Looks like I'm the first to make it here, or at least report on it! (Shame on you of you have been here and haven't shared with the rest of us!)
Arrived at 7:30 pm fri night no reservations the parking lot was busy so I dropped the wife and daughter off close to the door, parked and met them inside.
The building is new they just opened 5-6mos ago and it's a very nice space, both tables and booths with a semi circular dining room with ceiling to floor windows overlooking Monmouth Race track. (Clubhouse /final turn, although the track is no illuminated at night so I couldn't truly see or judge how good the view was) Reminiscent of the old Tavern on The Green, although much more modern or updated.
The bar is a separate area with 2 betting machines for the track located in the bar area with several large TV's for simulcasting, do NOT let this turn you off, the machines are discrete and this is not the type of place losing tickets will strewn the floor.
They also had live entertainment outside the bar area a solo artist playing guitar and singing a VERY good vibe about the place. Also not sure how exactly to describe it but the entry area had video images projected on the ceiling, the most similar I can describe it if anyone has been to the strip in Old Vegas with the canopy, it's similar to that. This is only in the entry/lounge area.
Anyway the hostess said they only had immediate seating "downstairs" would that be "ok", we said yes and followed her. What happened next is straight out of the movie Goodfella's when Henry (Ray Lioatta) takes Karen on their first date, the hostess takes us INTO the kitchen, past the line, past the salad station, past the deep frying down a back stairwell (at this point I mentally paused and had to think about when my birthday and anniversary was because I thought for sure this was some convoluted surprise party for me) thru the downstairs prep area, walk ins and pantry to a private wine room with about 8 tables in it. Think the wine room of Bueno Sera with an exciting adventure on the way there. Apparently this will be for private dining/parties and has its own entrance from the outside but with the rain and leaves they prefer taking people thru the kitchen. The room is not 100% complete according to the staff but it was fine for our night.
On to the food and service, we were greeted immediately drink order taken and small bread pieces and dipping oil. Also an amuse was provided from the Chef, it was a crab salad served on a toast point which was tasty however prepped and kept chilled causing the toast to be very soggy when served.
Order was given, myself oysters and shrimp cocktail-boratta appetizer for the girls, wife ordered the "siciliano tuna" - daughter - clams and linguine white sauce and I ordered the tomahawk rib eye!!!
Apps came and were delicious, only complaint there were only 3 shrimp on the shrimp cocktail and you can only order a minimum of 6 oysters (@ $4 a pop). I would have preferred 4 shrimp and 4 oysters! Oh first world problems!!!!
Entrees arrived and looked great. Now tuna siciliano is tuna shredded and served with pasta in a putinesca sauce. I tasted my wife's and was horrified by the flavor, I didn't read the description of what she ordered however once she explained it to me that's exactly what it was. Not a dish I would ever order but she enjoyed it. My daughters was excellent with small clams and plenty of them in what I believed was homemade linguine. My tomahawk was a perfect medium and DELICIOUS!! Served with choices of sauce (no bernaise) I got creamy horseradish and the Cabernet reduction both complimented the steak wonderfully. Also came with rosemary mushrooms and hot peppers that added nice flavor and spice, along with a bucket of homemade Parmesan fries. Looked and tasted great!!
Some homemade apple tart for desert the ladies loved and all in all a great meal!!! I look forward to coming back, been a long time since I've enjoyed the atmosphere and food at a new restaurant like this. I'm going to spend a few afternoons on the deck next summer for the races too!! I truly thought this was going to be a half assed attempt to draw people to the park, but it's not, it's truly a very good restaurant. Give it a try!
(Fyi tomahawk was $75. Vs $80. For regular ribeye at Fromagerie- about equal size actual portions of meat, but you get a side, sauces and twice the order of fries in a much less pretentious yet still desirable setting)
(Again typed on phone sorry for typos)