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Thyme Square- Red Bank

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Restaurants & Bars 47

Thyme Square- Red Bank

bgut1 | Apr 2, 2007 09:29 AM

My DW and I were lucky enough to get a babysitter last night so we decided to try Drew's in Keyport. The problem was however that Drew's was closed for vacation. That was a major disappointment as we had been looking forward to dining there for a while. Drew's not being available we had trouble deciding between two on the "List": Bay Avenue Trattoria and Thyme Square. Bay Avenue made it easy as it closes early on Sunday (8 PM) so it was off to Thyme Square. We went there with pretty low expectations in light of the recent reviews on this board. But for a few hiccups the meal went very well. We arrived at 8:30 to find the restaurant slightly less than half full. Perfect for me as far as far as I was concerned. This was a decent sized space decorated in earth tones with beige paint, chair railing and several crystal chandeliers (while interesting, there something about drop ceiling tiles and chandeliers that are somewhat incongruous). Our waiter was friendly but not intrusive. He was refreshingly honest about the dishes to try (and avoid for our tastes) on the menu. This was very helpful because we had a little difficulty ordering. We choose the salt roasted beet salad to share, the tartare, crudo, ceviche trio and stuffed zucchini flowers for apps, the braised short ribs and sliced skirt steak for entrees and for dessert, the chocolate espresso cake and the salt caramel ice cream sandwich. While I could nit pick about a few of the items, as a whole, everything was excellent. As a nice touch, the salad was split and plated like the full size version. This was a perfect salad. The combination of the bitter baby argula with the sourness of the grapefruit and the saltiness of the goat cheese and beets was delightful. Another nod to how well the salad was dressed. While each leaf was coated with the dressing, there was no extra dressing on the bottom of the plate. Over dressing usually ruins a salad for me. The first hiccup of the night was the failure to deliver bread. An easy oversight so I can’t really kill them for that one. Easily remedied. Bread was nice with the fruity EVOO left on the table. Next came the apps. The raw fish trio was tuna tartare, scallop with citrus of some sort and halibut with miso. All were excellent – especially the tartare. My only complaint was the size of each tasting, barely a forkful. I would have been happier with a little more for $10. The zucchini flower app was also quite good. The menu described it as being stuffed with lump crabmeat and cream cheese along with a chili sauce. We were given three stuffed flowers. The size of the app was OK and it tasted very good however I couldn’t discern any crabmeat in the stuffing just cream cheese. I know this sounds crazy but to me they tasted like a high-class jalapeno popper. The entrees were the showstopper of the evening. I had the skirt steak while the DW had the short ribs. Both were divine. I ordered the skirt steak medium rare and subbed polenta fries for the fingerling potatoes. The steak was perfectly cooked and served with a reduction of some sort that made the dish. My DW’s short ribs were also perfect with horseradish crema that tasted of yogurt. Nice and tender. My one complaint about the short ribs was that along the bottoms of each rib was meat that had dried out presumably from being overcooked. To be honest I didn’t have much objection to this as I love nawing at bones. I’m sure my DW was horrified however. Next came the desserts. Both were very good especially mine. I had the salt caramel ice cream sandwich. This dessert really did it for me. If you love salty and sweet together (think popcorn with chocolate) this is the one to get. The salty caramel ice cream sat atop a shortbread cookie with crumbled cookie on top. Two small nit picks about the dessert however. This was evidently taken directly from the freezer so the ice cream was delivered rock hard (nothing a few seconds in the microwave wouldn’t fix) and the sandwich moved along the plate like a hockey puck. Something should have been put on the plate to keep the sandwich from moving about. Again small nit picks which didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of this dessert. My wife’s chocolate espresso cake was very standard but good. Exactly what she was looking for in a dessert. Exclusive of gratuity the meal cost $100. I will definitely return and would not hesitate to recommend the place. Good Luck.

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