Thanks to some help from some of my awesome Twitter friends ,I’ve rounded up some of the best spots to grub out near Monmouth Park on a $200, $100 and $60 budget for two. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t already planning my United Nations Stakes and Haskell Stakes weekend visits around dining at these places – I can’t wait for the food or the great racing days ahead!
$200: Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant has a picture perfect location on the New Jersey Shore in Long Branch. What could be better than their gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean you ask? The food!
Order the Shell Bouquet from the raw bar: two lobster claws, four Blue Point oysters, four little nick clams and three shrimp. There is no better start to your Oceanside dining experience.
If you’re like me, you’ll want a nice glass of wine to accompany your seafood dinner – a bottle of the Stags Leap Wine Cellars 2009 (Napa, Calif.) is a refreshing blend of white grapefruit, lemon, pear and mineral.
For entrees the Baked Rainforest Tilapia crusted with lemon and parmesan; lobster and goat cheese smashed potatoes and brussels sprouts with candied pecans and prosciutto or the pan seared Yellowfin Tuna with wasabi and Japanese “panko” bread crumbs, grilled asparagus, orange-ginger sauce, drizzled cusabi sauce and pickled ginger, sour cream, and chive mashed potatoes are the way to go!
$100: PASCAL and SABINE, named after the characters from French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse’s signature work, The Red Balloon, Pascal and Sabine hasn’t been open for long, but they’re already making a huge name for themselves among the local foodies.
As mentioned on their site, “Pascal and Sabine is a fresh take on the European brasserie, where good, simple food, strong drink, and those passing through come together to create a rich, sensory experience of precocious exuberance.”
This Asbury Park spot is a must visit after a winning day at the races.
For starters you can't go wrong with a cheese plate (Morbier, P'Tit Basque, Epoisses, and Bleu) or a charcuterie platter (chicken liver mousse, homemade pate du jour, saucisson sec and pork rillettes).
For the entrees go for an order of the Duck Duo (seared duck breast and confit leg, swiss chard, fingerling potatoes, and duck jus) and an order of the Coq Au Vin (chicken stewed in red wine with mushrooms, pearl onions, and bacon, with pomme puree).
To accompany your entrees split the roasted asparagus with brown butter and preserved lemon or the pommes frites with dijon aioli.
Seared 38 hour sous vide short rib, carrot purée, flageolet beans, red wine jus.
Be sure to leave room for one of their special desserts – if they taste even half as good as they look on their Instagram feed you won’t be sorry. Both the blueberry-almond clafoutis with whipped cream and lemon zest (pictured below) and pistachio financier with brandied cherries and flor di latte gelato looked ‘to die for delicious.’
Not sure you can stomach dessert? Cap off your delicious meal with an American, Espresso or Cappuccino from the espresso bar and I promise you'll leave there happy (and delightfully full).
$60: Jersey Shore BBQ: Texas in New Jersey! There’s something special about enjoying BBQ on a glorious summer night – if you agree with me on that, than this is the place for you. All of their meats are dry rubbed and slow smoked over local hardwoods. You can’t beat that owner, Doug Walsh, spent the greater part of a decade in the great Lone Star State of Texas learning the art of traditional smoked food before returning "home" to New Jersey and bringing the BBQ with him!
A Rancher Wedge salad with house smoked bacon, diced tomatoes, and blue cheese is the perfect appetizer before you dive into your main meal.
For someone like me who can't make up her mind on what to have for her main meal (because everything on the menu sounds yummy) the Rib Sample Meal is the perfect entrée – a little bit of everything.
I betcha thought trifectas were only for the track – not here. Their build your own meal Monmouth Tri-Fecta gives you a choice of three meats and two sides. The Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage, Sliced Beef Brisket, and Pulled Chicken sounds like the perfect triple to me!
Both entrées are served with two sides and the first also comes with cornbread, pickles and their special BBQ Sauce so neither of you will go home hungry! As for those sides get four different ones between the two of you so you can try each one. Which four would I choose? The collard greens, tomato cuke salad, mac n' cheese and cole slaw (although all of them sound equally delicious and tempting).
There were countless other great restaurant suggestions near ‘The Shore’s Greatest Stretch’ so if you don’t make it to one of these selections be sure to go explore, try something new and enjoy your visit to Monmouth Park. What’s your favorite place to grab grub near the track?