Blu Grotto in Oceanport [NJ]


I really was going to suggest you pop in…do it!!


We ate there last Friday and booked the reservation only a few days before. While the restaurant was busy at times, I wouldn’t say that it was packed or full. As far as the meal, I must admit that it was one of the worst I can recall having in quite some time. Our octopus appetizer tasted off, the short rib meatballs were bland, and the squid ink pasta was gummy and over salted. I never got to try my strip steak entree as our server thought I ordered a different dish (which I returned) though I did get to try some of the halibut which was dry and otherwise uninspiredly prepared. The disappointment is compounded by the fact that I really enjoyed the chef’s food at Sogno in Red Bank and couldn’t understand the disparity. I will acknowledge that the restaurant is beautiful (except for the blue tarp on its roof), but doubt I would ever return unless assured of major changes in the kitchen and service.


The dearth of quality restaurants in this part of New Jersey is shocking. Over the past several weeks I’ve experienced some of the worst meals I can ever recall. When the time comes to choose where to go out to dinner, I am truly left scratching my head.


Have you been to Grand Tavern yet? You will NOT be disappointed there…

I’m also anxious to try Reyla, which is the newest spot here in Asbury Park; they only opened about 10 days ago so I’m waiting for them to settle in a little, but it looks VERY promising.


I have tried Grand Tavern and while I wasn’t blown away by the food, I have it on my list to try again. The tomahawk chop was pretty good (though I didn’t think it was worth the price). I find the quirks of the place such as only having one dessert (a pancake at the time) that may sell out for the evening to be bothersome. How hard is it to have a couple of pre-made desserts on hand? I am also excited for Reyla as I really enjoy Talula’s.


Have you tried clementines in Avon? I hear good things.


Thanks for the recommendation. I tried Clementines a number of years back and let’s just say that it didn’t do anything for me. If in the mood for Cajun/Creole food I only go to Drew’s. In fact, in the sea of my recent dining misery, I had one of my best meals there a few weeks back. Drew is definitely on his game and has been one of the few constants in the Monmouth County/New Jersey dining scene.


(ducking) I don’t generally order steak, so I can’t speak to that chop but the pics are pretty impressive! Everything I’ve tried there was out-of-the-box creative and I can honestly say it’s the only place I’ve been to since the move where I’ve been wowed. I do get what you’re saying about the one dessert situation, but that’s not enough to turn me off.

Re: Reyla, I think you’re confusing the two new restaurants going in to that building. Reyla is from the folks who own Barrio Costero (also good, but quirky issues w ‘small plates’ and ‘big $’ imo). It’s in the former Cibo e vino space. The former Fish space is going to house the new restaurant coming to us from the owners of Talula’s + their friends. Looking forward to that too, but Reyla is open already.

ETA: Have you been to Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge yet? One of the only other potentials, but you have to be willing to deal with a less-than-traditional restaurant situation.


I agree 100%. Drew puts out some quality food.

I remember seeing you liked Drews so I figured I would toss clementines out there.

(Retired !) #50

Hear hear !

Have you tried oyster point or the molly lately?

Food is actually acceptable, except for desserts, and everything else is good.

I can also highly recommend Christine’s in the Highlands. Excellent food and service, but it gets crowded and noisy at times.


+1 for Heirloom. My new favorite spot. Be prepared to devote time to dinner, but we have not be disappointed. It is inventive and interesting. Highly recommend.


+1 on christines. Fyi…it’s in Atlantic highlands, not highlands…just a heads up so no one drives to the wrong town.


My bad about Reyla. With all the new restaurants it’s tough to keep them all straight.


Never thought of Oyster Point and Molly Pitcher for anything other than brunch. With Christine’s, I loved the space when it was Ama. I need to add it to the list. Thank you.

(Retired !) #55

At molly presently the short ribs and seafood pot pie are pretty good as is the asparagus and morel mushroom salad. You can also usually order off the bar menu in the dining room if you ask nicely.

At oyster point the grilled snapper for two and the scallops are good, as is the tuna tartare. They also have a really good burger and good fish and chips. Oyster has summer Thursday night service on the deck with live music and a menu.

It’s not knock your socks off wow good food, but the dishes are competently executed. Unlike so many other places down the shore, we’ve never had a bad meal or gotten sick at either place yet. The desserts are ok, but not as good as the food.

Indoors both restaurants offer good service, cutlery, crystal, table cloths, and an acceptable noise level, not to mention the view. The pitcher is also the only place in our area which requires jackets for men at dinner in the dining room, which says something in and of itself.

My wife is from Europe and I lived there for a number of years. If we have a special occasion or out of town guests Molly and Oyster are our go to spots if we are not going into the city.

(Junior) #56

The last time I was there, 5? years ago, they served a phyllo dough on a plate then poured a “chunky” lobster-esq bisque over it and called it lobster pot pie. I was very disappointed, is this the same as the seafood pot pie you are referring to or have they changed it?

When I first moved to the area in the early 90’s Oyster was the “spot” for happy hour. Before Red Banks full resurgence Oyster Point had live music, the patio open and all sorts of happy hour specials.

I’m glad to hear the report on these two somewhat forgotten or overlooked gems, will have to make a point of giving Oyster another try. Didn’t they close their ala’carte dining for a long time? I thought they were only doing banquets for awhile there.

(Retired !) #57

Just called and pitcher has tables available tonight at 7 or 8 pm.

(Retired !) #58

It’s not really a bisque, but it is seafood in cream sauce with puff pastry, so it sounds similar. It’s like a really big Lobster Newburg.

I actually tend to cross order and get the chicken pot pie from the bar which I like better.

(Retired !) #59

Pearl restaurant at oyster been open for at least 4-5 years, they closed for a bit after Sandy, but opened right back up.

You can download the present menu here:

As regards Sandy, we were actually in the bar at the pitcher watching the storm roll in until the roof gave out. :open_mouth::open_mouth::open_mouth:

(Retired !) #60

Btw, on that topic, the best lobster pot pie within easy driving distance is at the City Tavern in Philly.

So good.

100 % certified delishus.