Our original plans were for reservations at Drew’s with another couple, somehow we became party of 8 people and Drew’s could no longer accommodate us. (no hard feelings, kudos to them for being so busy) I was not directly involved in the decision making but from what I understand is some other local fav’s were also booked for a party that size so we wound up with reservations at Tuzio’s.
I’ve lived in Monmouth County for 25 years and the neighborhood rivalry of Tuzio’s vs. Nunzio’s is legendary. The two establishments on the same block, on the “other side of the tracks” where people line up around the block during the summer to go to. I was actually looking very forward to the meal as I’ve never dined at either location.
We ordered a couple of apps to start mussels, fried calamari (2) and the house salad ($22.95 for two but really for 4+) The apps were all good, nothing to complain about everyone enjoyed. The salad is ridiculously large for 2 people, but the salad for one is $ 15.95 so the two person size was enough for all 8 of us to try. Apparently they are known for their serving sizes and the apps were all decent to generous in size.
For entree I had chicken murphy, my wife got the shrimp and lobster francaise. While my portion size was large, it was 75% peppers, onions and potatoes. The actual chicken was two thinly pounded pieces that were literally buried under the mound of accompaniments. The flavor was very good, but again the protein was fairly limited given the ridiculous mound that was served.
My wife’s was not served over pasta, but it was swimming in the sauce. The flavor was good but it was really way over sauced to almost soupy. They are known for their chicken parm which one was ordered and did receive high compliments. There was a fish special which was enjoyed and I honestly don’t recall what the other 4 meals were, but they seemed to be enjoyed.
Desert followed for a few they did not seem prepared on premises but were good none the less. I enjoyed a nice double espresso and sambuca for my desert. Next is the worse part of the night…
$ 70. per person (including tax and tip) I had 3 cocktails including the sambucar, I would say that was on average for half of the table, so we did have a decent amount of alcohol on the check.
The food was typical pizza parlor nothing special while nothing offensive. The ambiance is Elks Club/VFW hall, I didn’t have the pizza so unless that is exceptional I really have no idea how this place has been in business so long. We had 8pm reservations and we were the last people in the place (including the bar) by 10:30 when we left.
I wish I had something better to say about the place, especially knowing it’s legendary status but overall it was just “ok”.