Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Not New England ... New Jersey Restaurants

From time to time, we do go to places outside of New England which are noteworthy. So, in the spirit of sharing information on good finds, I'll include information on those places here and preface the post with "Not New England ..."

I just got back from a business trip to New Jersey during which I ate at a couple of great restaurants definitely worth a mention - give them a try if you vacation on the Jersey Shore.

Bistro Ole - Asbury Park - I had an amazing meal here - champiƱones to start (grilled portabello mushroom topped with roasted pepper, manchego cheese and Spanish pesto sauce) followed by a skirt steak special with a HUGE steak, black beans, Spanish rice, sweet plantains and a spicy chimichurri sauce. It truly was one of the best meals I've ever had.

It was a busy place, and it's easy to see why. The food is great, portions are huge (everyone walked out with leftovers), and the atmosphere is wonderful. Latin artwork lines the walls, and the restaurant has a comfortable feeling. The host - Rico, I believe - stopped by with a kiss on both cheeks, an introduction to the women at the table next to us (he seems to know everyone) and a greeting in Spanish. When he asked my co-worker and me what we were celebrating, I responded "nada" (nothing). He then indicated not say "nada" and instead say we were celebrating "la vida" (life).

We later learned why he asked what we were celebrating. Upon learning of someone's anniversary, birthday or other special occasion, he blew a whistle and announced the reason for the celebration. Everyone, of course, cheered and expressed well wishes. We had a fantastic time and would return to Bistro Ole again.

La Nonna Piancone's Cafe - Bradley Beach - I think huge portions are a trend in New Jersey. My appetizer at Piancone's was so big - Mozzarella In Carozza (two thin slices of semolina bread and fresh mozzarella fried and topped with chopped basil and sun dried tomatoes with lemon garlic shitake mushroom sauce) - I could have eaten that for dinner and been just fine. I had rigatoni with a vodka tomato cream sauce for my entree, and it was delicious.

The atmosphere in the restaurant was relaxing. It is decorated in earth tone colors with accent pieces such as a reddish pendant light above our table. Our server was wonderful with extremely attentive service, and she allowed us to linger over cappuccino at the end of our dinner. All in all, we had another great meal.


At 8/10/2005 5:13 PM, Anonymous eva said...

I love your writing! It awakens my taste buds and definitely makes me want to try those restaurants when I am in that area.

Hope you keep writing.


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