One of my favorite places to go has always been the River Rock. I was just thrilled when they added the very large outside deck. Now, I don’t just get to peer at the Manasquan River rushing by, I could see it up close and smell it as well. Ahhh, I took the family there for rejuvenation after Hurricane Irene. It was one of the first places up and running, and wow did WE appreciate that. Sadly, it was just decimated by Super Storm Sandy. Water, water, everywhere. It took months of hard work for them to get it up and running again. I would watch the papers, Facebook and drive by often when I was in the area. I was so pleased when they were back in business for the summer. Somehow, though, I did not get there.
NJ summer may have ended, but local summer is still here. Last night we went back to River Rock. It was packed!!! The hostess was wonderful, told us about a 30 minute wait for a table for 2. We asked if it would be less if we ate outside and she told us, there were 3 big private parties and we could get a spot at the pizza bar right away. What the heck, it smelled awesome, so we said yes. The hostess sent a very attentive waitress our way, Brittany. Even though it wasn’t her station, she was attentive to us the whole time. All the waitresses and waiters seemed to be friendly and enjoying their work as well. I don’t know about you, but that makes for an atmosphere I like to be in. The pizza bar wasn’t really set up for many people to sit around, really set up for many people to sit around, so the waitresses were folding utensils into napkins and picking up pizzas at the end of it. As a Small Chick Big Deals writer, that gave me the opportunity to ask a few more questions. Our waitress asked us right away if we wanted a drink. Lots of fun ones were on the menu and always the traditional ones available. I had a Cosmopolitan and it was perfect. Yup, perfect. My companion tried the Applesauce cocktail and, yup, tasted like applesauce. A little too sweet for me, but yummy.
We have friends whose bands play there, like The NOBS, and I wanted to know if this packed night was the norm. The other waitress smiled and told me that there was a high school reunion going on in the main dining room that was closed off. Nice idea if you want something private here and still have that awesome river view. She also pointed to a party in 3 other areas. Each one was marked off with balloons. I do not know if the balloons were put there by the party goers, but each one had balloons. Easy for partiers to find the right party, I suppose.
Little did we know we were in for some entertainment with our food. The pizza guys, Matteo and Nicolas worked in a rhythm that was entertaining to watch and delicious to eat. This coal burning pizza oven is a new addition to River Rock and a big hit! We wound up getting the meat lovers pie and did it some damage. Every bite better than the next. The quality of the meats stood out. No fat, no gristle. We are talking crispy bacon crumbled, sausage crumbled, pepperoni and sliced ham. We also ordered some boneless wings; they come with a number of choices of sauces. We picked the garlic parmesan, but had absolutely no room and took them home. We saw many entrees coming out with beautiful presentations. I know I am going back and will have to try something else, but that pizza was sooooo good, it’s gonna be a tough sell, but hey, that’s part of the job for a Small Chick Big Deals writer, isn’t it?
River Rock Restaurant and Marina Bar
1600 Route 70W