Where I Was
26 West on the Navesink, in Red Bank, NJ
Where I Sat
At the front, smaller, more intimate bar where only Rob serves you. Literally. When he’s off, the front bar is closed.
Who Served Me
Rob, employed since December 2017
Bartender’s Favorite Bite
“I really, really like the buffalo cauliflower and the fried Brussels sprouts are also very good.”
The Vibe & My Vantage Point
Beachy elegance. White with navy blue, accented with wood and wicker. I loved the easy upscale feel without a trace of pretension. The restaurant featured two bars: the smaller, which I prefer, hugs the front of the space. On one end sits a petite raw bar and two TV screens sit atop but the center is beautifully adorned with proper top-shelf liquor bottles of all shapes and colors.
The back bar is larger, set inside the dining room and features multiple TV screens — more lively and tons of seats. The back of the dining room opens to the river with large glass garage doors, surely open in warmer weather.
What Quenched My Thirst
The glass, mounded with ice, was chilled perfectly—tart and sweet. Strong, clean, and crisp with a splash of blackberry juice from the fresh berries rose up one side of the glass; my photo doesn’t do the beauty of it justice. Muddled blackberries and fresh lemon juice rose above the strength of the gin. One was all I needed…
What Fed My Soul
This unexpected and delightful dish exploded with vinegar as my teeth sank into a lightly crisped cauliflower blossom which sat atop a bed of Buffalo sauce and in shallow pool of luscious, homemade, herby (thyme, to be exact) blue cheese with lovely chunks for texture but not to overwhelm. A surprisingly fresh choice—and trust me when I tell you I’m not a huge fan of Buffalo anything other than wings!
A straightforward, if not totally original presentation of two lovely mini cheeseburgers with a silver cup of fries in wax paper. Simple yes and delightfully cooked medium rare complete with dripping juices…just scrumptious. Surprisingly, the rolls, while not homemade, were soft, airy and the perfect pillow to the heartiness of the burger and slice of American. The fries were simple perfection: well salted, not overdone and almost hollow they were so light. Really? The perfect fry to match the perfect slider.
Wow. Silky, with a nice balance of freshly ground black pepper and a slightly crisp shallot among the al dente risotto. The butternut squash was pureéd to perfection, rich in flavor, but not overpowering. Most often butternut squash risottos and pastas are served with the added protein or unnecessary crispy sage; but just as they did with their sliders, 26 West kept this simple and elegant. Generously portioned for a side dish, this was the perfect ending to a delicious culinary adventure.
Beyond the Bar
Weekly Specials and Appy Hour Monday to Friday, click the link for details.
Appy Hour is hosted Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at both our bars and high-top tables; featuring $2 off glasses of wine, half off draft and $5 house cocktail.
When to Show
Monday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Editor’s note: Prices and hours are subject to change.
Know Before You Go!
Restaurants change things all the time so please check 26 West on the Navesink’s website.
26 West on the Navesink
26 West Front Street
This article was not paid for, or influenced by, the restaurant/bar featured in this column.