WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? KUNG PAO, INDEED

teak kung pao 021115A dish of kung pao chicken at Teak in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Lunch at Teak in Red Bank on a recent frigid afternoon offered a double dose of satisfying warmth.

PieHole grabbed a table bathed in nearly blinding sunlight in the solarium-like front room overlooking Monmouth Street. That took the chill off the old bones, pronto.

Finishing the job from the inside out, though was a heaping dish of kung pao chicken, with flavor and substance by the megawatt.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH: A TEA ROOM WITH CHOPS

012915 raven tea room sandwichesA beef tenderloin BLT sandwich in the foreground, and the shrimp salad-filled brioche in background at the Raven Tea Room, below.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

012915 raven tea roomThe phrase “tea room” conjures images of prissy old ladies ordering pots of chamomille and delicate, crust-removed cucumber sandwiches served on fine floral patterned porcelain dishes. The Raven Tea Room in the Fair Haven Commons building is nothing like that.

Sophisticated styling in both the decor and menu have made this lunch-only restaurant – which shares a website and ownership with the Raven and the Peach but has its own space in the Fair Haven Commons – a staple in the community for years. The dark wood tables and comfortable cushioned armchairs surrounded by suede gray painted walls give the place a masculine, club-like feel. Windows looking out on River Road lend an open feeling to the room. But should you wind up with a view of the parking lot, well, just turn your chair toward the open kitchen and watch the chef working his magic.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SAL’S SANDWICH

salsoriginal Boars Head turkey on store-baked bread at Sal’s Original in Shrewsbury. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumAfter running some errands in Shrewsbury to pick up some pens at Staples and frozen mahi mahi at Trader Joe’s (makes for great fish tacos), we noticed it was close enough to lunch time to swing by Sal’s Original for a sandwich.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? GOOD KARMA LOVE BOWL

Good KarmaThe Love Bowl with coconut sauce and tempeh at Red Bank’s Good Karma Cafe. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumI have eaten the face off a pig.

Rubbed with herbs and lemon zest, rolled up tightly around the pig’s tongue and cooked sous-vide, it was a delicious combination of porky flavors and textures.

I mention this by way of disclaimer: I am not, probably, the target demographic for a vegan joint like Red Bank’s beloved Good Karma Café.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? ROAST BEEF ON A ROLL

willow deli sandwichAt under five bucks, the roast beef sandwich from Willow Deli negates the bad parking lot feng shui. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

The Willow Deli is located on Willow Drive between downtown Little Silver and the Little Silver train station, and we can’t think of any deli on the Green we’ve driven past more often without ever having stopped in for a bite.

Perhaps something about the positioning of the parking lot at the apex of the curve on Willow hinted of bad feng shui and put us off our feed every time we’ve thought about grabbing a sandwich there.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A HEFTY ITALIAN

red bank sub shop sandwichThe #5 from Red Bank Sub Shop is the classic Italian sub that other sandwiches want to be. The shop has an impressive soda selection as well, below. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

red bank sub shop sodaPieHole popped in at the Red Bank Sub Shop on Monmouth Street to grab a couple of sandwiches for takeout. We ordered up a half a #5 – your classic Jersey “Italian” sub with ham, capicola, prosciuttini and provolone ($6.95) – and a half a turkey sub ($6.95).

As in any respectable sub shop, the sandwiches are made to order. While waiting for the meat to be sliced and the sandwiches made up, we noticed a few things that set owner Canio Paradiso’s place apart from other sub shops in town. The menu, for starters, features a couple of combinations that we were glad to see.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? COMFORT FOOD W/ RIV VU

120414 potpieChicken pot pie at the International Bar in the Molly Pitcher Hotel. Below, the pot pie scooped out of its baking dish. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

120414 potpie3The days of the Mad Men-style two-martini lunch have been over for decades, but there is a staunch holdout in Red Bank where you can still enjoy this throwback indulgence if you have the luxury of time.

