The Husband and I don’t usually celebrate our birthdays very well. Our big days are only five apart so very often they each get lost in the shuffle of wondering what to do for the other person. Luckily, we’re both pretty low maintenance so it has never bothered us much.
For our fortieth(s) it seemed we should do something a little more formal, even if it was a weeknight.
On Tuesday we headed to the new Bonefish Grill that has just opened in Manalapan to celebrate my birthday. In the name of full disclosure, I had been invited to review the place for this blog, which is why we went to Manalapan instead of the many restaurants within walking distance of our house.
I’ll be honest, my expectations for this dinner were not too high. I had heard great things about Bonefish Grill, but I am a bit of a snob when it comes to food and I never think that food that comes from a restaurant that has more than one location can be all that great. I was hoping only for decent food and not too loud atmosphere.
I got way more.
The location is beautiful, with just the right amount of size and ambient noise that you can have a real conversation without screaming and also feel like people aren’t listening to you at the next table. The staff was excellent as well. It was a Tuesday night, but they acted like it was Saturday. Everyone was on their A game as far as friendliness and speed. Our server, Sam, struck that beautiful balance of being there right when we needed something but it never like she was hovering over our meal.
We never felt rushed and we never worried that it was all taking too long. I even met Daryl, the proprietor of this Bonefish Grill location and he was a wonderful host. Now, you might be skeptical and say of course he was a good host, he knew you were writing a review. Just to bring home what kind of guy Daryl is, one of the first things they did when they opened Bonefish Grill, Manalapan was to partner with Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in order to turn the restaurant’s grand opening into an event where they raised over $7000 for the hungry people of our area. See? He’s a pretty good guy even when he’s not hosting a blogger for dinner.
You’re probably wondering about the important part of this review. What about the food? Oh my gosh, the food. Bonefish Grill prides themselves on market fresh fish and innovative seasonal menus. I would have to say they’re dead on with that pride. Everything we ate was delectable. It wasn’t just “chain restaurant palatable” it was a beautifully prepared, taste extravaganza that was as good as anything you get from a chef-dominated restaurant.
From the beginning The Husband and I stared at each other in shock each time we took a bite of something new. We had the Ahi Tuna Sashimi appetizer and it was so good we ended up fighting over pieces!
Then his corn chowder and my beet salad continued our evening with a bang. We followed by each ordering steak and seafood as a main course. The Husband took advantage of the Special Tuesday Lobster menu and I ordered the filet and crab cake just because I wanted to find something they did wrong! Being a Maryland girl, I am tough on crab cakes so I thought here would be my chance to catch them being ordinary. Yet again Bonefish Grill delivered. Very little filling and a whole lot of flavor made this Maryland Birthday Girl’s night.
In addition to all the amazing food, we also had a few wonderful cocktails from the Bonefish Grill bar, which was extensive to say the least. Everything was so good, we inquired about a kids’ menu so that we could come back with the whole clan another time. Not only do they have everything our kids could want (mac n cheese, chicken fingers, sliders) but they are each only $5 or $6 a meal which is perfect for our budget.
I could go on and on, but I think from here I’ll let some pictures do the talking. Just be sure not to miss Bonefish Grill, Manalapan. Whether you’re on a date with your mate or taking your whole crew out for dinner, this place is the perfect match for the most discerning palates big and small with a menu and ambience for every budget.
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