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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? TOAST TOSSED SALAD

110515toastsaladA Chopped Greek salad with grilled shrimp, above, and a plate of hash and eggs, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

103115toast1Peace, Love and Pancakes: How can you go wrong with a slogan like that?

The newest foodie haven in Red Bank, Toast is slinging all three, along with hash and other comfort foods, in a glossy retro-American-meets-Scandinavian style luncheonette in the former home of the Broadway Diner on Monmouth Street.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A 10TH AVE. BURRITO

10291510thave4The burrito comes with how-to-eat directions. Below, the chips and salsa dip. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

10291510thave2From Broad Street to Bridge Avenue, burritos have become a ubiquitous menu staple in Red Bank. Interpretations of the Mexican-style tortilla-wrapped meal are becoming increasingly competitive, with hungry fans reaping the rewards.

Jumping into the scrimmage is the much-anticipated 10th Ave. Burrito Company, open since August on West Front Street. PieHole popped by for lunch this week.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? BIG MENU AT TOMMY’S

101715tommystavern3A Hickory-Bacon Burger and an order of oven-roasted wings at Tommy’s Tavern + Tap in Sea Bright. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

101715tommystavern2Trying to enter Tommy’s Tavern + Tap in Sea Bright last Saturday was a challenge.

Pushing an empty stroller out the door, a woman sporting a Gucci diaper bag on her shoulder heard a screech from her toddler. At issue: a cup of lollipops spied on the hostess desk.

Stroller, Mom, Dad and child — now clutching a fistful of pops —  finally made their way out the door, and we entered to see that the place was packed. Tables, bar stools—  all taken, but a raised booth against the far wall that could have fit a party of six was available.

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RED BANK: A WANDERING CHEF SETTLES DOWN

100615covas7Lauren Van Liew in the kitchen of her new catering business. Dishes include a classic fresh spinach salad, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100615covas5In the warehouse that formerly housed Adam Sobel’s Cinnamon Snail kitchen on River Street in Red Bank, chef Lauren Van Liew, a 32-year-old Middletown native has opened Chef Covas Catering.

Cooking in kitchens from Boston to Vegas to Boca Raton, Van Liew has been around the culinary butcher’s block more times than many of her much older contemporaries.

With her history and experience, she says “I want to bring families together at the dinner table.” She also says, “I want to conquer the central Jersey catering world.”

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A SUGGESTION IN FRENCH

101415frenchmktwfl1Perhaps lured by the aroma of baked pastries, below, customers took advantage of a crisp autumn day for lunch at the French Market this week. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON
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Open the door to the French Market on East River Road in Rumson, and the aroma of fresh baked pastry overwhelms your senses. PieHole tells you this as a favor. It’s easy to lose control and forget that you are there for a reason.

Since July, chef Laurent Chavenet has been filling the shelves of this market with his butter-enhanced flaky creations. But it’s not just pastries: a six-page takeout menu offers French specialties such as quiche, crepes and croissant sandwiches, as well as salads and a charcuterie plate.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? DANISH PANINI

092915danishcafe2Chicken Douglas, a panini-style sandwich from the Danish Café, a flag-festooned coffee shop. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092915danishcafe3On any given day at Loni and Claudi Kofod’s Danish Café on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank, you’ll find customers in deep discussion, their open laptops sharing table space with large cups of coffee.

But the wifi, full-bodied, European-style java and original pastries are only part of what brings customers to this light-filled, red-and-white-flag-festooned Galleria space. The lunch menu offers simple, healthy choices, as PieHole rediscovered on a recent business meeting-slash-What’s For Lunch outing.
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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
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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 RETURN TO YESTERDAY

092615brothers3A pizza burger from The Brother’s Restaurant, with its disco-lit dining room below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON
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We hadn’t been back to Brother’s Restaurant in years. A town institution at the corner of West Front Street and Morford Place in Red Bank, it’s a throwback that’s perhaps taken for granted because it’s always been there.

That is, until it’s not there.

Back in January, the 100-plus-year-old building had a flood from a burst pipe, and leading to extensive repair work that shut the place down for a few months. For many in the Greater Red Bank Green, that was a blow, because this bar and pizzeria is the family restaurant that was the meeting place after a big game or dance recital. It’s nostalgic. So it was time for PieHole to stop by and see what if anything had changes since we last visited.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A PIG AND FIG

092415cheesecave2The Pig and Fig sandwich from the Cheese Cave. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092415cheesecave4Four and a half years after opening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, the Cheese Cave, a boutique cheese shop, is often swamped for takeout at lunch time. Whether you call ahead or order when you get there, you may have to wait in line.

If you have the time though, you should consider eating inside. The atmosphere is woodsy and calm. Sandwiches are served on bread boards instead of plates, adding an old-world rustic touch.

But it’s the sandwich combinations — or “sanwicheeses,” as they say here — that pack ’em in.
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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? AUTHENTIC MEXICAN

091515chaparrita3Enchiladas in salsa verde at La Chaparrita, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson and John T Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON
la chaparrita 091515

Authentic Mexican food that brings serious heat, if that’s what you want, can be found at La Chaparrita, a grocery store and restaurant on Red Bank’s West Side with an affectionate slang Spanish name meaning “shorty.”