With wood-paneled walls, carpeted floor, and a beckoning fireplace creating a dark, masculine, club feeling, the International Bar at the Molly Pitcher Inn makes a terrific traditional martini. A sense of luxurious comfort abounds, and the bar’s menu of standard American choices adds to that feeling of well-being.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A COUPLE OF SLICES

pacinis slice

The Margarita Sicilian slice at Pacini’s Pizzeria: delicious, but a bit lightweight for a Sicilian style crust. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumPieHole was out running some mid-day errands at the corner of Broad Street and Harding Road in Red Bank – visiting the bank, the cleaners and the Post Office – you know, that tiny little sliver of downtown that caters to people who actually live here.

It was close to lunch time and we were overcome by a need to nosh, and so decided to grab a couple of slices of pizza from Pacini’s Pizzeria on Broad.

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LITTLE SILVER: SANDWICH SWAP AT GIANNI’S

111214 giannis1The Neopolitan Panini served on fresh house-baked bread at Gianni’s. Below, the spacious dining room.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

111214 giannis3Lunchtime at Gianni’s Pizzeria in Little Silver is busy. Between the hours of 11:30 and 2:30, the tables fill up with people from all walks of life. Mothers with small children stop in for a slice while truckers pull over to pick up an order of subs or a full pie.

Helping PieHole watch its waistline, Jeff Lopez, the always-smiling counterman and pizza maker, suggested the Neapolitan Panini ($8.95).

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SUSHI AT SANSU

IMG_0044The shrimp tempura roll was a standout, but the new-to-us peanut avocado roll (right) was missing a note at the sushi counter. Or is it a bar? (Photos by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

IMG_0039PieHole and frequent lunch companion Brian McCourt rolled down River Road into Fair Haven to give Sansu Japanese Steakhouse a try for lunch. At 12:45, there was plenty of parking in the adjacent lot.

Last week, we singled out Edie’s Luncheonette in Little Silver because it had a lunch counter, one of the few in the area. McCourt took umbrage at my reference to the sushi bar as a counter and insisted it’s a bar, not a counter. In any case, that’s where we sat and ordered up some green teas while perusing the menu.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SANDWICHES AT EDIE’S

edies little siverThe lunch counter at Edie’s, a delicious anachronism. Below, an equally delicious hot corned beef sandwich.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

edies (1)We’d never been to Edie’s Luncheonette on Rumson Road in Little Silver – yes, shame on us – so when PieHole popped in for lunch this week, we weren’t sure quite what to expect.

In an era of focus-group-vetted lunch menus and corporate-approved hostesses, places like Edie’s, with their throwback lunch counters and morning-to-3 p.m. operating hours, are the unicorns of the restaurant scene – and we thank our lucky stars that we’ve got two standout specimens on the Green: Edie’s and the InBetween, in Red Bank).

PieHole was joined  by frequent lunch companion Brian McCourt, as well as local food truck operator Johnny “Pork Roll” Yarusi. There are a dozen or so parking spots behind the restaurant, and at 12:30pm on a Thursday we were easily able to get a spot. Inside, we saw two-top tables and a few booths (very large parties, beware); with three of us for lunch, we opted for a booth instead of the counter.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CEBICHE AT RUNA

runa 2Lunch at Runa: cebiche two ways and chicken empanadas. Below, the fried sweet potato. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

runa 1PieHole and our frequent lunch companion rolled into Runa at about 1pm, excited to try out Red Bank’s Peruvian restaurant that opened recently after two years of gestation.

We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but had heard that fish featured prominently on the menu. So we came armed with a chilled bottle of vinho verde leftover from a recent pork belly party.

The restaurant had two other tables of lively lunch guests animatedly discussing the food that they’d just been served.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A CLUB WE DIDN’T ORDER

no joes clubPieHole was bested by the immensity of this turkey club at No Joe’s Café. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumRed Bank’s protean coffee house, No Joe’s Café, is once again trying something new.

