The 160 acres of undulating meadows and copses of oak, maple, sweet gum, and pine at The Links Golf Club were transformed into a championship course by Frederick W. Hawtree, who designed more than 300 courses around the globe, including the Royal Birkdale course, in partnership with his father and son. Hawtree drew inspiration from the natural lay of the land while contriving narrow fairways and bunkered greens that reward precision. Water comes into play on the 8th, 11th, and 18th holes, swallowing poorly aimed balls so oysters can turn them into pearls. Before hitting the course, golfers can rev their engines at any of the driving range’s 15 hitting stations. After a day of sinking cleated feet into bent grass, players can toast success at the copper-topped bar in the member lounge or bite into sandwiches and seafood at the club's restaurant.
Course at a Glance:
For the past 20 years, Illiano Cucina Mediterranea chefs have prepared more than 15 kinds of pasta dishes, with sauces ranging from pesto and vodka cream to alfredo and pomodoro. Veal and chicken are dressed 15 different ways, including with a marsala wine sauce with mushrooms. Out in the dining room, pale-yellow linen napkins top each table, folded to look like a blossoming flower. It’s a touch that complements the many scenic pictures of Italy’s coast on the walls, creating a setting that’s ideal for family reunions or romantic dinners.
It may be New Jersey, but the pizza style is decidedly New York. Either in family or personal sizes, the pies on Original People's Pizza & Family Restaurant's menu pack toppings of ricotta cheese, fried onions, or fresh basil and can be stuffed or served in either classic New York or Sicilian slices. Fifteen years have helped the chefs add Big Apple flavor to its Italian classics in a variety of forms. There are entrees of chicken giardino, a chicken breast sauteed with mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, or scallops served with spinach and peas in a white wine sauce. Then there are the pasta dishes, which use fresh noodles to soak up garlic sauce and corral littleneck clams just the way swimming pool noodles soak up pool water and littleneck clams.
A BYOB eatery, Ristorante Marcello's Pizzeria serves a menu that merges Italian staples such as linguine and clams with innovative dishes like crab mac 'n' cheese or buffalo-eggplant bites. The kitchen team adds an element of surprise to its specialty pizzas with pies such as the cheese steak and fried onion or the Spiral pizza—which was what NFL quarterback Johnny Unitas would toss to his hungry receivers.
Behind stone countertops lit by orange pendant lights, staff members slice up thin-crust pizza, fill plates with pasta, and pile Angus beef burgers with toppings and condiments. Chefs slide over plates of Italian specialties such as veal parmigiana and penne alfredo as well as American-style fare such as wraps and chicken wings. Soft drinks from the soda fountain splash into ice-filled cups to accompany dinners, and the restaurant's BYOB policy encourages diners to bring in a bottle of their favorite libation, such as red wine or smoothies made from bottled ships, to accompany all-you-can eat pasta and signature angel pizza with fresh greens and bruschetta tomatoes. For offsite events, the catering menu offers trays of chicken parmigiana, baked ziti, and antipasto to fuel holiday parties and family gatherings.
Visible from the seats bordering Jade Spice's noodle house, chefs handcraft doughy strands in the Lan Zhou style. The history of this technique stretches back 160 years, to when nomadic people of northwest China began serving the pulled noodles in clear, aromatic broth to their honored guests. Jade Spice's own honored guests savor these handmade noodles alongside a broad menu of meat and vegetarian dishes, washing them down with beverages brought from home. Drawing inspiration from 30 years in the restaurant industry, owner Hong Zhang masterfully blends tradition with modernity within Jade Spice. Ceremonial vases and statues make their homes amid a sleek decor of red booths, red walls, red rafters, and bashful greenery.