Dinner in Asbury Park on 8/13

I’m looking for a fish and vegetable-centric place, entrees under $25, within walking distance of the Paramount Theater. I’ve found Talula, Lola’s European Cafe and The Bonney Read. Is there a clear winner among those? Am I overlooking a better choice?

Talula’s would be my #1 choice, especially if you’re dining w someone who’s vegetarian or vegan. BR is also v good but you’ll also spend a lot more there vs Talula’s. Just know that both of those restaurants are “downtown,” while the Paramount is in Convention Hall on the northern part of the boardwalk. Absolutely walkable, but at least 15-20 mins.

Have you looked at Porta? Much closer to the Paramount and one of my other favorites!

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Talula’s is very veggie-centric, while the Bonney Read focuses on seafood; both offer items that fall under your price limit. If you have one preference over the other (seafood vs. veg), I would go by that. And if there is one dissenting member in your party, the Bonney Read does have salads and such, while Talula’s has no seafood.

Many thanks to you both. I’ll throw Porta into the mix, in case we get sun exhaustion and can’t handle the walk.

YW! Let us know where you end up!

We opted for The Bonney Read. I had the market greens salad. Its mesclun base was nothing special, but it was nicely balanced, dressing-wise, and the feta, fried onions and sunflower seeds went together better than I expected them to. I followed that with a lobster cocktail and a baked potato, since I couldn’t bear to eat too much hot food after that slog from the boardwalk. Both were fine - nothing spectacular, just well-prepared and satisfying.

We were all pretty pleased with our food, with the exception of the wahoo, a special, which was overcooked. The pricing is weird, though. Totally fair: my salad ($7), lobster cocktail ($16) and Sculpin Pineapple IPA ($7.50). Aggressive: $30 for a 1.5 lb-er and $28 for a lobster roll. Lobsters aren’t all that expensive these days, and if Burger & Lobster can manage to sell $20 lobsters while paying Manhattan rent, you’d think The Bonney Read could shave off a few bucks. The service was efficient and reasonably fast, but the relentless up-selling got old fast. Every time one of us ordered a “half” something - the menu offers plenty of those - our server asked “whole or half?” Maybe I’m being too rough on her. Maybe she’s hard of hearing, or has no short-term memory.

I seriously doubt you’re wrong about the service…while I can’t speak to the BR specifically, the service down here (I moved from NNJ just about a year ago) is generally awful everywhere. It really annoys me at places where I’m spending $$, though–NO EXCUSE, imo!

Can’t believe you walked from the boards in that heat, but hopefully you had a good time overall in AP!

We were talking to someone about the general lackluster service at most places and someone that works here said most places are understaffed, too many new places and not enough of a pool of good people to fill the spots

@small_h, Whoa! $28 for a lobster roll? Did it come with any sides? We paid around $25 the one time we went to Pearl’s in NYC a few years ago. But it came with fries and a side salad. Pearl’s’ website is saying “market price,” so no way to know the price now.

We’ve never had a lobster roll in NJ. In the city, we get them at either Luke’s or Red Hook Lobster Pound. At Luke’s, for $20, you get the lobster roll, a pickle, a drink, and either chips or slaw. Red Hook charges $21 for the same line-up.

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I grew up in Ocean Township and spent the summers of my teen years “laying out” on the beaches of Asbury Park, Long Branch, Avon & Loch Arbor. So I thought I’d be fine with the hike in the heat. Hah! Either it’s hotter than I remember, or my new oldness can’t deal. (I also spent a lot of time in Deal.)

It did: fries & slaw. I’ve seen my share of $28 lobster rolls in Manhattan, and I’m reasonably certain you’ll pay more than $25 now at Pearl (Ditch Plains is charging $29). But the rent on Cookman Ave. simply can’t be that high. Luke’s is a good value, cheaper, I imagine, 'cause it’s not a sit-down restaurant.

True that Luke’s is not a sit-down with table service restaurant though the one we go to on E. 43rd Street off 3d is in a large space with lots of tables as well as access to an outdoor plaza with tables. Rent in that part of Manhattan can’t be cheap. Luke gets his lobster directly from his dad who is a lobster wholesaler in Maine, so that’s probably a factor in keeping the prices reasonable.

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For about the same money in NYC, you can have a lobster roll and a 45 minute cruise of the harbor at North River. If you get there around 4 you can even get happy hour prices with your 4:15 sailing time. Just sayin.

That sounds very nice. I hadn’t heard of North River, so thanks.

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

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