Born in the depths of the town’s ‘Dead Bank’ phase, the Broad Street stalwart has been through a number of repositionings in recent years. It was seen most recently here on PieHole when owner Mike Tierney brought on a pastry chef after a short-lived rebranding of the place as ‘Beasty Burgers.’

Late this summer, the business underwent yet another transformation, and now the kitchen, helmed by chef Keith Genovese, is focused on churning out lunchtime staples with a new menu that features salads and sandwiches.

This one deserves to work.

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WHATS FOR LUNCH: FISH ‘N CHIPS BY THE SEA

091014 sbfishco1The fried cod platter at the Sea Bright Fish Company. Below, Kim Cognata, one of the owners. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091014 sbfishco3“Our mission is to be hyperlocal,” Kim Cognata says of the two-month-old Sea Bright Fish Company. Working together with her father, Paul Diomede, and her brothers Paul and Justin, this restaurant, with a view of the Atlantic Ocean is a family affair.

An eat-in or take-out menu offers the expected fish sandwiches, platters and chowders, as well as some unexpected, upscale items.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? JAMIAN’S HAS IT

jamians chick blt 081414morsels mediumPieHole spiced up a recent lunch outing with this sandwich from the specials menu at Jamian’s Food & Drink on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

It’s a chicken BLT on ciabatta roll with lettuce, tomato and a zesty sriracha mayo. Served with a side of fries and your favorite beverage in the open-air bar, this $7 meal serves as the centerpiece for a nice midday getaway.  

Wondering where to have lunch today? Check out PieHole’s What’s for Lunch archive for some ideas. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A ‘SECRET’ SALAD

073114 fairwinds saladThe dried cranberries made this salad from Fairwinds Deli in Fair Haven pop. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumLooking for a healthy, tasty lunch, PieHole’s wandering correspondent asked Warren Abrahamsen, owner of Fairwinds Deli in Fair Haven, what was fresh and delicious on the menu.

He suggested a spinach salad tossed with almonds, dried cranberries, fresh mozzarella, grilled chicken breast and red peppers.

But here’s the tricky part: it’s not actually on the menu. “You gotta know somebody to get that,” Abrahamsen said.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH: PIZZA WITH INTEGRITY

072214 rbnewcornerwfl Red Bank’s New Corner Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, personal size pizza. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

morsels mediumThough I’ve lived in New Jersey longer than anywhere else, my New York roots still dictate when it comes to pizza.

There’s an expectation of a not-too-sweet marinara and ample cheese, with enough toppings to be able to taste them – but not too voluminous. Undergirding it all should be a shell that’s as well-baked at the center as at the outer edges, so that it can be folded and held without the ingredients gooping off the sides.

That last requirement – structural integrity – seems to be one that too many pizzerias don’t take the time to get right. But the specials menu at New Corner Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria on East Front Street in Red Bank earlier this week offered a personal pan pizza that delivered on all counts.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? WINDMILL DOGS

windmill dog 070314The dog and truly artful fries at the Windmill. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumMid-July in Jersey. Is there another time-and-place combo that shouts “hot dog” more loudly?

A sweat-soaked, wiener-wanting PieHole took it over to the Windmill on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank for lunch recently, and the place was jumping.

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ON PIEHOLE…

mustard 061214And when the Düsseldorf-style mustard’s gone? Well, a little beer might be nice. (Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories . . .

• Looking for something different and light? Vietnamese summer rolls at Pho Le in Red Bank may hit the spot.

• Mustard in a mini beer stein? Jawohl!

• “Everything tastes better fried,” says the owner of Jamian’s in Red Bank. He’s serving a deep-fried cheesecake. Not kidding.

What’s for Lunch? A zesty tuna panini says “summer” at Undici.

