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Posts posted by Oceangroveguy

  1. Been there 6 or 8 times since it opened, and have enjoyed the food every time. Ms Frio can really cook, especially fish. It's pricy for the area - starters go over $10, most entrees over $20 - but not so much so that you resent it once you taste the food. One server is a bad amateur, the others seem to be enthusiastic amateurs who mostly get things right. The ny times NJ sunday section had a piece about the place earlier this summer that might be in their archives.

    The Moonstruck owners sold it. I'm not sure what the ownership structure is, but the manager is a woman who said she'd worked in Philadelphia restaurants (she's been on site every time I've been there). I think she owns a piece, and I think another (or the other) owner is a woman who works in real estate.

    It's BYO - in Ocean Grove it has to be - and if you eat outside they serve your wine in coffee cups to disguise it. Inside there are maybe 6 diner booths, and a counter with some stools. I've heard that their lunches are good, but have only had dinner there.

  2. At Valenca, a Portugese place in Elizabeth, they offer "Steak on a Stone" - a choice of filet or strip - that is brought to the table having just been put on a hot piece of rock (or ceramic). The sides arrive separately. I assume they'll cook the same piece of meat in the kitchen if you prefer. My wife likes the self-cooking option as she rarely eats beef but wants it just about mooing when she does.

    The other food at Valenca is mighty fine, too.

  3. Hot Canary-

    My choice between Havens and Kleins often comes down to cash/check or credit card - Havens takes plastic and Kleins doesn't. I think the fish at both places is about equal quality, and the prices are about the same, too. Yesterday we went to Havens for steamers, last weekend we bought striper at Kleins. As we were leaving Havens yesterday my wife said she had a yen for dinner at Kleins before the weather changed, so I imagine we'll do that fairly soon, too.

    Tautog, thanks for location of Jody's.

    In the shopping center on 35 south at Sunset, there is now a sign inviting commercial tenants to "join Wegman's, summer 2004". I hope it's true.....

  4. I live in Ocean Grove and wish there was a first class fish market or even a supermarket with a quality fish department nearby, but if there is, I haven't found it.

    The best I've been able to find is Esposito's fish market on Monmouth Road in Oakhurst, and I would say it's good but not great. I can usually find something decent at the retail stores at Havens and Hamptons, and Kleins, both in Belmar.

    I think there's a Wegman's in Manlapan, but that's pretty far from the water...

  5. The new Portuguese place TMTM mentioned is probably Bistro Ole, 230 Main St.

    tel.: 732-897-0048. Chef is Will Vivas, formerly of Vivas on 5th Avenue. BYO, no reservations, they serve lunch and dinner. Food is wonderful, place is pretty, and it is indeed jammed most of the time.

  6. Fascinating exchange, and I'm looking forward to more about it, but as for FG's comment

    "As in the legal profession, in the PR profession you have true professionals and you have hacks. The hacks always outnumber the true professionals. "

    I seem to remember that FG is, or maybe was, a lawyer, and maybe his experience was different than mine. In more than 20 years of lawyering, I've run across plenty of hacks, but by no means have they outnumbered the conscientious and honest practitioners. Like I said, maybe it FG's experience was different but I think it was just a cheap shot.

  7. It's been a while, but I used to love the breakfast food at the Summit Diner. There were times when the hygeine went substantially below funky (I recall one visit yaers back when there was water ankle deep in and outside the bathrooms) but the ham and eggs and home fries were always sensational.

    My wife loved the pancakes, and one year on her birthday when her dad said he'd take her (us) to dinner any place she wanted, she opted for pancakes at the Summit diner. Dad was a good sport about it and we went (ever try to pick a wine to go with pancakes and ham and eggs?)

    More recently, I've been to the one (is it the Lido?) on route 22 right about the Springfield/Union border - jammed to the rafters every time we've been there, and first rate omelettes, burgers and club sandwiches.

  8. I lived in the village in the late 70's and early 80's and ate at Monte's on McDougal St. every month or 2. One night, when the place was pretty busy, a fight between either 2 waiters or a waiter and a cook erupted in the kitchen. The 2 combatants literally rolled on the floor through the swinging door into the dining room and continued to pound each other until the other staff broke it up.

    My waiter, an older guy named Michael whose station I always asked for, quietly apologized for the disturbance - then giggled - and dinner went on without another ripple.

  9. Had dinner at Moonstruck on New Year's Eve, one of the few nights a year they take reservations. The food was good, but not as memorable as in Ocean Grove, and although our waiter was both warm and professional, every one else was pretty dour, and the whole evening seemed sort of perfunctory.

