New openings, a returning chef, artisanal donuts. There’s a lot happening on the Monmouth County culinary scene. Here’s the scoop.
Just opened: Bob and Chris Fahey have done it again. The brothers, who opened Cross & Orange in Asbury Park earlier this year, closed Edgar’s Pub in Manasquan and reworked it to become Reef & Barrel. The place pays homage to the local beach culture, with a coastal ambiance, live music, rooftop dining and a seasonal menu focusing on locally sourced ingredients. Fans of the old Edgar’s, don’t cry over your burger; Reef & Barrel still has the Edgar’s burger on the menu (now called the Classic) as well as a 60/40 burger (60 percent rib eye, 40 percent ground bacon) copped from Cross & Orange’s offerings.
Reef & Barrel, 153 Sea Girt Ave., Manasquan, 732.449.4114; reefandbarrel.com
Over in Asbury Park, it’s a clear case of addition by subtraction. Blu Nami closed its doors earlier in 2015. But owner Joseph Cetrulo, who also owns Cubacan, a Cuban restaurant next door, had an idea. He knocked down the wall between the two restaurants to create Cubacan Cantina in the old Blu Nami location. So now there’s one large space with the same menu and service but two distinct vibes. (The cantina is more intimate and vibrant.)
Cubacan Cantina, 800 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, 732.774.3007; cubacanrestaurant.com
At Duck Donuts the proprietors make your donut to order. You not only get to choose how you want it, you get it warm and fresh. Try it for yourself, now that the first Duck Donuts in New Jersey recently opened in Middletown. You choose your coating (perhaps cinnamon or peanut butter) and topping (yes, the rumor is true, bacon is among the toppings available) so they can create your very own delicious donut(s) while you wait. There are other menu items like muffins and yogurt, but don’t leave without a donut and, of course, something to dunk it in.
Duck Donuts, 1275 Route 35, Middletown, 732.671.3825; duckdonuts.com
Chef on the move: Fans of Dominique Filoni’s French fare will be happy to hear that he’s returned to Avenue in Long Branch as executive chef, teaming up once again with general manager and fellow Frenchman Thierry Carrier. Filoni, born and raised in St. Tropez, France, was the executive chef at this beachside take on a classic Parisian brasserie from 2009 to 2014. Now he’s back, after a stint in Florida, and excited to be working with “family and friends” again. We’re excited he’s back too.
Avenue, 23 Ocean Ave., Long Branch, 732.759.2900; leclubavenue.com