Now that they’ve been open 6 months, I’m willing to let the cat out of the bag about this (not-so) hidden gem in Asbury Park… Cardinal is the product of Smith alums (Porta, Pascal and Sabine, etc.) and holy crap are we lucky to have them here in AP!
Background: I was at a holiday market at then Beirgarten and one of the (two female) partners at the Cardinal booth recognized me from Porta…I relayed the story (b/c it was RANDOM–I’m not that regular at Porta!) to my friend, and told him all about how they were getting Cardinal ready. Fast forward to late January; I was having a major bday and my folks had contacted my friend for catering ideas for a surprise party…he suggested Cardinal. At that point they had been doing a lot of catering, but the restaurant opened a week before my party, so the fact that they were able to come through with food that people are still talking about (a mushroom strata, their fantastic sage sausage patties, and an octopus salad amongst the offerings) was pretty impressive, imo.
This past weekend I met a couple of friends there for brunch (hard to do, as these guys love The Buttered Biscuit in Bradley Beach and I do too).
I had heard the rumors about Cardinal’s chicken and waffles being out of this world, so that’s what I ordered–and to be clear, that’s not a dish I’d normally get. HOLY. SH*T. Seriously. The spicy and flavorful sauce (maple poblano relish, herbed yogurt, Texas Pete) on top of 2 perfectly cooked pieces of boneless (THANK YOU) organic chicken and a light, perfect pearl sugar waffle. My friends had the waffle special and the silver dollar pancakes (not your typical pancakes but trust me, you want these too) and we all shared, but I haven’t stopped thinking about the chicken and waffles.
They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, which is why it took me so damn long to get in, but they’re also doing pop-up dinners, which I fully intend to get to. GO. Just don’t tell too many people about it yet, please…?