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New Jersey

Ama in Sea Bright


Restaurants & Bars 3

Ama in Sea Bright

carlylecat | Sep 20, 2012 09:24 AM

Stopped in this week to experience the new Ama

Quick comments

Food is great - Bread still toasty with thick charred crust - many different salads on the menu - beet salad, artichoke salad and a special salad (listed as Daily Product of The Earth on the menu) - that night it was fresh figs and arugula w/ local honey - we passed on the cold starters and split a pasta to start - the Oriechette pasta with broccolli rabe in garlic and white wine sauce with a bit of red pepper flake kick was tremendous - for entrees we had a grilled bronzino which was light and done perectly crispy it was offered with fingerling potatoes and garlicky spinach - salmon was done in a very rich butter sauce with frisee, leeks, grapes and maracona almonds - great dish because the fish was almost perfectly fresh even if the sauce was a bit heavy.

Other menu items we did not try included two steaks (ribeye and strip) a T Bone halibut as well as a semi boneless chicken - entree special was a "vermont raised baby rabbit" - I could not listen to the balance of the description as that brought the food to plate experience a bit too close for me!

The restaurant now offers a full bar - the wine list is not very complex but a good assorment of basically european wines (Italy dominant) - better than average selection organized by light medium and full bodied - 5 to 6 in each category of such for reds and whites - most in the $ 28 to $ 60 range - the wine lists offers some reserve wines - most recent vintages of JP Insignia ($320) and other high priced wines that have not aged enough to really be enjoyed - small selection of wines by the glass, we had a $10 Chianti that was sweet and had a decent body to it - a $12 Italian Chardoney was limp and chilled to almost freezing

The bar served good cocktails, even though it took some time for them to make it to the table - acceptable in week one but not sure hoiw that will play on a busy weekend night.

We passed on desert but the tiramisu was highly recommended by our server who made great calls on our other choices

To the decor and overall ambience - the place makes an interesting first impression - i had not been in the Driftwood beach club for years and it has the industrial look of a YMCA as you enter - albeit a nice YMCA - but once you enter the lobby and turn to the right a really cool AMA sign and a brocade carpet leads you up the metal stairs in what makes a very cool transition.

At the top of the stairs you are greated with a red wall and dark floored area with a mix of square two and four top and round six and eight top tables - the lighting is exposed bulb 1950's industrial style fixtures - it looks like a farm house meets a modern open restaurant - with a crystal chandelier thrown in over one corner - a large 3/4 red wall blocks the bar from the main dining room - a few touches of expose brick further try to define the farm feel

Best descriptino I can muster is to think of a red walled and dark floored Charley's - that open modern restaurant feel that is neither hip nor comfortably friendly. It has a bit more character than Charley's but that same wide open feel.

The bar may be the best additon to the area bar dining scene since Sirena opened in PV - a huge rectangle with marble top, comfy tall chairs and two HD tv's.

First greeting and service were top notch - with the exception of the long trip the cocktails took to the table.

All in a very solid meal with very friendly and knowledgable staff on comfortable leather padded chairs on white tableclothes. Maybe the decor will grow on us - if it can get half as good as the food it will be a great spot for quite some time. - Oh yes - surprise - they take credit cards!

Total check was $138 for two before tip with one split pasta, two entrees, two cocktails and two glasses of wine

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