We eat out every week with a group of friends. We have our current favorites: for Thai, food, Manow in Lincroft, for Indian, Neelam in Middletown, for Sushi, Fuji in Shrewsbury and for Chinese, Bando in Middletown.
We've been seeking good (or even great) Italian food and several folks pointed us to San Remo in Red Bank on Newman Springs Road. We were pleased to see they took a reservation, and found the restaurant packed to the walls this Friday night.
We were seated and received menus and began to chat and share our week with one another. Not long after we were seated we were approached by the waiter who wanted to share the specials with us. He was clearly displeased (CLEARLY, he pretty much snapped at them) when two of the members of our party continued their conversation. However, the restaurant was quite noisy, and our server wanted their attention without considering that he was interrupting them, not the other way around. Quite simply, he had an attitude that continued throughout the meal. When he shared the specials with us, he spoke very rapidly and between his pace and his accent it was difficult to understand what he was saying. One of the women asked him to slow down...he did not like that (it was clear from his expression)...nor did he slow down. When one person asked him to repeat one of the specials, and also to tell us the price (it was double that of even the most expensive entree on the menu), he was downright rude. Not a great start to dinner.
For all his pretention, the service was not very elegant. When he served my dinner, for example, he did not come next to me, rather he handed it to a friend to pass to the person next to them and then to me. There was no logistic reason to do this..it was simply laziness.
On to the food...
The bread was warm and smelled and tasted great. We ordered several appetizers. The fresh mozzarella appetizer was as promised, fresh and delicious, although a very small portion. The Spedino alla Romano was bland...I am used to the anchovy sauce having a rich flavor. This sauce was thin and not terribly flavorful. And the portion was one small triangle with three shrimp. They would have been better served eliminating the shrimp and giving a more sizable portion.
The Linguine Al Capesante was adequate, although the linguine was a bit overdone. The shrimp and scallops were adequately prepared although not abundant, and the garlic lemon butter sauce while tasty, was very thin.
The Chicken Provenziale was disappointing. The chicken breast, while a decent sized portion, was overdone. The sausage was tasty, but it was the sauce that was really lacking. Billed as a garlic truffle olive oil sauce, there was neither a hint of truffle oil, nor much of a garlic flavor to the sauce, and once again...it was mostly chicken broth.
The meat lasagne was not notable, nor was the Chicken Francaise.
One friend had the Sole Dijonaise which she found flavorful and properly prepared. However the Veal Me Piace, again lacked flavor to the sauce.
Unless you order a pasta dish, there are no side dishes that accompany your main dish.
We opted not to have dessert but did have cappucino and coffee. These came rapidly, and were obviously not freshly prepared, and bitter.
All in all, a disappointing meal. We will not be returning, and the search continues for our Italian food "home." We plan to try Ponte Vecchio in Old Bridge and Anna's in Middletown.
San Remo Fine Italian Cuisine
37 Newman Springs Rd E, Red Bank, NJ 07702