Elli's Backyard, Red Bank

Although I am still saddened by the loss of Via45, I found myself in that space enjoying my evening once again. The new restaurant at 45 Broad St in Red Bank, Elli’s Backyard, had its soft opening last night.

The menu leans towards Italian so I had the chicken parm. After all, any chef in this area worth his salt should be able to do a good parm. When it arrived, two massive white meat fried cutlets sat atop a mound of linguini. It was really good. Crispy juicy chicken with a nice tomato sauce and just enough sauce and cheese to accompany, not smother the chicken.

There is also an Asian bent to some other dishes, most notably the teriyaki with rice served in a hollowed out half pineapple. We saw a few go by and they looked beautiful. We opted for the miso glazed salmon over fried rice instead. The fish had a ton of flavor and the rice wasn’t at all greasy. We enjoyed it all very much.

We also shared a house-made flourless chocolate torte that was almost a light ganache and was just sweet enough. Very nice.

The owner said they are going to be changing up the menu every 90 days. He also said he is waiting for a huge wheel of imported cheese so he can do cacio y pepe tableside. I look forward to more meals here.

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@seal Glad you enjoyed it. I wanted to check out the menu but… There is no website!

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There’s something I’ll NEVER understand.
But if you can access Instagram, here’s their page. There’s also a link on IG to OpenTable.

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I did check their Instagram. No help there!

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( the best I can do for ya, sneak peak)

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This place looks really interesting. Prices are fair. Could be a big hit.
Does anyone think it would be family friendly?

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There was a bunch of kids there last night. Plus there is another page of menu items with some sandwiches and things so I think so.

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Have you been to Pazzo? How would you compare it?

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All I had was the chicken parm and that would compare well with Pazzo or any parm.

This place was AWESOME!!! the food was amazing
And Patrick (young owner) is on site everyday all day making sure service and needs are met… actually asked for a specific sugar and he went out of his way to make sure I got it
I wish him all the best with much success as this is definitely a little gem
It’s a must try!!!

This is not a “review.” It quotes the owner’s reasons for opening the restaurant and tells you some of the food you’ll find there. Nothing about the author’s opinion re: the quality of the food, the service, etc. So, imo, basically a p.r. piece.

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I went last night and had an enjoyable time. A few observations, I’m not sure I agree with the seating arrangements, the tables are either picnic tables with attached benches or 8 tops. We were a party of 4 and we were seated at an 8 top (thankfully) if I was given a picnic table I probably would have left.

The “back yard” theme is throughout the meal. Picnic tables as well as fake greenery adorned the walls and ceilings. There are patches of artificial grass on the tables and your plate sits on a cross section of a tree.

The food was quite enjoyable we split the mussels as an appetizer and they were good. They give you a nice pre-sliced Italian bread with a nicely seasoned evoo that almost makes an appetizer itself.

Entrees were: Lamb Chops (myself) salmon (wife) and a burger (on special a smoked burger served in a glass bowl when removed a plume of smoke rises, interesting), I honestly forgot the 4th meal.

Everything was good 3 double cut lamb chops with a balsamic drizzle on top of home fries, all good and a decent value at $26.

My wife’s salmon she enjoyed and said it was cooked perfectly however it was served over “Chinese fried rice” which was “ok” but certainly nothing special.

The burger received good review - however the glass smoke thing is for “wow” factor vs any culinary enhancement. So good burger unique presentation.

Desert was back yard themed as well, it was a brownie sundae served in a mini wheelbarrow with small shovel as utensils. It again was good, but not “great”.

All in all a nice night but nothing to make me want to run back. Certainly not on a Semolina level nor on the level of their predecessors.

When I go back I will try the chicken parm which is supposed to be their signature dish, just wasn’t feeling it last night.

Give it a try for yourself just be warned about the seating!!

One side note: the owner is one of the servers or the food runner, he was all over the floor delivering food. One of our dinner companions wanted to chat him up a bit, she made a few attempts and while he was understandably busy, he seemed rather put off by the request to talk. I completely understand being busy “in the moment” but during the night you should be able to squeeze in 5 uninterrupted minutes to accommodate a customers inquires about your new venture. He seems as if he could use a bit of a hospitality refresher course.

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@NotJrvedivici I replied upthread to a post by @CurlzNJ which she described as a “review,” but which I felt was just a p.r. piece. Her post seems to have disappeared. Now, we have a genuine, detailed review from someone we trust. So, thanks for that! Unfortunately, the fact that picnic tables with benches comprise most of the outdoor seating (very uncomfortable for me because of back problems), and I doubt they’d seat just the two of us at a table for eight, though the food sounds decent enough to give it a try, we won’t be going to Elli’s.

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

― Jonathan Gold