Client Dinner, Edison area

The title says it all. Client isn’t sure yet whether they are staying in Edison or Tinton Falls.

In Edison, I was thinking LouCas, but I think its byob. Is there a better option? Somewhere with a bar?

How about Tinton Falls area?

Thx! Oh, it’s on a Monday.

1 mile south on Rt. 27 from LouCas is the Metuchen Inn, highly recommend. (with bar) Also, there is Season 52 up Parsonage Rd in the Menlo Park Mall parking lot.

Tinton Falls area I would say give Blue Grotto in Ocean Port (Monmouth Park) a shot, I’ve taken a liking to that place. Also, in Ocean Twp on West Park there is Piccolo Italia which is excellent. Tinton Falls is a short ride to both Red Bank and Asbury Park depending on where exactly you are in Tinton Falls. Those options obviously open a whole variety of places. Actually in Tinton Falls I would say the best you are going to find is Woody’s on Sycamore, it’s a bit casual but the food is pretty good, they actually have an excellent tomahawk ribeye.

Thanks JR. Metuchen Inn is exactly what I need in Edison area. Blue Grotto would also be a good choice, but not open on Monday. I’ve never been wowed by my meals at Piccolo Italia, but it too is a solid choice for my needs.

My goal in life is to some day be a client who gets taken out to dinners. Or work for a company that lets me take clients out to dinner.

Just curious, what are the most important aspects of picking a “client dinner”? I can easily see why Piccola Italia would be great, but what would a “not so great” place look/feel/taste like? Something in a similar price range, that is.

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I’ve always liked Il Castello on Main St. in Woodbridge and they are open on Mondays, which is a tough draw if you’re looking at a client dinner on a Monday night that has a bar and is conducive to a client dinner.

If it’s Tinton Falls (which means he may be staying at one of the inns just off Ex. 105, you’d be best served making a beeline to Long Branch (Avenue) or Asbury (Jimmy’s).

Don’t know if they’re open Mondays, but if they stay in Tinton Falls, The Grand Tavern (w bar) in (technically) Neptune might be another option…

And another thought, although it would be BYO–call Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge and see if they could put a dinner together for you. Beautiful space, talented exec chef, but they are only open as a restaurant on the weekends right now.

Jooney. It’s not all that it’s hyped up to be, especially with new or prospective clients. Or stodgy tough ones.

That being said, it gets you into places that you may not ordinarily visit (because you’re out of area even here in NJ).

This time of year, is when I fondly remember some great client reward/relationship holiday dinners/luncheons over the years. LaFontana in it’s hey day. Cafe Matisse in Rutherford, The Roosevelt in Richmond VA, 360 in St. Looie, or Altius in P’burgh.

Nice memories, but I so much more value the simple things in life these days, and that’s usually in hole in the walls, a food truck, and once in a while having a beautiful dinner for a special occasion with family.

PS. Also be careful for what you wish for as I’ve had clients who wanted Olive Garden or Carraba’s (only time I’ve ever been in either was based on client request which one acquieses and says… GREAT!!! 1:00 it is)

KoolBreeze…my man (or my woman)…you are the first person I have seen mention LaFontana, one of if not my favorite all time restaurant! Many great memories there, unfortunately never as a client, always the one paying the bill, but for the food, atmosphere and service it was well worth the price.

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Joliet, I’m surprised I’m the first. Because as you know, there was a time when it repped as the best of the best in Central Jersey and with reason. The service was extraordinary, and I fondly remember the dude with the EVO cruet who would seem to appear at out of nowhere in a quasi romp to the table ala John Cleese to pour into a small plate for dredging some of their signature breads. But seriously, the service, the conversation , and knowledge by the staff was just over the top.

The decor was wild too… heavy velvet drapes, a lot of brass, candelabras, and I’ll always remember those large glass vats of grappa.

The meals were always quite good. I was there a couple of times, maybe 3, and I was always on the guest side of it for all 3 as one vendor of mine always took the time. Thanks Bob McKenna wherever you may be these days. Having trouble remembering what I ordered. Perhaps a filet and tail, and most definitely one of their signature veal dishes. I do remember some extraordinary desserts as well.

While I worked in nearby Somerset, I’m hard pressed to pinpoint when they actually closed shop.

They have been closed about 10 years now, if not more. The location was empty for a long time, someone opened lasted a few years and I think it’s vacant again.

I concur with everything you stated about the place, I used to get the Rustica, it was mixed seafood served in a creamy broth served in a bread bowl. So good…they use to give small ceramic cherubs for special occasions, birthdays, anniversaries etc. we probably have a dozen of them at home adorning out china closet.

So many details they did so well, including the rock sugar jelly bean platter with your coffee. I have yet to find anywhere that rivals the level of service they provided.

FYI I knew a Bob McKenna lived in Edison and had 21 children, no joke. Same guy?

Jake, i remember the rock sugar bean platter.

As to McKenna, that wouldn’t be him. He married at 30 (no kids) with a targeet of retiring at 45 . Banked 100% his wife’s salary for 15 years. He was a successful salesman who made his numbers during a time companies hadn’t scaled back compensation tables.

So he retired at 45, and spends 8 months in San Diego and 4 in Port Townsend WA on the Olympic Peninsula.

@KoolBreeze - totally nailed my view of client meals:

*[quote=“KoolBreeze, post:7, topic:7580”]
It’s not all that it’s hyped up to be, especially with new or prospective clients. Or stodgy tough ones.
[/quote]

Unless I know the client very well, I tend to pick “safe” destinations (non-fussy chicken, steak, fish options). And typically nothing too casual, but not requiring jackets. Usually, places I wouldn’t choose for a meal on my own. And, when my company is picking up the tab, I’ll consider that $55/steak or raw bar seafood tower I would ordinarily pass over when on my own dime. Liquor license is a necessity most of the time in order to give the client the option.

For my dinner next week we chose Molly Pitcher Inn – checks off all the boxes even though it might not be the most exciting meal.

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

― Jonathan Gold