It’s been a while since my last piece, but during my writing hiatus, I started thinking about all the great restaurants down at the Jersey shore and the not so great ones too. I spend all this energy praising the good, but it may be time to point out the less than stellar that get away with selling good reputations of themselves. I always get asked where to dine around here; with so many choices, how do you weed out the good ones from the overrated ones? Well, there is always Yelp and now there is this. I am outlining the Jersey Shore’s favorite overrated restaurants for you. People love to recommend these spots, but at the end of the day, there truly is nothing special about each one in my opinion. I have given these restaurants more than two tries, but when the bad trends continue or worsen, you can’t give them the benefit of the doubt any longer. Here we go, don’t hate me too much for this!
Char- Red Bank, NJ
The atmosphere and decor at Char is chic and trendy and definitely invites people in with the dim lights and beautiful bar area, but what about the whole experience? Char charges New York city prices for sub par steaks and seafood. I’ve eaten here many times to be served cold food, terrible oysters, bland soups, under cooked vegetables, and inconsistently executed steak that I would feel no shame feeding to my dogs. I actually don’t have dogs, but I am sure you get the idea. Char is clueless on how to run an efficient kitchen. Ouch, the truth hurts, doesn’t it? Don’t waste your money here. If you want a great steakhouse, do yourself a favor and go to the city. If you’re looking for a spot at the Jersey Shore, you’re better off visiting Shipwreck Point in Point Pleasant.
Langosta Lounge- Asbury Park, NJ
How in the world do people rave about this place? They offer up a decent happy hour, but that is where the good times end. I’d like to start by pointing out that when a restaurant serves bread in multiple dishes that so eerily resembles the Hawaiian Sweet rolls that you can buy in your local Shop Rite, we have a serious issue. I am paying $8- $18 for a meal with bread that I can buy in a pack for $3. I personally like to eat things that take some sort of execution when I go spend money at a “nice” restaurant. After all, dining out should be an experience unless you are heading to the Applebees down the road. Additionally, every time I go to Langosta Lounge, they have a portion of their menu sold out or unavailable. This is bad inventory management in the kitchen! Service is also not good. Drinks forgotten and slow service is a bad combination. I don’t want my glass of wine when I am finished with my meal, thank you very much! At that point, you should just cancel the drink order and not charge me. For a restaurant on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean, you go in here hoping for a fabulous experience; all you will get is overpriced food, slow service, and bad food. Langosta Lounge, please stop being complacent because your location is so great. It won’t carry you forever. For an eclectic menu executed consistently each time, go to Barrio Costero in Asbury Park downtown. You will enjoy the experience much more.
Nicholas- Red Bank, NJ
When I read a review comparing Nicholas to fine dining restaurants in new York City, I almost fell off my chair. I recently dined at Jean Georges in NYC and have been to multiple fine dining establishments and Nicholas does not compare. It is almost unfair to give them this kind of reputation to live up to when the whole experience falls a tad bit short. The atmosphere is drab and food is OK. The dishes are plated well and have the fine dining “look” but the taste was average to me! Service was OK as well. They do try here to be fine dining, and probably rank among one of the closest shore restaurants to achieve this, but are not comparable to to New York City or other fine establishments, trust me. You can probably have an equal experience eating their bar menu for less money. Save your money and just go to the city! If you can’t make it through the Lincoln tunnel and need a more local fine dining experience, check out Larimar in Spring Lake.
Avenue- Long Branch, NJ
You walk in to Avenue and automatically oh and ah at the magnificent atmosphere, modern elegance, and of course the gorgeous view of the ocean, but outside of that, there is nothing special here. The food is sub-par, the service has been repeatedly slow and poor, and the prices are a pathetic attempt to mimic some of the best in New York City. The only reason why Avenue makes it is because of the superb location and the Jersey Shore tourists. From the pretentious hostesses all the way down to the miss on the so called French food, stay away from this used to be good restaurant turned disappointment. If you want some good French food at the Jersey Shore, check out Pascal & Sabine in Asbury Park. Atleast the bang is worth your buck there.
Well, I hope that was not too harsh, but I am not looking to fudge the truth here! There are plenty of great restaurants around, so try not to get caught up in the whirlwind of the Jersey Shore’s favorite overrated restaurants!