A Culinary Romp Through Rumson

March 9, 2012
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By Ellen Cancellieri McCarthy

I’m about to embark on my March Madness tour of restaurants in our Two River area. Next to fashion, dining out is my favorite passion. I thoroughly enjoy sharing delicious wine and good conversation over a leisurely meal. I never miss an opportunity to try new cuisine.

Now I have the entire month to sample my way around Rumson’s kitchens as the borough kicks off its fourth annual “Taste of Rumson” dining event. If truth be told, I love a good deal, too. And there’s plenty to be had.

So, I’ll be stopping by for the happiest of happy hours with Steve Bidgood at Salt Creek Grille; sipping Chardonnay with girlfriend Alana of Alana’s Salon, Fair Haven (our wine expertly poured by Liz, the celebrity bartender at What’s Your Beef); dishing with Christine Burke at David Burke Fromagerie‘s famous Tuesday burger night; and swooning over Frankie’s homemade pasta at Ristorante Giorgia. (To be fair, Frankie and I go way back to his days in Sea Bright. I still have a huge crush.)

While I’m feeling sentimental, I’ll have the Cheddar burger at Barnacle Bill’s (where I had my husband’s surprise 30th birthday party a few, uh, years ago); share a lobster pizza at Val’s with friends; and take in some comfort food (shepherd’s pie and a black and tan) with Irish lasses Susie and Sheila at Molly Maguire’s Blackpoint Inn.

I’m saving Undici for last. It’s among my favorite Italian dining destinations and the perfect place to unwind on a Friday evening. My longtime pal TriCity News Dan is a regular in the afternoons. It’s his home away from office when he’s trying to scoop The Two River Times on a Red Bank story.

Two Sides To Every Great Story

For my March visit to Undici, I’d like to invite Red Bank Mayor Pat Menna and Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl to join me for a bipartisan wine-tasting. Don’t worry gentlemen, our conversation will be off the record.

See you around Rumson!


I had the pleasure of dining at Firefly, An American Bistro in Manasquan on a winter’s weekend. I overheard a group of Two River attorneys chatting it up over Liz’s martinis at the bar in What’s Your Beef, Rumson. Their praise won me over. I had to experience it.

My husband and I were greeted by owner Lori Rathgeber during our recent visit. It’s always reassuring to know the owner is overseeing the dining room. May I recommend the Maryland crab cakes with Napa cabbage and Meyer lemon aioli. They are simply heavenly. If you need a salmon fix, Firefly’s wild version is a treat, served with Spanish saffron risotto, roasted asparagus and citrus buerre blanc.

Take a trip to Firefly now before summer crowds fill the tables. I’m sure we’ll return soon. I was seduced by the Moroccan lamb on the menu and would love to try it.

Firefly, An American Bistro, 152 Main St., Manasquan, (732)  223-0152, FireflyManasquan.com.

Ellen Cancellieri McCarthy is the publisher of the Two River Times.


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