Heirloom Kitchen, Old Bridge [NJ]

(Junior) #41

Who woulda’ thunk, I’ve been enjoying little fallen angels in my martini’s for years!!!

I"m going to try and order it that way next time: “Stoli martini up with fallen angels please”!


After too long of a delay, my wife and I finally made it out to Heirloom Kitchen this past weekend and were blown away by the amazingly creative food and the friendly service. We started out with the sourdough bread and homemade butter (fantastic), the octopus (the softest I’ve ever had), and the pork belly (with contrasting flavors and textures of the peanuts, pickled jalapeno and caramel sauce). For entrees I had the duck while my better half had the lobster gnocchi. I enjoyed my entree more than my wife enjoyed hers though they both were very good. Though not a knock on the place, we both felt that the starters were a bit more interesting and better composed than the two entrees. Similarly, the desserts (the chocolate root cake and lemongrass semifreddo) which while enjoyable were just a bit much and could’ve benefited from being toned down a bit. All in all, the food was excellent and the chef exhibited some major talent. If I had to express any true criticism with the restaurant, it would be with the furniture which I found to be a bit too flimsy and restricting as our table for two was on the small side with very little room between the table legs to comfortably sit with the chair under the table (and I don’t think I am that large of a person). One more thought, you can tell how good a restaurant is when you are already planning your next visit before your meal ends. Heirloom Kitchen was such a place and we can’t wait to return. P.S. - the amuse bouche and mignardises were unexpected and well done little touches.


Snagged a last minute ressie for 4 last night. It was on the early side at 5:30 and the meal didn’t end until 8:15 but didn’t drag on at all. With 4 of us, sampled close to the entire menu (I think the only thing we didn’t try was the chicken entree which tempted us). Every dish was very well done, with the standouts being two of the starters – pork belly and tuna tartare. The pork belly was outrageously good – probably the best rendition I’ve had. The service was exceptional and our lead waitress Cynthia, a stranger before the meal, hugged us all on our way out the door. They make you feel like family and eating at the dinette-like tables (noted by bgut) adds to the vibe (we were at a spacious table for 4 with seated cushions, but I could see the two-top being cramped). A great night all around and can’t wait to return.


Cynthia was our server as well and she was fantastic. I am happy you enjoyed your meal.


We love Cynthia! She is always so warm and friendly. And the best part is since we bring the baby during early Sunday dinners, she will take her and walk her around!! Glad you enjoyed your dinner!

(Junior) #46

Wow…rarely has there been an experience that has left me with such mixed feelings on a restaurant. I’m not sure where to really begin so I guess I will just go though the night. Hopefully I can wrap this up in less than the 3+ hours dinner lasted.

We had 5:00 reservations last night (Sunday) at the “Chef’s Table”, the actual station were they cook. (see pics) I was very happy we had these seats because as previously mentioned the tables and chairs in the dining room do not look very comfortable, especially if you have a history of breaking chairs as I do. For a Sunday night the place did fill up by 6:30/7pm.

The were two downfall(s) to sitting here;
1.) It was very warm last night and the AC isn’t on in the restaurant so it was uncomfortably warm.
2.) Similar to dining at hibachi I need to dry clean my suit jacket.

The bright side of this is you do get a very up close and personal chat with the owner/partner/chef David. We were a group of 6 so we occupied ¾ of the table, after arriving we were greeted by our server (I didn’t get his name) some wine was poured and we settled in. I was dining with two couples who are Heirloom Kitchen “regulars” who have a rapport with Chef David and by the end of the meal I feel I now have one as well.

They had a pre-fixed menu, ala’ carte menu and it was also “ramen night”. I decided to go with the pork belly app (based on all the reviews) and lamb chops entree off the regular menu. Being the last to order and being directly in front of the stove I was unable to really hear much of what was going on with the rest of the party, but as the waiter took my order he informed me because we were a “large group” the ala’ carte menu was not available… (lamb chaps were not a pre-fix option) So with a leap of faith I went pork belly and duck. (there were only 3 entrée’s on the pre-fix menu they were chicken breast – duck – gnocchi pasta) I generally would NEVER order duck on a first trip to a restaurant because in my opinion there is no average duck, there is either excellent or bad duck, nothing in between. I wasn’t going to have chicken (my wife did though) and I’m avoiding carbs so I took the duck leap.

The pork belly was excellent, however in my opinion it was too foo-foo. It came with picked jalapeño, celery, unidentified greens and candied nuts. It was excellent don’t’ get me wrong the combinations were very good, but in my opinion they took away from, instead of added to the pork belly. More a distraction from the delicious porky taste I’m looking for when I order pork belly. It’s my preference you foo-foo something that lacks or needs flavor, rather than distracting me from the flavor(s) I am looking for. This was literally putting a silk hat on a pig.

After an exaggerated break between apps and entrée’s which was particularly frustrating because my duck sat under the heating lamp for literally 15+ mins “resting” as I was salivating. When we were finally served all I can say is……WOW….f’n WOW. Without a doubt the BEST duck I have ever had in my life. NO gamey, oily, greasy factors duck is famous for. If not for the skin you could be fooled into thinking you are having a medium rare piece of steak. Simply OUTSTANDING.

