Admiring the new street lights installed as part of a streetscape makeover on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright earlier this week, PieHole spied the equally new GiGi’s New York Style Pizza and Restaurant.

Located next door to Melonhead in a space that most recently housed the Black Swine restaurant, which moved to a larger spot a block away, Gigi’s turns out to be owned by familiar faces: chef Kenny Gambella and his wife, Kelly, who also own Sonny’s Sandwich Shop just down the street.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TUSCAN OPULENCE

Tortelloni and house-made sausage from Buona Sera’s lunch menu. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

On a warmer-than-expected spring day, the flung-open doors of Buona Sera Italian Ristorante in Red Bank offer a welcoming sight.

At night the restaurant, at the corner of Maple Avenue and Monmouth Street, can be crowded with party-goers and dates trying to impress, but lunchtime is a different, quieter scene.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TINY SPACE, HUGE FLAVOR

Meatballs in a perfect Sunday-style sauce with grilled pesto shrimp. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

Found at the end of a short strip mall on White Road in Shrewsbury, the onetime My Sister’s Kitchen space is now home to a venture called Two Cousins Catering under new owners who are, indeed, cousins.

Stopping in on a weekend afternoon, PieHole finds Sue DellaGatta and Rob Klingebiel — whose mothers are sisters — working in a pint-sized kitchen. But the dishes they’re preparing are titanic in flavor.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? LINGERING AT ANJELICA’S

011017anjelicas4Baked eggplant parmigiano served with casarecce arrabbiata at Anjelica’s Restaurant. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Whatever the season, reservations may be needed to secure a dinner table at the family-owned Anjelica’s Restaurant on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright.

But in the off-season, the Ocean Avenue restaurant serves lunch, too, and on a recent visit, PieHole found it a delightfully relaxing spot to saunter into and while away part of an afternoon.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BEST OF 2016

091316redrock3Duck confit tater tots from Red Rock Tap + Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Soul-satisfying soups, beefy burgers, crusty pizzas…

From a year’s worth of lunches good, bad and inedible, PieHole‘s What’s For Lunch? feature picks the Top 10 of 2016.

Click to restaurant names to see complete individual reviews.
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CRAVINGS: CELEBRATORY PROFITEROLES

110116o-bistro-profiterole-2An iconic French dessert, a profiterole at O Bistro is what we crave. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

piehole_cravingsRinging in 2017 in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower sounds romantic, if not so practical.

But Francophiles on the Greater  Green can hoist a glass of (BYOB) Champagne at O Bistro Francaise in Red Bank while dipping a spoon into the best chocolate sauce in New Jersey.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? EUROPA GRILL TAPAS

111916europa3A hot sampler for two from the appetizer/tapas menu at Europa Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?New to the Shrewsbury Village strip mall in Shrewsbury, Europa Grill fills in the storefront left empty by Rosina’s Ristorante. Like its predecessor, it serves Italian food, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Mediterranean-themed frescoes, including an attention-grabbing celestially painted ceiling, brighten the decor. Tables set with linens, comfortable seating, and friendly, helpful service add up to a more formal but lively atmosphere.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SLOW-PACED GRAZE

110816graze3Vegetarian choices on the lunch menu at Graze include bourbon-glazed carrot soup and a mac-and-cheese casserole.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?This past summer, Laercio “Chef Junior” Chamon finally fulfilled his goal of turning Zoe Bistro, which he acquired a year earlier, into Graze.

Now once again open for lunch, the Little Silver restaurant is luxuriously relaxed in pace, aesthetic and culinary concept, even as kitchen staffers thrive on challenging themselves to come up with dishes with a surprising twist.

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RUMSON: SIGN OF CHANGE

russell-bettes-110416
wyb-021269As part of the rebranding of Rumson’s What’s Your Beef restaurant, new owner Marilyn Schlossbach had the sign removed last week, and in the process uncovered evidence of a past identity of the place: Nolan’s. 

A quick search of the Red Bank Register archive indicates the business operated as Jack Nolan’s, a “gay ’90s night club,” in the early 1960s, but wound up in receivership. 

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? DREAMY O BISTRO CREPE

110116o-bistro4Shrimp, 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

WFL what's for lunch?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.
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RUMSON: “IT’S NO LONGER WHAT’S YOUR BEEF”

what's your beef 020416After a remodeling, What’s Your Beef will reopen Monday with a new name: Russell & Bette’s. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Seven months after restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach and partners acquired What’s Your Beef in Rumson, alarming some stalwart customers, the remodeled restaurant will reopen Monday with a new name: Russell & Bette’s.

It will also boast another change that’s likely to get some snouts out of joint: the salad bar where customers used to line up and load up while awaiting their self-selected steaks has been eliminated, Schlossbach told redbankgreen Wednesday.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? LOBSTER CORN DOGS

101516b2bistro5A Lobster Corn Dog, served on a stick at B2 Bistro and Bar. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?PieHole doesn’t always plan in advance, so on more than one occasion, our desire for a bite and a drink at B2 Bistro and Bar on Shrewsbury Avenue didn’t work out.

