Brickwall's friendly ambiance livens up the final block of Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park, revitalizing a once-forgotten neighborhood with warming food and local events. An industrial-style interior sets the stage for an eclectic menu of updated homestyle plates, sporting appetizers such as cajun seared shrimp with parmesan grits ($12) and savory main courses such as a dry-rub half-rack of ribs ($15). More herbaceous hankerings can be answered with earthy eats such as potato, pesto, and parmesan fusilli ($14). Satisfy a sweet tooth with a single dessert of blueberry cobbler, or swaddle a whole mouth's worth with a half-dozen post-dinner dishes (desserts are $3 each, or $15 for six). The tavern's extensive drink selection includes ample offerings of wine, beer, and creative cocktails to wet the whistles of patrons lacking their own camel-like water supply.
Restaurateur Tim McLoone has left his mark all over the culinary maps of New Jersey and Maryland with his numerous gourmet grills, which distinguish themselves from one another with unique menus and ambiances that hew to the same level of upscale elegance. Most of Tim’s restaurants set a lovely spread for Sunday brunch with made-to-order omelets, waffles, and a carving station with plump, tender hams. The network of eateries regularly lures hungry passersby during the evening with the aroma of grilled steaks and seafood, and a winning lotto ticket attached to a fishing line. Select locations are also visited by nightly entertainment. The decor at each dining hall is inspired by its surroundings: naval themes prevail at the coastal locations in National Harbor, Sea Bright, and Long Branch, while McLoone’s racing-themed restaurants are located within the off-track facilities in Fords and Bayonne.
A waterfall bubbles into a rippling fishpond, its surface reflecting the colorful string lights on a sprouting tree. Around the rest of the dining room, lattice-style wooden dividers arc and bend beside traditional Japanese screens and the green wisps of plants. To pair with these decorative touches, Takara mingles traditional cooking methods from several Japanese regions in a menu of tabletop hibachi, teriyaki, and delicately wrapped sushi.
Wall sconces cast an orange glow on sashimi and maki rolls of tuna, scallop, and yellowtail, and tableside hibachi chefs slice and mince salmon, lobster, and filet mignon on a heated grill. After scooping up udon noodles from a steaming, kitchen-prepared hot pot, guests can catch the game on several high-definition flat-screen TVs, or test the bartender by asking for the little-known drink "Water on the Rocks."
Chef Tracie Orsi put in years of service in the resort circuit and culinary industry, taking verbal abuse from irate chefs, working under unskilled cooks, and—the final straw—nearly taking a steak sandwich to the face. After discovering the rich flavors and deep-rooted traditions of Cajun cuisine, Tracie decided to run a kitchen her way, cutting up with her friends as she crafts authentic feasts of stew, seafood, pasta, and chicken infused with the rich spices and seasonings of southern Louisiana.
She dices up fresh veggies and jumbo shrimp and sprinkles them throughout a spice-laden array of étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya. Mouths warm up with tender morsels of alligator sausage and spoons swan dive off noses and breach a layer of gruyère cheese before plunging into onion soup. Broccoli, carrots, and squash soak up spicy tomato stew in the veggie creole, and the chicken and shrimp étouffées smother chunks of meat with spicy brown gravy. For dessert, dining companions make telepathic arguments for who should get the bigger halves of bananas-foster and pecan-pie servings. While diners partake, live blues and jazz bands inspire them to pop the corks of BYOB bottles along with the basslines five nights per week.