The Food & Wine Walk has become a Red Bank tradition, a full culinary tour of the town organized by the River Center and the eateries and restaurants. There’s no better way to see what Red Bank has to offer than walking around the 30+ participating venues to sip and savor their signature dishes and drinks.
This is an overview of one of 2017’s summer Walks, to give you an idea of what you can expect. This year, a ticket is $35 and it gives you unlimited access to samples from every participating restaurant. Believe me, it’s a great value, considering you get a huge variety of food, from steaks to delicious desserts, from tapas to tacos, as well as beer, wine and other cocktails.
The next Food & Wine Walk is on Sunday, September 17, 2017, from 2pm – 5pm. There’s more information, as well as online ticket sales on their own website.
So here’s my story from back in August, a wonderful afternoon of strolling through the little streets of Red Bank:
I started from the White Street parking lot and the first stop was Dish, where Chef Anthony Ferrando was serving one of his signature dishes, the braised short rib, one of the softest, tastiest meats you can find in a local steakhouse. It was well accompanied by a side of polenta.
Turning left on Broad St, I was first welcomed by Patrizia’s. Their pasta filled with ricotta cheese was a good sample of their fine Italian dishes. Next door, Robinson’s Ale House was a very nice stop. The pesto flatbread was a treat, and it was paired with a cup of Robinson’s Ale, their custom beer developed in partnership with the Flying Fish brewery.
Taylor Sam has recently opened (in the space where Mac Attack used to be), and it looks like a very nice breakfast / deli place. Their mini – pork roll egg and cheese really made me want to come back again.
The Bistro served calamari salad, which was very good, and they took more care of the Food Walk guests as they were invited to sit down and get table service (most other places would have a designated area where you pick up your sample). Around the corner on Front Street I stopped at Jimmy Johns. I really like their sandwiches and the ham, cheese and mayo wrap was very good, as expected.
Across Front Street, Hansel & Griddle was a nice surprise. I have to admit I’ve never been there before, and I don’t know why. It seems like an outstanding breakfast place. And they went out of their way for the Food Walk, offering a full breakfast: tater tots, pork roll and egg quesadillas (one of their signature dishes), BBQ or hot wings. They were so good that you could pretty much fill up here and not be able to continue the Walk. Definitely can’t wait to come back here!
A few doors down, in the cavernous place where Fixx used to be, a new restaurant opened this June – 26 West. It’s really a nice upscale change. Everything looks elegant and very white, with [remote] views of the Navesink. They have some nice menu options, and this is where the Food & WINE Walk party was really going on. We were served with risotto and octopus salad, as well as a choice of Dry Riesling or Prosecco. The bar was very busy, and I’m sure a lot of visitors who just discovered this place will come back for dinner.
Downtown is a Red Bank staple that doesn’t need any more promotion, but they still had a nice spread, with barbeque chicken, lobster quiche, and a choice of red or white Sangria. Down the street, Red Rock Tap & Grill is Downtown’s competitor for light fare and happy hour, but they tried to outdo them for the Walk. At the tiki bar they were serving both super-tasty buffalo balls and a nicely-sized cup of Asbury Park craft blonde beer.
Boondocks was a bit out of the way on the event map, but lots of people flocked down past Marine Park and the heavy sailboat activity on the river to try the lobster mac & cheese. Coming back on Broad St, I made a quick stop at Readies. Their food is great, but by now, if you’ve read the story so far, you can imagine I was more than full. However, I couldn’t skip their serving of antipasto and bean salad, especially since they stayed open late for this event.
Temple Gourmet Chinese put out another great offering, with boneless pork and spicy chicken, very tasty and plentiful. So for the first time, I thought I was ready for some dessert. And the perfect place was Carlo’s Bakery. They offered a variety of small cakes (I picked the nutella one – delicious!), but I was impressed with their pastry offerings (haven’t been there before, but I’d had their celebratory cakes at different occasions).
Turning on to Monmouth St, I enjoyed the rolled up pizza bites from Mr Pizza Slice, as well as their “secret” milkshake. Next door, The Spice & Tea Exchange served very good spiced pork (yes, could still savor it after so many other meat samples today), accompanied by hot herbal tea. To finish up with the desserts I also tried Antoinette Boulangerie’s coconut macaroons, and then it was already wine o’clock!
So I crossed the street to the Wine Cellar, which was offering a three-wine tasting. First a french wine blend, then a heavier, drier Labatut from Bordeaux, and finally a very flavorful Aluado from Portugal. The short break here and the good wines made me hungry again, so the final stop in downtown Red Bank was at one of my favorite places – Teak. And they were splurging for the food walk – Amazing sashimi tuna with sesame seeds and another big cup of red sangria.
For the final stops, I had to drive to the Galleria, and I started at O Bistro Francais. I’ve never been there and wanted to see it, as I like French food, but they were closed. However, they left the food samples in the lobby, and they were good – a quiche and some kind of ratatouille. Then at Danny’s Steakhouse, Danny Murphy himself was presenting his pairing of shrimp with delicious white sauce and white wine. Across the street, I made the effort to try the chicken sautee with peanut sauce, an amazing combination from Siam Garden, but I really could eat anymore by the time I got to Urban Coalhouse. I just finished up the day with sangrias, both red and white.
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