Thursday, May 17, 2012


Pt. Pleasant, NJ
Final Grade: B

            Well, I think it’s safe to say summer is upon us folks! And if you’re like me, the beach is where I want to dig my feet, rest with a good book, and find some great summer eats! And while I didn’t exactly find a place to eat on the beach yet, I am bringing you a place today that isn’t too far away. 709 Restaurant and Bar, situated on Arnold Ave. in Point Pleasant is place you may want to put on your beach weekend agenda.

            Executive Chef Mike Jurusz, formerly of The Atlantic Bar & Grill in Seaside Park, and Proprietor Carl LaManna have created a space that offers all types of food you crave. Their menu is broken up into quite catchy and entertaining categories: “Let’s Begin”: appetizers, “Warming Up”: soups, “Going Green”: salads, “Handhelds”: lobster roll, fish tacos, grilled cheese, etc. “Easy Sliders”: explanatory, “Gourmet P’Za”: explanatory, “Canoodling”: pastas, Entrees: “Swimming”: Fish, shellfish, etc., “Walking”: steaks, chicken, etc. Not to mention, they have an extensive sushi and raw bar menu that will make your decision making even more difficult.

            My family and I were there this past Saturday night to take my mother out for Mother’s Day. We were lucky enough to get reservations the previous weekend since there were 6 of us as nothing less than that is permitted for reservations. We arrived on time and were placed in a small booth that wasn’t the best for us, my father and brother both being over 6 feet! They understood our concern without a problem and quickly sat us in the quieter, back dining area. The space was well designed, I liked the bar area with the booths for say a lunch or just appetizers, but for dinner I like their back room area in that it is still open and unpretentious yet not loud from the bar.

            Our waitress soon arrived and although she seemed new, she was pleasant, knowledgeable and courteous. She read off a slew of specials and was patient enough as we “himmed and hawed” about what to get. Our selections were, for the most part, great yet I feel there is still room to grow here at 709.

            We began with  the 709 Pu Pu Platter ($21) that included rice balls, fried calamari, coconut shrimp, goat in the coat and assorted dipping sauces. The rice ball or “arancini” was my favorite. It had a decent amount of spice and sported an impressively crispy shell. The calamari was nothing to brag about but nonetheless, it was gone before I had time for another try. Goat in the Coat, a simple roll of goat cheese coated in herbed breadcrumbs, was creamy beyond belief, another winner of the platter.

            We ordered 2 sushi rolls for an appetizer as well, however they came out completely after they cleared our platter. I was fine by this if they were going for a “sushi course,” but since we ordered them for an appetizer, we all expected the sushi to come out simultaneously with the Pu Pu! Fortunately, the rolls went over so well we barely remembered they came out so late. The Rt. 35 Roll ($12.95) was outstanding, filled to the max with shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and avocado. While the Rock N Roll ($8.95) was equally as delicious with simply spiced tuna topped with sliced avocados.

            Dinners were well-received all around yet some suffered from temperature issues. I went with the Rack of Lamb ($31) and was very glad I did. The meat was cooked perfect to my medium-rare request and the goat cheese smashed potatoes were divine. Another hit of the table was the New England Lobster Roll ($18). The amount of massive lump lobster meat was ridiculous as was the fact that it was butter poached! There were two orders of the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes ($29) at our table and both were packed with flavor but sadly not that hot. To me, when something isn’t hot it just isn’t as good. My husband, having been one of the recipients, admired the taste of the cakes but had a hard time eating his lukewarm entrée. My father ordered the 16 ounce Cowboy Ribeye Steak ($32). He also had a dish that tasted great but was much too cool to truly enjoy.
            Desserts for Mother’s Day were a must. Ironically, my mother lacks a sweet tooth and didn’t indulge as the rest us did. We split the Peanut Butter Explosion ($7) which was a chocolate cake paired with peanut butter mousse then topped with brownie bits and some peanut butter chips. I found the dessert to be decent, a bit too rich for my liking though. Most enjoyed it still and with the other tantalizing options on the dessert menu, I’m confident I’ll find something next time to fully enjoy.
            So with Memorial Day right around the corner, your flip flops dying to get out, and the beach chair making its way to your trunk, I think it is an opportune time to start thinking about your seaside dining destinations. And just like the beach gets crowded before you can blink, the same can be said for restaurants. Now even though I feel 709 has some improvements to be made, I do think time will help this place work out the kinks. I hope you give this place a chance to make its mark and perhaps a memory for your summer vacation.

709 Restaurant and Bar is located at 709 Arnold Ave., Point Pleasant, NJ. More information, including menus, can be found at

 Final Grade: B

 Total score 17/25
A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5
Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?


  1. the review was totally accurate. although it was a little temperature challenged, it was still a wonderful mothers day treat. thanks to my wonderful family :)love you all !!!!!

  2. very fair review. Would certainly have a meal there.