Lunch at one of the three cozy tables in the Shrewsbury Avenue gem is probably not so different from your mom’s — that is, if your mom has music blaring while she prepares hundreds of tamales just steps away.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A KISSUI FOR LUCK

091015kissui5What’s for Lunch? PieHole gets beef negimaki takeout from Kissui — and a lesson in that salt pile by the front door. Read about it here (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A KISSUI FOR GOOD LUCK

091015kissui5A beef negimaki lunch box from Kissui, filled with fresh vegetables and rice. Below, the entrance with its traditional salt pile.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091015kissui2In the vestibule of Kissui Sushi, a Japanese restaurant in the Markham Place shopping center in Little Silver, a little shelf filled with salt is the first thing that you notice.

Called morijio, meaning salt pile, the displays outside Japanese businesses are part of an old custom with various interpretations, but Kissui owner Jenny Nguyen tells us that it is “over the shoulder for good luck.”

Having eaten the sushi at Kissui many times, PieHole was looking for a little luck in the form of a hot lunch.

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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? CALZONE AT OLIVIA’S

081915olivias3Prima calzone from Olivia’s Trattoria in Little Silver, with alfresco seating, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

081915olivias1The phone is buzzing, a waitress is taking orders, and the door opens and closes more times than we can count while we wait for our lunch at Olivia’s Trattoria.

A tiny gem of a restaurant tucked into the corner of the A&P shopping center on Prospect Avenue, it’s the best kept secret in Little Silver, a customer tells us, while another eating an enormous sub asks us not to write about it.

Sorry folks, PieHole is spilling the beans. Owners Giovanni and Dawn Sommers have a good thing going here.

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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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GAETANO’S MAKES IT EASY

073015gaetanos2A sizable eggplant parmigiana sandwich on foccacia bread served in the open-kitchen dining room at Gaetano’s. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

073015gaetanos1When your day is filled with decisions and you get to that point where all you’re craving is a simple, easy, and effortless lunch, Gaetano’s on Wallace Street in Red Bank is a breath of stress-free fresh air.

Owner Tom Capello’s style of cuisine is what he calls regional Italian, offering familiar dishes and large portions. Oilcloth-covered tables, tile floors, and a kitchen open to the dining room in customary trattoria fashion keep the restaurant casual and comfortable. That homey sense of eating in someones kitchen comes to mind —if that kitchen happened to have an enormous pizza oven dominating the room.

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RED BANK: 10TH AVE. ENTERS THE RING

brian katz 080515 110th Ave. Burrito owner Brian Katz with a mural depicting luchadores in an agave field—complete with a tequila distillery. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

10th ave 07191510th Ave. Burrito Company opened in Red Bank last week, and there’s no mistaking: it’s serious business, aiming to leverage its 165 seats, a coveted liquor license and primo views of the Navesink River to success.

But with a giant mural of masked Mexican wrestlers, a cadre of tattooed and weird-bearded servers, and a barely filtered owner, the West Front Street eatery appears to be off to a running, if low-key, start on his goal of “bringing something unique” to the town.
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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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FAIR HAVEN: NOW CRAVIN’ SPROUTS

071615seedtosprout4Vegan pastries, grab ‘n go salads, kale wraps and smoothies are a few of the items customers line up for. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071615seedtosprout5In a space formerly home to a luncheonette inspired by the “grease trucks” of the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick, customers looking like models in a Lululemon fashion show lined up recently for grilled avocado sandwiches, seed salads and millet-and-flax toast with coconut butter.

Yes, there’s been a complete 180 at the former Cravin Haven in Fair Haven, a beef-heavy luncheonette that closed in January after just a year of operation. The space, in the River Road shopping center anchored by an Acme supermarket, is now a strictly vegan restaurant and juice bar called Seed to Sprout.

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CHURN: 10TH AVE. NEARS OPENING DATE

10th ave 071415 1Signage is now up at 10th Ave. Burrito on West Front Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallWith the restaurantization of Red Bank in full swing, this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn serves up a groaning board of food news.

• The long wait for 10th Ave. Burrito Company is nearly over.

Sicilia Ristorante on Broad Street has a new owner, and he’s planning to split the business in two, sort of.

Details, and some assorted table scraps, are just around the corner.
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RED BANK: A FEW HAPPY HOURS

062915birravino2Happy hour choices at Birravino included organic house wine, beer and an appetizer, while at Robinson’s Ale House, below, a martini starred.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

063015robinsonsThough it’s ubiquitous in Red Bank, happy hour – that late-afternoon, discounted bar-tab menu option – should not be taken for granted. Many states, according to the National Center for State Courts, prohibit or limit what has become a traditional time of day to meet with friends and acquaintances in New Jersey.

Although most bars and restaurants offer special deals to lure customers, you might be surprised at how differently those two or three hours are interpreted. PieHole breaks down what can be considered an early bird special for the economically minded while others might call it a snack before dinner.

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