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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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CHINA MOON SHINES

051616chinamoon3From the lunch special menu: beef with black bean sauce. The artwork, below, is by the delivery guy. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

051616chinamoon5If it’s not already on your radar, you might never notice China Moon, squished into a corner of a Red Bank strip mall between the Windmill hot dog stand and Crate’s Beverages.

But PieHole is putting the North Bridge Avenue eatery front and center, because when it comes to lunch, China Moon offers an affordable, extensive menu — and the food is delicious.
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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 YOU WANT IS OFF THE MENU

112014 temple2Pineapple cashew fried rice: available, but not on the menu, at Temple Gourmet. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumWhile waiting for friends at Temple Gourmet Chinese in Red Bank recently, PieHole perused the menu and listened to our waitress describe the specials. But what, we wondered, had those people ordered?

A nearby table held a gleaming platter of golden fried rice lavished with sweet pineapple, golden raisins and cashew nuts.

It turns out to be a dish the kitchen will whip up for anyone who orders it. The secret?  You just have to know it exists.

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LITTLE SILVER SZECHUAN’S SECRET: COMFORT

101514 little szechMoo Shu Pork, fried rice and condiments crowd a table at Little Szechuan Restaurant. Below, a view of the comfortable booths.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

101514 litte szechBefore so many take-out joints started popping up all around the greater Green, there was Little Szechuan Restaurant on the corner of Prospect Avenue and Church Street in Little Silver.

It was the only place to find sit-down Chinese food back in the day, and that day goes all the way back to 1981. Today, there’s still a good chance that you will run into neighbors you haven’t seen in a while when you visit for lunch or dinner. It is part of the charm and civility of this neighborhood eatery.

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