The highlight of the night might have been when Chef David asked me how I was enjoying the duck and I did tell him how excellent it was, however I did offer one suggestion:

Chef David: “How are you enjoying the duck”
Me: “ Honestly the best duck I have ever had….outstanding”
Chef David: “Thank you very much”
Me: “ I do have one suggestion if you are open to some constructive input”
Chef David: “Of course I love hearing new ideas”
Me: “Normally I enjoy my duck with a side of quackers!!”

(stay tuned for Heirloom kitchen comedy night)

I tried a bite of my wife’s chicken and it was the moistest chicken I have ever had, delicious as well. The person who organized this also ordered lamb chops for us to share and again they were very good.

Food is excellent regardless of my personal feelings about the pork belly.

We were not finished with the meal till 8pm however that was partially the slow nature of the restaurant and my “host” being in no rush either.

Here are a few of my takeaways. It’s a very cool place, but the dining room could use an upgrade with the table / chair combinations. I will only sit at the two counters. The food is excellent and personally I respect the fact that even though it’s an open kitchen, it’s a true kitchen. He handles all the food with bare hands, raw to cooked to raw his bare hands are all over everything, as it is in EVERY kitchen. Both chefs’s routinely tasted the food prior to plating and serving as happens in every kitchen. He is very personable and even after my duck joke he continued with our conversation(s) which became enhanced as we discovered some common acquaintances.

Interesting fact, when I asked Chef David he said he lives in Asbury Park and his favorite restaurants are; Grand Tavern, Neptune – Reyla’s – Tilula’s and Pho 99
. Another interesting fact is Chef David said they are in the process of auditioning for some TV show!! This is when I suggested the upcoming comedy night!

Negatives: I do not understand why a table of 6 was relegated to the pre-fixed menu. That seemed pretty ridiculous to me, @ $192. (including tip) for 2, no booze, that’s pretty steep. While the food was excellent, the service was slow which I will partially blame on my host. Eating at the counter was a nice plus; however I would probably be downright pissed off if I was stuck at a table for 3 hours. Once you are at a $100pp without booze I expect a much higher level of service and ambiance than what they provide.

Would I go back, yes absolutely, am I in a rush to go back………probably not.

(Junior) #47

Pictures in order above:

1.) Here ducky ducky ducky…shhhhh it’s “resting”
2.) Lamb chop sample with pickled vegetables
3.) Wife chicken
4.)Duck plated and served (yes that’s granola)
5.) Duck in pan
6.) Suck still resting, lol I guess I took two pics
7.) View from my seat
8.) Below was the pork belly aka pig in a silk hat.


I really understand the long dinners here. Sometimes we don’t mind it, but we have had a couple that extend so far that we are bored. And it has been a little awkward when you are out with other people and dinner lasts forever… We did an early dinner for Father’s Day and had our 1 month old baby and stressed we wanted to move it along. Dinner still took 3 hours.

I’m pretty surprised about the pre-fix menu. Maybe they are trying that out? We haven’t experienced that yet. We went for Ramen Sunday a few weeks ago and the ramen broth was way too salty for me.


Wow 3 hours is definitely a tour. That duck looks great! Is that all you got for a serving?

Also, that pork belly dish, which I’m sure is outstanding, needs a little help like you mentioned.

(Evelyn C. Leeper) #50

Sounds like our three-hour HO Down at Babur Garden. :frowning:

(I always describe it as taking as long as a Passover seder, but without all the ceremony to occupy one.)


Wow that’s a long meal. Holy moly. We only ate their once, it was good but we never made it back.

(Roland) #52

Chef was just nominated for best chef Mid Atlantic by James Beard

(Junior) #53

His food is certainly exceptional.

(David) #54

I still say we all take a private cooking class together there.

(Junior) #55

I’m pretty sure they are charging $ 125pp for pasta making class!?!?! Nah, I’m good.




Just saw an email from Heirloom Kitchen:

Chef David has been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to stage at some of the best restaurants in Europe! While he is away we’re excited to welcome and introduce Guest Chef Rob Santello to our Heirloom Kitchen Family.

“…working as the Executive Chef for such restaurants as Pascal and Sabine and REYLA, both located in Asbury Park.”

They don’t mention it, but iirc, he also opened Barrio Costero, which has some very creative (albeit over-priced, imo) and STUNNING dishes.

(Retired !) #58

Would that be animal quackers?


(Junior) #59

Interesting…I know while I was dining there was a photographer taking a lot of pictures of them cooking. When I inquired he said he was in the running for some cooking / reality show. I wonder if this has anything to do with that. I also wonder what will happen to their menu and pricing. If it speeds things up a bit I’ll be more likely to go back!


We had a full weekend of eating out. I’ll post about it in the respective threads. We had dinner here on Saturday and it was OUTSTANDING. They have significantly worked out the timing. We had 7 pm reservations and were immediately sat. We ordered milk buns (I didn’t ask, but they must be on a hiatus of sourdough). They were light, sweet and so addicting. We also ordered a steak tartar over a pretzel. Holy moly. I didn’t think I would like this, but incredible. Slightly spicy from wasabi. Tangy and bright. Entrees: my husband had the duck (always incredible, he nearly always gets that). I had a cold corn soup with shrimp (gorgeous texture) and a grilled octopus over black rice. Dessert was something I’m still not sure about. Delicious but odd. Shisito pepper cake with an ice cream I can’t recall. I remember looking at the time at one point after we were finishing up entrees and it was 8:20 PM. I urge you to go back. I suspect they will get VERY busy soon.