Drew's Bayshore Bistro..............Keyport, NJ


(Junior) #1

This review is a few weeks past due as it has been about 2-3 weeks since I paid this visit to Drew’s. I was actually surprised to see that he didn’t have his own thread so I decided to start one so here we go.

We had 9:00pm reservations for 4 people on a Saturday night. Around 2pm we called to see if we could change that to 6 people as another couple wanted to join us as last minute. After originally being told “no”, literally told they could no longer accommodate us, a second phone call later in the day seemed to change their ability to accommodate us.

Walked in at 9pm and were immediately seated, while the place was busy it was not completely full, and it only decreased in attendance as our night continued. For those of you who don’t know Drew is a well know home grown Chef, who is most notable for beating Bobby Flay in a throw down cook-off of their respective voodoo shrimp recipes. All credit and respect goes to Drew as his voodoo shrimp are excellent as are the majority of his dishes, he is a master of Louisiana / Creole style cooking. Besides his voodoo shrimp, shrimp and grits, etouffe’ and jambalaya are generally staples on his menu.

This night had the table sharing app’s of voodoo shrimp, and escargot both of which were very good. (There was a bistro salad had as well which I didn’t try but there were no complaints either) For entree’ I had the pork belly special, which there is always a pork belly special, and again as most of his staple dishes this was very good. There were no complaints on any of the entree’s served.

While there were no complaints, there were no raves either. Now don’t get me wrong, Drew’s food remains very good, but for the first time both I, and the other couple who has dined at Drew’s several times as well agreed, there was no “wow” factor in anything served. This could be two fold: As I said we ordered many of Drew’s “staple” dishes, things we have had many times before, perhaps we’ve become use to them and are not as impressed as we once were, more than anything actually lacking in the dish(s) His menu is rather limited and although he add’s seasonal changes, there isn’t a lot new to try.

I strongly encourage anyone in the area to go-to and try Drew’s as his food is very good, but this is the first time it really didn’t have a "wow " factor. I’ve even cut back on how often we’ve gone to Drew’s because I was feeling a little bored with the menu for a long time, but even after the layoff I walked away satisfied, but not wow’d by the food.

The second observation which has been my standing complaint about Drew and Drew’s bistro, is being an excellent Chef does not automatically make you a good restaurateur. Since my first experience at Drew’s my observation has always been he needs a front of house manager. It’s my vague understanding his wife was running things, I"m not really sure what the story is, but as demonstrated with our request to add 2 people to our reservation being declined (and our reservation then being pretty much null and void) to seeing a restaurant that could have accommodated 6+ more people on our arrival, he need someone actually running the floor that knows something about the business.

While the service by the wait staff is always pleasant and personable it’s a free for all service with servers running everywhere with no true direction and no one making sure all the tables are being sought to in any standardized manner. Service is always described as “adequate” but never exceptional.

All in all I again urge anyone reading this not to take my criticisms as a reason not to give Drew’s a shot. It’s definitely worth a visit and perhaps with your inexperienced palate of his creations you will be as blown away as I once was.


(Jeff) #2

I’m going to Drews on June 7 with a large group. I’ll report back. I haven’t been in a couple of years mostly because of the limited menu. I’ve always liked the food and agree that the service is well meaning but haphazard.


(Jeff) #3

I went to Drew’s last night as part of a group of 15 people. The organizer of the group had arranged for a 5 course set menu with no other choices for $45 for tax and tip which was a terrific value. We started with an amuse of pimento cheese on crostini which is not listed on the menu below. All of the food was excellent. The service was well meaning and efficient but not the kind you get in a top place. I found no diminution in the quality of the food. Everyone agreed there was a “wow factor” to the food and I will return soon.

Pictures of everything below.








(David) #4

Wow! That is a heck of a menu. Kind of a Drew’s greatest hits, at least for me. I’d have paid twice that for that spread. Great pics!


(Joon) #5

If they had this on their menu I’d probably be there way more often.


#6

Thanks for the excellent review and pictures. The food looks awesome. I need to make it back there soon.


#7

That is a nice deal! Drew’s food is world class. Thanks for the report and pics.


#8

So I think I’m heading here on thursday. Any updates on what’s good/new lately?


#9

Ps…can anyone compare Drews to clementines? I suppose that is kind of an open ended question, but I’m curious. I’ve been to Drews quite a few times but have not not tried clementines. @bgut1


#10

Although I have been to Clementine’s, it was so long ago that I don’t recall much about the evening except that the food wasn’t bad but definitely not in the same league of Drew’s. Hence, I’ve never returned and only go to Drew’s. I would also be hesitant to classify Drew’s as a Cajun/Creole restaurant as I don’t believe such a categorization does his food justice.


#11

I agree. His food is more "cajun inspired " and he puts some great creativity into his dishes. His menu has some “metal fries” and berkshire pork belly. I hope to try both tomorrow. I believe these are some of his seasonal apps. I’ll report back. I’m heading there tomorrow and have a reservation.

I’m guessing his fries will be massive and delicious if I know drew.


#12

Enjoy your meal. I look forward to your report.


(Junior) #13

I look forward to seeing what you have to say about your experience. My last time there was a “meh” experience, could be I’m just use to his cooking so the “wow” factor has worn off a bit. Anywho…it’s getting to be Drew’s weather again so I’ll be back again myself, I can’t eat his food in the summer way too heavy. Enjoy and report back!!


#14

So I kind of left with the same feeling jr. All the dishes were solid and I had a nice time but I wasn’t wowed. My chili rubbed pork chop was tasty but after my life altering introduction to the Angelica pork chop, I’ve been searching for that level of pork and simply can’t find it.

