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Fourth of July weekend here at the Jersey shore was always hectic as usual–fireworks, a barbecue, grandson’s birthday, a bar so imagine how surprised and pleased I was when my favorite daughter (I can safely say that since she is my only daughter) told hubby and I to go out for a romantic dinner and she would cover it. Needless to say her father was delighted since he would get the pick of the menu. Needless to say so was I since I would be served NOT serving.
Most locals here in Ocean County plan around the weekend–just too many tourists on the roads. However, since this was a weekday, the roads were clear. So off we drove to Chris Roberts Italian Grille and Bistro adjacent to Pepino’s Pizzeria about a mile from the Seaside Bridge.
Recently renovated, Chris Roberts’s bright, clean atmosphere fits every occasion–casual, family, romantic. As observer me checked out entrees being carried out to other patrons, I knew this was the perfect place to dine. Ambiance good, everything (appetizers, soups, salads, steaks and chops, pasta and more) all generous portions attractively served. BYOB is allowed.
Immediately seated, our attentive waiter patiently answered all my many questions as he placed sweet water and fresh Italian bread hot from the oven and seasoned butter on the table. Our tasty ample salads (house and caesar) made with only fresh ingredients and no bottled dressing excelled. When we finished our first sodas, he had our glasses refilled in an instant without our asking. Now that is a good waiter, something we told the manager when he stopped to visit us and ask how our evening was going.
Time to select the first course:
Beef Carpaccio–Hubby said he liked it enough to order this thinly sliced raw meat perfectly seasoned and served with served atop arugula again. That’s quite a compliment since he is a strictly meat and potatoes man.
Eggplant Rollatini–More tapas than beginning, my 5 star eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella and marinara could have been mistaken for veal.
Filet Mignon Bistro Style–Hubby’s description, “Eight ounces of angus with wild mushroom and potato hash as ordered, grilled to perfection.” I might add that he cleared the plate and wished there was more.
Blue Water Crab Cakes–My description, “Fresh, classic with corn & black bean salsa, equal to those served at my favorite Maryland haunts.” I must say that up until now, this particular entree previously served in other local restaurants has only been a disappointment.
Note: Choices were hard as the endings selections were many, all fresh and made either by the chef or a nearby local bakery. Hubby had cannoli cake which he wouldn’t share even one crumb. I had tiramisu. This coffee flavored ladyfingers in cream dessert cannot be described as anything other than sweet, luscious, rich, decadent and served with cappuccino heaven sent.
Time to go home, hubby leaving a generous tip, told me he would like to return here again even though menu selections are a trifle pricey. Now that is quite an endorsement because my man is one fussy eater. Let’s face it though, you get what you pay for and quality costs more than fast food and take out. I like Chris Roberts’s innovative cuisine. Chris Roberts Italian Grille and Bistro is located at 2206 NJ-37W, Toms River, New Jersey. Open seven days a week, call 732-288-0111 for hours. Reservations are accepted but not required.