A short tale of (small) woe (New Jersey)

We moved to Monmouth County from Essex County 5 years ago. I had four meals out to find down here. I have read and read and tried assorted places and so far I’m batting 1 for 4.

One: The easy one was pizza. Medusa, Porta, DelPonte’s. Simple

Two: a great burger and real fries. JSBBQ can, on a good day, come close. The real fries have proven most elusive. I told the truth about Main Street and got 86’d - their fries weren’t real, anyway

Three: a simple plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Should be easy but I’ve been nothing but disappointed with my stops. Most were so long ago that specifics elude me. I remember finding Jimmy’s simply unwelcoming.

Four: a simple steak with real (simple) sides. Medium rare; real fries and steamed green things. I’ve found a good steak but the rest was too … fancy, wrong, whatever … for me. A reasonable price would also be welcome - but if all the components were right I’d open the wallet a bit wider.

Yes, these are “first world problems” and I should be thankful for what I’ve found. But every now and then I miss what there was near the old ranch - and, yes, these were my staples up north.

Thank you for being my sounding board.

As a transplant from NNJ myself, I feel your pain! Still miss easy access to a few of my favorite spots.

In answer to your questions, have you had a burger at The Committed Pig yet? My friend swears the illy dilly is the best burger she’s ever eaten ANYWHERE and will only order that one…I loved the baked brie more than the chipotle bacon version but the latter was also terrific and in both cases, the burger itself was excellent.

How about at Grand Tavern, (where I’m dying to try one)?

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The Grand Tavern Makes a very Tasty burger IMHO…

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Are the fries real?

For your burger n fry request, try a bacon cheeseburger at Kim Marie’s in Asbury. Their fries are real twice fried. It’s lost a little bit of consistency over the years but they are real and double fried. I like Main St’s burgers but their fries are crap. As a comparison, Kim Marie’s burgers are also way better than Main St. IMO.

Can’t help you on the spaghetti + meatballs (I don’t think I have ever ordered this at a restaurant outside of places like Olive Garden), but I generally enjoy the food at Pagano’s Uva in Bradley, and they do a Sunday gravy deal on Sundays, might be worth checking out.

Simple steak: I haven’t been but have been meaning to for quite a while - I have heard rave reviews on the steak at McCann’s in Belmar and I think it might be just what you’re looking for. Not sure about the real fries part though. Where is the good steak you’ve found? I really wish we had a place like Arthur’s in our area. A 25$ steak tavern sort of thing is in dire need.

Also, knowing Grand Tavern I’d be very surprised if their fries weren’t real.

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For my steak and fries fix, my go to is the Copper Canyon. Add one of their “smokin” margaritas and I’m a very happy camper.

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Is that CoPPer Canyon? In Atlantic Highlands? New on my list but it looks good!

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@CurlzNJ - Lol. My bad. I’ve got to learn to type slower. Thx.

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I proofread on a daily basis, so I can’t un-see these things!! :joy:

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Ooh I forgot about Copper Canyon. Their steak is dayum good.

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I’ll gladly + 1 the Copper Canyon steak, however I prefer it without the (coffee/espresso? I tried to check their website but they don’t have their menu online) rub they put on it. I’ve tried to order the steak sans the rub, however it’s hit or miss if they can accommodate the request, that combined with the magnetic pull of Christine’s veal chop directly across the street have reduced my visits to Copper Canyon. (they also have a very poor selection of vodka’s vs. their extensive tequila offerings)

Along the same lines of of CC I would put Woody’s, they have two excellent steaks, a NY Strip and a Tomhawk Rib Eye. The latter being a bit expensive due to the nature of the cut, the strip will be on the same price point as CC. I cannot however vouch for the quality of their fries, sorry.

Best value of a steak I would say is the Pour House and their 24 oz Kansas City Sirloin. (I actually just double checked their web site for the price and it’s listed at $30.99 this is a recent increase, I know for a fact this steak was NOT at the $30 price point recently). This is a large hunk of beef which is cooked behind the bar on their grill. Key is when they bring the steak out of the kitchen have them heavily coat it with the salt grinders (on the bar) and pepper, ordinarily they just throw it on the grill as-is. I’ve been having this steak for years this way and for the money (prior to the new $ 31. price tag) It was a decent steak for the value. Again sadly I can’t comment on the fries but they do have EXCELLENT onion rings.

Also, I would suggest them or Barnacle Bill’s for the burger, no comment on either fries.

When you say Jimmy’s was unwelcoming in what way? It’s far from fine dining but I’ve been going for years and have never had it feel that way. How was the meatballs?

Pizza is way to subjective to even try to recommend…trial and error my friend. (If you like thinner crust Pete and Elda’s is the local favorite, not personally mine though)

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I occasionally do the prime rib at either the PH or The Sitting Duck. I really don’t see either putting out a $30 entree. The Sitting Duck always seems frenzied. And I hate the “silverware” at both places. Says to me loudly and clearly - “we don’t really care about you”.

Which Woody’s? I have a severe service problem at the on in TF. Enough so that I haven’t been back.

I had to try BB’s as soon as I moved down here. Good burger - nice crowd - just too many of them. As I recall the fries were the standard frozen crap.

Jimmy’s? No one seemed to care enough to seat me. Maybe they don’t like long-haired veterans.

Lots to consider. Thank you.

Woody’s Tinton Falls. I had some service issues when they first opened up, I live very local so I go fairly often (2? times a month) and I haven’t had any service issues of late.

Just out of curiosity did you go all the way around the bar to the hostess stand at Jimmy’s? If you walk in there is the loooooog bar area, the hostess stand it around the corner there, odd/bad setup. If you don’t know where to go you will just stand around the bar area. (you still didn’t tell me how you liked the meatballs!!! Or did you just give up and leave?)

You are welcome!!

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I’ll have to give Woody’s another chance. Thanks for your information.

Jimmy’s - had dinner there once with my wife. Simply not impressed by anything. Tried going back solo and was simply ignored - so “B”, I gave up and left and went somewhere more welcoming.

Me too!

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+1

Huge fan of both the steak and smoky maragritas.

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OK - introverted me took one of the recommendations made here. Woody’s in Tinton Falls.

Overall a positive experience. Why the restaurants around insist serving mashed potatoes with a steak eludes me totally - at least the mashed potatoes served by Woody’s are interesting and enjoyable. The steak was cooked perfectly and presented with good intentions. The meal was quite good and enjoyed thoroughly.

Service was the very definition of totally indifferent. Just off and quite a contrast to the quality of the meal. What was eventually put in front of me was totally satisfactory and in keeping with the meal quality.

I declare this recommendation well made and my thanks to all who helped me get my ass out there.

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Excellent!!! As one of the people who I believe recommended Woody’s to you I’m very happy to read you enjoyed!! I’ve only had a “problem” with the service one time, although I take the place for what it is, between casual and fine dining. One thing I truly do enjoy is the complimentary chips and salsa, a welcome change from the normal bread and butter of most restaurants. I’ve had the strip steak at least 2 dozen times since they’ve opened and never a bad one yet! I’ve also had the tomahawk a couple (2?) times and it’s very good as well.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold