Robinson Ale House - Red Bank, NJ
Whenever it's a nice day outside, the first thought that comes to mind when wanting to eat during the weekend is, "Where is there a restaurant with outside seating?" Unfortunately in Red Bank, the options are bit limited, but there are options. The Robinson Ale House has a small area outside with up to 6 - 9 tables that is perfect for that Saturday evening dinner or Sunday brunch. Although the locale is beautiful on the inside and we tend to frequent the bar area every single time, it was too nice on this day to pass up some outside seating. Located in the heart of Red Bank, The Robinson Ale House is definitely a place to go if you want to enjoy the sun's rays while you have a fine meal.
For people wanting a meal, there's plenty of great options to choose from. There's a wide selection of appetizers, burgers, and entrees. I do recommend checking out the "grilled cheese bar" because various of their choices are actually quite good.
For craft beer drinkers, you are in luck - they have several decent options for you either on draft or in bottle form. Half of the taps are macro, but there are still good options to have. At the time Carton's 077XX, Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA and New Belgium's Fat Tire were all good options. I wish they had at least one more local option like something from Kane Brewing, but I usually just stick to one beer on the list, the house beer - The Robinson Ale.
The Robinson Ale is an amber/red ale that is both tasty and the perfect compliment to any meal here. If you like New Belgium's Fat Tire, you'll like this beer even more. This beer made especially for the Robinson Ale House is a must try, even if you aren't a fan of reds. Clocking in at 7% and $5.50, it's a great choice all around. It's malty, fresh, and delicious.
For anyone who might have had Red Fish from Flying Fish, you will notice a similarity because it is indeed Flying Fish who brews this beer for The Robinson Ale House. I've had the Red Fish in bottle form, but for some reason, I enjoy this version on tap at Robinson Ale House a bit more. It could be the combination of the beer and the food or just the freshness on tap - either way, at least try it once.
With beers now firmly planted on the table, we started with some chicken nachos. We had ordered them once before in the past with chilli and they were pretty good, but after a while they got soggy if we didn't eat them fast enough. So this time we went with chicken. Once the plate was placed in front of us, it was visually appealing but I already saw that there was a slight problem. The chicken on it was too dry. I'm not sure what had happened at the time and we probably should have voiced our concern at the time, but we just ate them. It definitely looks good but I'm not sure if we would try them again, specially since there are so many better options on the menu otherwise.
With the nachos in our past, it was now time for entrees. The first dish was the short rib grilled cheese with tomato soup. The combination is classic and the use of the cheese and the short rib in the sandwich is very well done. The short rib was tender and moist. The soup was the perfect compliment to the grilled cheese and the Robinson Ale. As previously mentioned, they do have a "grilled cheese bar" so it's worth a few visits to come try them all.
The Chi-Town burger was entree #2 and it cooked to temperature (medium rare!) with a toasted bun. The Chi-Town burger keeps it simple, yet enticing with it's bacon, swiss and Robinson Ale steak sauce. The fries are fantastic and well-seasoned. So far, the Chi-Town is the only burger I've tried from Robinson Ale House but there are a few other intriguing options on the menu as well like the J. Schultz (caramelized onions, cajun spices, bleu cheese).
Although we kept it simple this time while sitting outside, I will say this: We've had plenty of their actual dinner options that are highly recommended like their mac and cheese, the meatloaf, and the twin filet medallions. So if you're plan is to visit for dinner, you now have a few more options to try from.
We've been here at least a dozen times and aside from this visit's encounter with the chicken nachos, all of our visits were flawless. Our waitress, Maggie was attentive, friendly, and timely. The beer list could use a slight tweaking but I'm happy that the Robinson Ale is on it as well as the Carton 077XX. I am ecstatic to see that they will be tapping Dogfish Head's 120 minute on May 17th - a rare beer to find anywhere else in bottle form, let alone tap.
The burgers, sandwiches, and dinners are always a pleasure to dine on. Red Bank has many places to offer diners, but Robinson Ale House owns a slight advantage of having good food and their own little outdoor seating area. Even if you want to sit inside, it deserves a visit. The main dining area is very well decorated and the booths look amazing. The Robinson Ale House is definitely one of our dining cornerstones within this magnificent little town of Red Bank.