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RED BANK: NO DOLDRUMS FOR TASTEBUDS

Abby Nooney prepares cones with chocolate and sprinkles at Coney Waffles & Ice Cream, which opened last week at 18 Broad Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The doldrums of summer may be upon us, but not in the realm of tastebuds.

The ever-changing food scene in downtown Red Bank continues its evolutionary bustle, as this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn shows.

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RED BANK: DISH TO SET FINAL TABLE

Dish will serve its last entrees and desserts on Sunday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThere will be a changing of the tableware in coming weeks as one restaurant leaves downtown Red Bank and another takes its place, redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has learned.

Also in this edition of Churn: a four-year-old ballet studio is growing by, um, leaps and bounds.

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SEA BRIGHT: FRESH-PLATED BY YOUNG CHEF

080714 Chuck lesbirelChef Chuck Lesbirel in the dining room of Ama. Below: a seasonal salad of Jersey peaches, Jersey tomatoes and lobster.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

080714 ama lobster2How does a 26-year-old become an executive chef?

For Chuck Lesbirel, now presiding over the kitchen of Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright, it starts with an impressive résumé that goes back to a 14-year-old kid washing dishes at Palate Pleasers in Keyport.

Working in restaurant kitchens, Lesbirel watched and learned the chef business with stints at a kosher restaurant, a few small places, an educational rounding-out at the Culinary Education Center at Brookdale, and then a big jump to sous chef at David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson.

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SEA BRIGHT: AMA TAKES IT TO THE BEACH


Chef Chuck Lesbirel (left) gets some assistance from Pat Trama prepping artichokes and baby beets for Friday night’s opening of Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright. (Photo by Stacie Fanelli. Click to enlarge.)

By STACIE FANELLI

Pat Trama wasn’t surprised to see one of his regulars, pregnant and craving his signature mussels, standing at the bottom of the stairs to his new, yet-to-open restaurant with a pan, begging him to get cooking.

He’s been getting a lot of demand since Ama Ristorante Tuscana closed its doors in Atlantic Highlands three months ago to relocate to a bigger, better version at the Driftwood Cabana Club in Sea Bright.

The new location will open for dinner Friday after a summerlong wait for loyal customers.

“There’s probably 90 of those people out there saying, ‘I’m dying for the mussels. I jonesing for it’,” said Trama, Ama’s chef and co-owner.

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