    I know it's not entirely fair to draw any conclusions based on New Year's Eve. We walked over there one Sunday night in October, asked about the wait and the guy at the desk - Luke? - didn't even look up when he told us it was an hour and a half. He didn't suggest we have a drink in the bar and wait, either. He didn't seem to care one way or another. We'd been to the OG place a few times in the past year or so, maybe not enough to be regulars or be recognized, but were always treated with a lot more warmth.

    In talking to some of the other folks I know in town, my experience seems pretty typical - I think Moonstruck in the off season used to depend on the locals, but now is drawing most of its crowd from Deal/Red Bank/Rumson. They now have an attitude, and almost everyone I talk to thinks the food is down a notch since the move.

    I agree with Mark's take on the dining scene (and the development scene), but note that Harry's is insanely busy on weekends and seems to be drawing the same crowd as Moonstruck, although it is a hangout for the Cookman Ave merchants and other Asbury residents during the week. Frank's Deli on Main in Asbury has been there forever and remains a great place for breakfast and lunch. Sunset Landing - on Sunset - makes great pancakes and omelets.

  10. Ate there once and had a pretty good burger. They had draft Bass ale, which always improves the taste of burgers. Judging by what I saw on other people's plates and on the waiter's trays, I wouldn't be any more adventurous a second time...

  11. Fear not, Trader Joe addict, there's a branch in Westfield (on Elm Street, which runs into the main drag of North Avenue) that has all or nearly all the usual TJ fave items, some wine and beer values (no hard liquor).

    The closest Whole Foods to you is probably Millburn (on Millburn ave). The produce and fish are pricy but usually excellent quality, ditto for their breads and cheeses. I don't know enough about their natural health products to comment.

    Don't overlook the Oriental groceries in the Edison area - they are lots of fun and often have great values on fish and produce. I especially like Kam Man on route 1 in Edison, but there are several others in the area worth exploring.

  12. The newly opened Nedick's in Penn Station (nyc) sells Usinger's bratwursts on poppy seed buns. There's no better consolation for missing a train and having to wait for the next one....The Nedick's is on the LIRR concourse, and the brats are worth the walk.

  13. I was there on Thursday, March 6. We had a 7pm reservation. All but 2 tables we occupied. We were greeted warmly (by a server we hadn't seen in previous visits) and seated immediately.

    My wife had the crusted goat cheese and arugula salad and the rack of lamb. I had escargot and a loin of beef special.

    Everything was impeccably fresh and delicious, and the service was fine.

  14. There's another branch of the Hong Kong chain on Park Avenue just off Oak Tree at the Edison/N. Plainfield border. I was there for the first time yesterday, and was impressed by the fish and the canned items, but not by the produce (didn't check out the meat). I haven't been to the one on Route 18, but assume it took over what had been another oriental supermarket called Park Market right near Pier One and (I think) Lohmann's.

    On Route One in Edison just south of Old Post Road is Kam Man, which I like a lot, esp for the produce. There's another Korean market just around the corner on Post Road, tucked into a shopping center on the north side of the street.

    Finally, I've lately been going to a place I think is called "Asian Supermarket" in a shopping center on Scudders Mill Road in (I think) Plainsboro. It's got most all the things I look for at Kam Man, and usually the produce is excellent. The hot take out looks good, but I've not tried it.

  15. We ate at Citrico's for the first time a few weeks ago - had salads and pasta and fish and enjoyed it a lot. Nice atmosphere - sort of noisy - but we were made to feel very welcome, the service was good and I know we'll be back.

    We walked in before 7 on a Saturday and were lucky to get a table. Within 15 or 20 minutes there were easily a dozen people waiting.

  16. Rosie-

    Haven't been to the new Moonstruck - I won't wait on line. The only time we ate at the OG location was New Year's, when they took reservations, and on another December weeknight when we didn't have to wait.

    I thought the food and service were both very good each time we went in OG, but not the totally celestial experience reviews and some of the OG locals led me to expect.

    Have you been to the new place yet?

  17. Mazi is on the corner of Main Street and 4th Avenue-phone is 732 775 8828. We've been there about 6 or 7 times since March, and have never been disappointed. They do a great grilled whole fish (Branzino?), and the chicken piri piri is always terrific as is most everything we've tried. The critic in the AP Press gave it a rave this summer.

    The Japanese place is also on Main, near the train station. We had sushi and Udon soup there last Spring. It was good, not great, but I'm sure we'll go back before too long.

    Blue Marlin is always wonderful.

    Haven't been to Piancone's since they redid the place, but we enjoyed their pasta and salads last Spring.

    We seldom go to restaurants at the shore in the summer - I can't bear to wait 2 hours for a meal, but now that the season's over, I hope we get out more.

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