I had lunch at Via 45 the first year they opened. It was not the first day they were open, but they were kind-of crowded. Several women were having lunch in the front window in the summertime and I got a table near them. They were enjoying themselves and invited me to share their table, which I did. They were fun, and the food was delicious.
In spite of the prices (good food requires good ingredients and good people to prepare it, and that necessarily costs money) I usually eat there twice a week. I read all the reviews here and find them very interesting. It make me think there are two different Via 45 restaurants in Red Bank. The one where I eat, that is always wonderful, and the one a few of the others go to, probably only once, where they have a bad experience. I have never been disappointed.
Someone praised the mussels diavolo. They are very good, but after a while I tired of the sauce, so I tend to request a white wine sauce instead, and it is always available because they are cooked to order, so they can make any sauce they have the ingredients for. And while I love their salmon with balsamic reduction for a sauce, I often order it with a cream sauce. Sometimes none at all, but with a mustard-based one. It is not like the mustard on a hot dog.
About the speed of the service. It is my opinion that eating here IS the event of the evening. Some people go out to eat, and then rush to the movie, the theatre, or a concert. For me, dining at Via 45 IS the event; It is an artistic experience in its own right. So I need not rush.
About reservations: Except for Friday and Saturday, it used to be possible to just walk in and get a table if you got there around 6PM. Not anymore. It is necessary to reserve in advance. I do not know how much in advance, because I eat there so often I have a standing reservation for my two usual evenings. I let them know in advance if I will be unable to come. I think that says it all. This place is good enough that I would do that, and they go along with it.