I took my friend here after reading rave reviews, including the NY times (albeit second hand) and having the restaurant highly recommended by a couple friends. The experience was very disappointing and there are so many better restaurants in the area. First, the neighborhood and the restaurant is shabby. The decor was tacky and the place didn't have a well cared for feel. The live entertainment was too loud and after a while it was too much.
The service was fine and the staff was really friendly. They really talked up the dishes.
The semolina bread was so dry and without a crispy crust. It was served with a parsley pesto that was so dry my friend wouldn't eat it. The salad came in a bowl family style and had lot of the romaine ribs in it. It was fresh but that's about it. The dressing of carrot and other puréed things was really good.
I had the pan fried Chilean sea bass over spinach and cheese ravioli. It's the next day and I still feel queasy thinking about all the oil that it slopped around in. To make my point I tilted my plate so my companion could see all the oil. He said maybe it's partly the water from the spinach. The piece of fish was small and looked deep fried rather than pan fried. It was so greasy but crispy. The fish itself tasted ok. The spinach was good and the cheese ravioli were just OK but on the end seemed an odd complement to the dish, especially in the pool of liquid.
My friend got the bracciole and he said it was just OK. He ordered a side of the wild mushroom risotto which we both looked forward to. It was really dark brown and dry and sticky - not creamy as you would expect. I tasted it and it had a nice flavor. He said it was mushy and not made right.
We got ice cream down at Pier Village in Long Branch rather than stay at the place.
Puzzled by all the positive reviews.
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