Follow the links to the stories, and check out PieHole’s Facebook page or follow its Twitter feed @RedBankPieHole for up-to-the-minute postings.

 

 

ICYMI IT ON PIEHOLE…

A 2013 view from the kitchen at Locals Creative Fresh Takeout in Rumson. (Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoredbankgreen’s PieHole is all about local food and drink. If you haven’t liked us on Facebook yet or followed us on Twitter, you may have missed some of these recent stories . . .

• A tryptophan trip, perhaps? PieHole‘s turkey sandwich from Locals in Rumson triggered a flashback to middle school.

• Peruvian eatery Runa will open in Red Bank this summer, its owner writes in a blog post in which she admits she was “paralyzed by fear” over business issues.

• Our latest visit to the Fair Haven Community Garden finds it looking a bit like an airport runway.

Follow the links to the stories, and check out PieHole’s Facebook page or follow its Twitter feed @RedBankPieHole for up-to-the-minute postings.

 

 

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? LOCAL, ON REAL BREAD

imageThe Lenni Lenape sandwich, from Rumson’s Locals Creative Fresh Takeout. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumThis was the last week of school for many kids on the Green, and if they were fortunate, they took part in a Jersey student’s right of passage: packing a lunch, heading to a park and building a wigwam while learning about the Garden State’s original localsthe Lenni Lenape.

With that memory in the frontal lobe, PieHole this week ordered the Lenni Lenape sandwich at the Rumson deli Locals Creative Fresh Takeout.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? STRIP MALL SUBS

ajs_deli2The fried eggplant sandwich at AJ’s Deli in Shrewsbury. We’ll be back for another one of these. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large minivan, with a hungry wife and a hungry kid. And you may be passing the McDonald’s on Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls, and you may say to yourself, “Well, what can I eat here?”

That’s the way-more-than-once in a lifetime situation PieHole found itself in yesterday. But rather than opt for the drive-through McProcessed food, we decided to explore the Shrewsbury Village shopping center, on the Shrewsbury side of the street. And there, in a strip mall we’ve driven past hundreds of times but never thought to enter, we stumbled across AJ’s Deli.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH: MUNCHING AT MUMFORD’S

mumfordsChicken bruschetta sandwich served on a croissant at Mumford’s Culinary Center.  (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumTucked away down a side street off of Shrewsbury Avenue in Tinton Falls, Mumford’s Culinary Center is not a lunch destination that you would be likely to accidentally stumble across. But it’s absolutely worth seeking out.

As usual, the parking lot at lunchtime Thursday was jammed. We parked on a side street and strolled past the restaurant’s backyard garden beds, bulging with greens and veggie seedlings.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SALAD FOR CYCLING

earth pizza saladThe chicken bruschetta salad at Red Bank’s Earth Pizza. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels medium

After a long, bacon-wrapped winter for PieHole, spring marks the beginning of bicycling season. But the combined weight of us and our bike seems to have increased since last summer. 

Rather than spend thousands of dollars on a super-light, space-age bicycle to make the hill climbs easier, we’ll stick with our trusty steel steed and simply eat a few salads instead. The strategy of course is to take the weight off our torso, and apply the money we’ll save on not buying a new bicycle to wine.

And so it was we ended up at the counter of Red Bank’s Earth Pizza chatting up the counter staff about the pizza restaurant’s salad lineup.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? STEAK AND NOSTALGIA

strokers west sideCalifornia Cheesesteak at Strokers Westside Pizza and Subs. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

morsels mediumStrokers Westside Pizza and Subs on Shrewsbury Avenue in Red Bank is an outpost of the original Strokers Deli located across from the Grove in Shrewsbury. As a rule, PieHole tries to avoid our area’s Mecca of Materialism, and so when we found ourselves hankering for a California cheesesteak, we headed to the West Side location for lunch.

We easily found parking on Chestnut Street and walked a few steps to the deli on the corner of Locust and Shrewsbury avenues.

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