The question of whether we had a reservation surprised us on one evening. We told the hostess that we were there for a cocktail and quick bite, but our lack of a reservation meant that even the empty high-top tables were not offered to us. Her blank stare told us we were expected to move on.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A MOSTLY-NEW HARRY’S

100116harrys5The open-face steak sandwich at Harry’s is served on slices of garlic bread. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Dowdy decor was just one of the telling factors in the demise of Harry’s Lobster House in Sea Bright, and when it closed last January, and many thought that was the end of the institution that began 83 years earlier. And it was, sort of.

In its current, soft-opening phase, the restaurant now called simply “Harry’s” has been “reinvented” under new ownership, general manager Chris Christiano tells PieHole. But there are aspects here that haven’t changed at all.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? RED ROCK STANDS OUT

091316redrock2Ahi tuna salad served in a stainless steel pan at Red Rock Tap + Grill. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Step into the new Red Rock Tap + Grill  in Red Bank and the effect is instant: this isn’t the Brannigan’s we all knew and, ahem, shared a fondness for.

The single-story Wharf Avenue bar has been replaced by a rustic-contemporary structure offering stellar views of downtown Red Bank and the Navesink River from its multiple open-air decks. But PieHole was equally blown away by the menu. Could the food possibly be as tasty as the architectural eyecandy here?

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SUSHI DELIGHTS

072616sakura3A specialty at Sakura Sushi is the Floating Island appetizer. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?In what might be the tiniest sushi bar on the Greater Red Bank Green, PieHole finds a lively, amusing, and loyal customer base.

And at Sakura Sushi, located in in the Acme shopping center on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, it’s easy to strike up conversation with fellow diners, with just four sushi bar seats and four small tables occupying the diminutive space.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CREPES WITH A TWIST

062116whippedbites5A savory French crepe served at the charming Whipped Creperie & Dessert Bar.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

WFL what's for lunch?Americanized crepes? “Why not?” thought Nick Napoletano, who owns Whipped Creperie and Dessert Bar in Red Bank with Erica Lieberman.

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.”
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? WINDWARD DELI, HO!

061416windward4A seasonal grilled chicken salad and a cup of Rhode Island clam chowder from the Windward Deli.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061416windward2It’s easy to pass by the Windward Deli, set back alongside the railroad tracks at Drs. James Parker Boulevard and Maple Avenue in Red Bank. So PieHole is doing you a favor by telling you to stop in.

Plenty of parking in front of and behind the building makes it easy to swing by for not-your-usual take out deli grub. A small courtyard with inviting picnic tables surrounded by verdant shrubbery offers an additional reason to grab lunch and eat al fresco.

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RUMSON: WHAT’S YOUR REAL BEEF?

whats your beef 061516 1marilyn schlossbach 061516Jersey Shore restaurant maven Marilyn Schlossbach, below, hosted a free-food-and-drink “coming out party” Wednesday night at Rumson’s What’s Your Beef, which she and partners acquired in March.

The event was held, in part, to counteract “negative chatter” among some commenters about the change in ownership to the 47-year-old River Road chophouse, Schlossbach told redbankgreen

“We just wanted people to see that we’re approachable and kind, as well as to highlight some of the new menu items,” Schlossbach said, as a full-house crowd sampled new menu items, such as beef bourguignon, mussels in garlic and white white wine, and pork and shrimp dumplings. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BELLYING UP AT SURF BBQ

041616surfbbqsandwichesAbove, a smoked-brisket sandwich, left, and a pulled pork sandwich. Below, smoked maraschino cherries at the bar. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

041616surfbbqcherriesPieHole had been itching to try Surf BBQ in Rumson for lunch, but the newly opened East River Road restaurant and bar hasn’t yet expanded its hours and is only serving lunch on weekends.

Last Saturday, we finally made it there, and found the place not too busy at mid-afternoon, with no wait at the counter and plenty of available seating at the bar and picnic tables. Maybe everyone was attending their kids’ T-Ball games or working on landscaping, but we think we’ve found a sweet-spot in this smokin’ hot restaurant’s schedule.
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RUMSON: WHAT’S YOUR BEEF CHANGES HOOVES

what's your beef 020416Jersey Shore restaurant maven Marilyn Schlossbach and partners have acquired What’s Your Beef in Rumson. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Restaurateur Marilyn Schlossbach is used to expectations: when she opens a new place, customers come looking for out-of-the-box creativity. Whether it’s been the casual fare of Langosta Lounge or Pop’s Garage, or the fine dining of now-gone Trinity and the Pope, foodies salivate when she introduces something new.

But with her latest endeavor, Schlossbach and her partners find themselves having to tamp down expectations. Why? Because the restaurant in question — What’s Your Beef, in Rumson — isn’t new, and its devoted, carnivorous fans aren’t looking for change.

“They have a very strong customer base here of loyal people who come every week,” Schlossbach told redbankgreen. “We don’t want to scare them away.”

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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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SUB WITH A SIDE OF JOY

012716butlers6The honey maple turkey sandwich on a roll from Butlers. Below, owner Paul Stout. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

012716butlersmkt1It doesn’t matter if your mood is not so bright when you walk through the doors of Butler’s Market in Rumson. Owner Paul Stout has a warm and friendly smile to greet you and make you feel better.

Reopened last June after two-plus years of unsatisfying retirement for its proprietor, the deli’s food is in some ways as good as it used to be, and in many ways, much better.
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