Thursday, July 7, 2011

Moonstruck Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge

Asbury Park, NJ

Final Grade: A
                The thought of driving south on a Friday evening in the summer would normally be an undesirable task for my husband and I. But the thought of catching up with friends and trying a new restaurant quickly tamed the negative notion of battling “shore traffic.” Thankful we were once we entered Moonstruck Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge located in Asbury Park. The tri-level locale located on Lake Drive was both beautiful and upbeat. The sounds of live jazz immediately soothe patrons as they either order a beverage at the bar or sit on the oversized porch while awaiting a table.
                As a lover of almost every carbohydrate, I looked forward to what type this restaurant would offer as we decided what to order. To my liking, as well as the others, the sourdough crusty baguette was fresh and accompanied with unsalted butter. For starters we split the lamb quesadillas ($12) and the Asian fried calamari, the calamari being a special that evening. Both were served simultaneously, sadly this can be a challenge for some eateries. The lamb was generously placed within the tortillas which allowed for its tenderness and flavor to shine. The tzatziki sauce was cooling and simple hence allowing the lamb to be the star. The calamari was lightly coated and quite tender. The Asian sauce was served on the side rather than being tossed among the ringlets and had an interesting flare of peanut taste. 
                For entrees, we ordered the pan-seared scallops ($28), fettuccine grilled chicken ($19), Asian grilled shrimp ($29), and the New York Strip ($31). The four over-sized scallops were succulent and seared nicely. The risotto underneath was creamy and well-seasoned. Grilled chicken over fettuccine was adequately tossed with a pesto cream sauce and topped with fresh chopped tomato. Served over a bed of brown rice, the grilled shrimp were well-doused in their spicy sesame-ginger sauce. The sauce brought a welcoming level of heat that both showcased the sauce and delicate nature of the shrimp. Paired with a barbeque “sexy sauce”, the NY Strip was cooked perfectly to the desired temperature. The sauce, which was described by our waiter as “spicy”, was, as described, spicy. It was good; however the name of the sauce was more memorable.
                Our dessert choices were explained to us via our waiter who seemed to know both the venue and menu well. We settled on the mango bread pudding and the banana cheesecake. Both were seasonal and enjoyable.
                Overall, this was a pleasant and appetizing evening. Our meals were executed almost flawlessly, our service was admirable, and the ambiance was noteworthy. Traffic being the one drawback of the night is one I will endure anytime for this dining destination. Moonstruck Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge is located at 517 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ.
Total score 21/25
Final Grade: A

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. As a teacher, I have to say that I LOVE the rubric!

  2. Thanks Una! I think it makes reviewing a restaurant much easier. Also, readers can look it over and get a good "gist" of what to expect:)