The jambalaya dishes were huge and spicy my friends said. I probably should have gone with that. One friend had blackened mako and the other a deep fried eggplant carved out and breaded. It was filled with shrimp and crab meat.

The voodoo shrimp were very good but I recall the dish being larger. It comes with 5 and I think probably 16/20. To be honest, the angry shrimp/lobster dish at catch is a better app in my eyes. @joonjoon can back me up on this plate.

We got two orders of the eggplant meatballs…deep fried and panko breaded. They came three to an order. These were quite unique but after having some of my Syracuse smuggled Ascioti’s meatballs the night before, these can’t hold a candle to a wonderful beef/pork meatball mix.

The BBQ pulled pork mac and cheese was very tasty and in true drew fashion, you can feel your heart clogging as you eat this. It was gooey, not very “pork flavored” but you got some, and the
bread crumb topping drizzled with BBQ sauce made it stand out. Overall, this was a good dish.

And the best for last…the bourbon-cola glazed Berkshire pork belly was off the charts! Fatty, sweet, salty, crispy outside, tender pork goodness. Good lord…I think I might go back and just order two of these and a dessert. THIS DUDE DEEP FRIES CHUNKS OF PORK BELLY! LOL.
The pickles were great and the pickled onions were literally like eating candy…amazing. This was by far the highlight of the night for me. I could probaby sit and watch a movie and eat these onions like popcorn if given the chance.

Service was spot on. Bread was ample and good like usual. I’ll get to my few gripes in a little.

Overall Drews is still going strong. It was not the greatest Drews night but nothing was bad and you still can’t get much better food around here unless you know where to get specific dishes at each spot. I’m probably being over-critical but again, solid food all around but just not the best I’ve had from him. More to come…


(Eli Paryzer) #15

We had a mini HOdown at Drew’s Sunday night with an esteemed HO member. It was Keyport restaurant week, (with an excellent value of $35.00 for 3 courses), but we decided to order off of the main menu. Mark, the Sous Chef, very generously started us off with a complimentary appetizer of Voodoo Shrimp. It was as good as always.


Mrs. P & I also shared the excellent crispy crawfish cake, with pickled corn chow chow, & spicy chipotle tartar sauce, as well as Drew’s amazing humongous New Orleans broiled oysters in a garlic, parmesan, parsley, & butter sauce.


For entrees Mrs. P had her usual Nashville hot chicken & biscuits, and I had an excellent special of blackened 16 ounce porterhouse chop, on the bone, in a Cajun bacon demi glace, with whipped sweet potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.

For dessert we had the blood orange sorbet and oreo cookie ice cream. Mark also comped us with beignets.


(Roz Rappaport) #16

Eli, It was truly a pleasure meeting you and Mrs. P. last night at Drew’s. Such delightful company!

I’m ashamed to admit how long it’s been since our last visit to Drew’s. I checked my photo sets this morning, and turns out it was July 31, 2014! OY!

Now for some more particulars…

Mr. & Mrs. P. brought two bottles of wine while Michael (aka Mr. RBI) brought a bottle of Paulaner Wheat Beer to pair with his Jambalaya. Teetoler moi drank house made lemonade.

Michael and I started by sharing the always excellent Southwestern Caesar Salad. It has a bit of a spicy kick, and topping it with crispy tortilla chips instead of croutons as they used to provided a stronger, appealing crunch. We both had some of the Voodoo Shrimp – never a fault with it – and Mr. & Mrs. P. generously offered Michael one of the oysters. (Oysters are not my thing.)

As mentioned, Michael’s main was the Jambalaya. No matter how often he says he might order something else, he always reverts to form. Ever a humungous portion, so he ate about half, and we took the rest home.

Like Mrs. P., my main was the chicken & biscuits. I have to be honest and say that I found this disappointing. The thickness of the coating kept it from being crispy, and it didn’t adhere well to the chicken. The chicken itself was rather dry which I’ve found is a common downside to using breasts instead of thighs and legs when doing this kind of fried chicken. I didn’t detect any sweet potato flavor in the biscuit, and the greens weren’t to my taste. I took the leftovers home because Michael said he’d be happy to eat them.

Michael’s dessert was the Irish Carbomb Sundae, while I had the SPCCT which has always been and remains seriously delicious. Since I’d been considering getting the beignets, I really appreciated Mark’s generosity in sending them out. Loved them and even got to take several home.

The photo set for this dinner is on my Flickr here.

My Blog
My Flickr


(Eli Paryzer) #17

Roz, it was a pleasure meeting you & Michael as well!

I am so sorry that you didn’t enjoy the chicken. It’s possible that the dryness of the chicken was because a Nashville style hot chicken needs to be brushed with the hot oil towards the end of cooking, to give it the crispiness, and to make it a little juicier. You had the hot oil & black pepper ranch dressing on the side, (as did Mrs. P), which tends to make it a little dryer and less crispy. Also, Drew uses a very thick chicken breast which can tend to dry out quicker. The bacon braised collard greens on the side are an acquired taste. Mrs. P doesn’t really like the biscuits either. Drew used to make the chicken with crispy jalapeno cheddar waffles which were so much better than the biscuits. I don’t know why he went away from using the waffles.


#18

I’m glad you had a great time HOs. I haven’t had a bad meal there yet over the years. Wonderful pics!


#19

Awesome reports from @paryzer and @RGR and thank you for the wonderful pictures.


(Eli Paryzer) #20

My pleasure, bgut1! Roz’s pictures are a lot better than mine because she has a much better camera :wink: