Blu Grotto in Oceanport [NJ]

(Mr met) #81

that stinks that they are this busy, but I guess the unique setting and location place the fact that they do a good job there leads them to be busy. If only more places would take note.

(Junior) #82

True and that’s what I said last year during the summer when I called up to a week in advance and was turned away!! This is March and they are this booked already?


Yeah I think this spot nailed it. It’s a good mix of ambiance, price, comfort, location, and decent food.

Combined, these factors should keep them rather busy during all seasons. This Summer should be pretty interesting to see.


Do WE need to get in there together??


Go on a Thursday, went last Thursday night and there was only 4 people there the whole time I was there.


Thx for that tip!


While I am hopeful that either my experience was an aberration or that the place has done a complete 180, I must admit to cringing when reading these posts.

(Junior) #88

Finally made it back here, I was an early fan of Blu Grotto but I also became a victim of their success. Getting reservations have become so difficult it found it’s way off my “go-to” list, well last night I had some father - son bonding time and this is where he picked to go.

We walked in at 7:30 and the parking lot was full, I assume for the out door beer garden, the dining room was about half full as was the bar. We took two seats at the bar, made a couple of bets and took a look at the “new” menu. “New” because it has certainly changed since my last visit, however I don’t know how long they have had it, many dishes I recognized but a new “steak section” which they never had, well into NYC steakhouse price range. Having choked down the double cut prime rib at Pour House the night prior a steak wasn’t really calling my name.

Apps: Short-rib Meatballs - Anitpasto mista (meat and cheese)

Entrees: Pork Chop & peppers (me) - Fussilinni (with sausage and mozzarella)

The meatballs were very good, I’m two for two with good meatballs after my very surprising good meatballs at Old Glory, the antipasto was good as well.

The pork chop I ordered medium I’m fine with pink pork, came out well done, all white throughout. No biggie but the flavor of the peppers was delicious, truly a well made sauce. Just enough spice with the sweetness of a balsamic reduction was very well done. I only took one bite of the broccoli rabe’ side and it was very good as well.

I didn’t try my son’s pasta but if he could have literally ate the plate I think he would have. He had no complaints. (portion was a little small in my opinion for a pasta dish)

Long story short, very good meal(s) in a beautiful setting.

They have the beer garden going this time of year, it’s my first time there during dining hours when the beer garden was open. I was rather turned off by the fact they welcome the beer garden customers into the upstairs bar. Call me a snob, but I don’t care for men with cut off tee-shirts to be allowed into a fine dining bar/lounge/restaurant. I’m truly surprised that they apparently do NOT have any dress code for he upstairs bar. There were a few people who I feel were completely inappropriately dressed for a restaurant of this caliber. Jersey shore or race track or not, you have two bars, enforce them accordingly.

One a positive side note, my son hit 4-4 trifecta’s at Penn National. Seriously he won all 4 races/trifectas in a row. $ 6 = $ 265.50 by the end of dinner! (I lost a $20 win bet on the last race, so that is why the voucher is $ 245. lol) You can’t beat that!!!


Wow, congrats to your son on that bet! That’s great. Did he cover dinner?? Ha! :slight_smile:
How much was the pasta? Agreed that it looks skimpy.

I’ve been meaning to try this place but it is in kind of an awkward location and isn’t at the top of my mind.

(Junior) #90

$ 20, I think. My deal with my son has always been when I’m fronting the money for gambling we are partners, if he loses he doesn’t owe me anything, if he wins we split it. So my half of the winnings did in fact cover dinner!

(Junior) #91

Went back on Friday night, not sure why we were able to get same night reservations, I all but gave up on going here because reservations were so difficult to get. I was turned away calling as much as a week in advance for 2 special occasions and frankly can’t be bothered having to place 2 weeks in advance for dinner, my last two visits were a walk in and hour in advance call, neither night was the place near capacity.

The beer garden though is jumping and is very crowded and seems to go late into the night. We had 7:30 reservations and 9:00-9:30 as we were leaving the parking lot was filling up quickly.

Apps: roasted peaches and ricotta with a string bean salad, General tso calamari and a crab salad. All were excellent!!

Entrees: Pork chop with hot peppers, Salmon, swordfish (special) and squid ink pasta and seafood. Everything was very enjoyable, I’m in love with the pork chop the hot peppers give it just enough kick, if they would throw in some sausage and potatoes this could be a great Murphy dish.

I truly hope they don’t abandon the restaurant in favor of what seems to be the more popular (and most likely more profitable) beer garden. As long as the food remains this quality and reservations are easy to get I’ll keep coming back!

(Sorry entree pics taken after we started mauling our meals)


Good looking pork chop Bob! I think we need a pork chop thread lol

(Junior) #93

So Sunday we were celebrating our anniversary and our son came home from school to celebrate with us we decided to go to Blu Grotto. Much to my surprise they don’t have their regular menu on Sunday they instead have their “Sunday Nona Family Style Menu. This consists of 2 apps and 2 entrees for $40 pp, with a choice of about 5 apps and entrees respectively.

We ordered fried calamari and mussels and clams in a tomato broth as the apps. They were good, I think the calamari is different than their normal menu they were a little heavy on the pepper in their breathing the clams and mussels were fine.

Penne in a marinara was included in the meal as pasta course, it was very good.

Entrees were skirt steak with mixed grilled vegetables and shrimp scampi over pesto risotto. The skirt steak was very good especially the grilled vegetables, the serving size was not really for two. The meat was really just a regular order with an abundance of grilled veggies. The shrimp scampi probably had 8 or 10 shrimp but they really weren’t scampi style, they were more grilled shrimp over the risotto which really wasn’t very good. There was nothing rich or creamy about the risotto the pesto just didn’t work well and was either too oily or all the oil from The scampi was just poured over it and settled into the risotto. Whatever it was wasn’t really that great.

I guess they are trying something to bring people in on Sundays but the choices we had did nothing to showcase the food there and if this were my first time I doubt I would return.


I might have missed it. It looks like your son went. Did you get three dinners or share two with 3 people? It’s been a long day buddy lol

(Junior) #95

It was all 4 of us, so two apps, pasta, two entrees for 4 people and if the risotto was eatable maybe it would have been sufficient.

(Mr met) #96

Just got back. Overall good with cpl uneven points. Tired for now will give full review tmw. Beautiful spot though.

(Mr met) #97

So we had an 830 reservation and were seated promptly. Place closes at 10 and at that point would say upstairs was maybe half full. Beautiful spot- really among the nicest spots locally by far., can’t stress enough how nice it is inside- esp the lighting that was touched on earlier.
Bread and sun-dried tomato jam to start was money and they initiated a refill on both- CJ- you would like this point.
Not best table in corner by door on a freezing night, but I understand we made last minute reservations online so can’t b*tch too much.
Split kale Caesar salad, one NY strip and one skirt steak special. One thing that annoyed me was they were out of several mains and apps. They let us know ahead of time, but was a bit much, I know they close at 10 but an 830 Sat reservation shouldn’t be missing that many dishes.
Waiter was good, with a very gentle, reserved upsell- not pushy about it.
They let us know salad had anchovies which I was looking forward to, but found nary a one on my plate- good flavor, dressing, and portion size but missing a key ingredient.
Strip was very good, nice cut of meat, cooked correctly , but potato side was odd, basically just roasted chunks of potato, would have preferred either fries or mashed instead. Again nice size at 14OZ and was prob a bit more but at 40 bucks a pop it should be both good and huge.
Skirt steak was flavorful and sides were great- a sweet potato mash and a hazelnut gremolata. My only real qualm here was the temperature wasn’t great. Asked for medium, even stated “Pink, whatever you guys call it here, just pink” and it came out pink initially but 2nd half as I cut more into itwas red/purple, not cool considering it was served sliced. Didn’t catch it initially to ask and by time I realized server wasn’t back for a bit so wasn’t going to ask at that point so close to end of meal to fire it up.
Dessert again, out of two choices including our main; not sure how this happens. Zabaglione tart was very good and bigger portion than I expected , came with orange slices inside custard which was very good but mentioned nowhere in description.
Drinks were good and Titos as “well” brand Vodka is a good thing, wife got a HEAVY pour of wine as it was end of the bottle and server was kind enough to donate last oz or two to us.
Meal was good overall and service was quite good esp for the area, at 130 with before tip including drinks. Would def go back- I might sound overly critical here- overall very good, feel that perhaps if we went earlier some of out issues may have been prevented, unfortunately that’s my window these days so may try someplace else next chance for nice night out.
On plus side, they are starting a brunch at 35 per adult, 15 a kid, sounds good- lots of stuff on buffet part plus a huge selection of kitchen items to order. Comes with belini or Bloody Mary on house and only $5 each for additional. Will deal look to give this a shot as a nice local alternative to Molly Pitcher.


Glad to hear you had a good time. Was the skirt steak served with any sauce or dry rub?

I think they purposely undercook that cut. It is so thin that it can go from undercooked to ruined in like a minute or so on a searing hot grill.

(Mr met) #99

sauced - was good too. I prob should have skipped skirt since you’re on point with the temp, but just pissed me off b/c I ALWAYS grout of my way to say pink explicitly; have seen too many places have their own definition of what medium means so I go over the top to state PINK. The end was literally purple, and given that its sliced its even more egregious that they goofed so badly here…but again I prob should have ordered something else like the fillet instead…just really wanted skirt steak…
bread game was on point though- you would def enjoy it- both quality, the quickness to refill, and the tomato jam dip was money instead of normal crappy cold butter.

(Junior) #100

Glad you enjoyed!! Grotto has become one of our favorite go-to spots, never had the issues with being out of things, strange. Hopefully in the future that won’t happen again.