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The Original Basil T's
Active Beers: 6
Beer Ratings: 55
Beer Avg: 3.44
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Brewery, Eatery ]
183 Riverside Avenue
phone: (732) 842-5990
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Reviews by RonfromJersey:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5
This is not your typical brewpub. Or at least not my typical brewpub. Basil T's is a casual-to-fine Italian restaurant, besides being a brewpub. The dinner menu features some creative entrees, which are priced reasonably for a somewhat upscale Italian restaurant in a gentrified community. It also features a fairly extensive list of pizzas. The dinners my wife and I have had have all been quite good. Service has been quite satisfactory.
From what I understand from my visits, the beer menu consists of four permanent brews (pale, red, stout, and I believe a wheat); two which trade off between cold and hot weather (porter and "light"); and a seasonal/speciality. It is not heavy on experimentation. On my recent visit I had some of the last of the English Brown, which was nicely done, if a bit more "weak stout-ish" than a typical mild. The house beers are solid, not spectacular. The stout is my favorite, followed by the Rocket Red.
On my recent visit, I noticed on my way out that the bar was packed with a lively crowd. There was a buffet set-up, free for happy hour perhaps? I was just glad to see a crowd separate from those having dinner - a good sign for long term life of the brewing side of the business.
While a long way off from home, I will gladly visit again if opportunity arises.
PS: I believe the two Basil T's have severed ties. The Red Bank location being the original, and remains with the original owners, and retained the formerly shared brewmaster.
06-07-2003 21:41:51 |
More by RonfromJersey
More User Reviews:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$
We’ve eaten here several times and each time we leave feeling satisfied that we spent both our money and our time very very well. The food is soooo good, and very creative in their implementation of different ingredients. LOVE the seafood, LOVE the squid-ink pasta, but can you beat the homemade Gnocchi? I THINK NOT!. My favorite of the beers is their Irish Stout but Rosies Pale Ale is very very good, too.
As for atmosphere, what can be said other than it’s among the best places in one of the best towns (Red Bank) in NJ. A lively, enjoyable crowd, combined with a friendly and very knowledgeable staff, makes this a place we love to return to, again and again. Forza Basil T’s!
05-31-2012 21:10:15 |
More by JerryRiso
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in with my girlfriend on a busy Saturday night to get a feel for the place. The bar was dimly lit and crowded with people waiting to take a seat in the dining room. We quickly found seats at the corner of the bar and proceeded to settle in for a drink while we waited to be seated in the dining room. I asked the bartender what they were serving this evening and he proceeded to give me a list of beers instead of just taking a few seconds to list the 6 beers that are served at the establishment. I understand he may have been a bit busy for the moment and the listing did describe these beers in more detail than just spouting them out. We took in the decor and the hundreds of mugs that hang from the shelving and ceiling of the bar. Nice to have a mug club somewhere in Central New Jersey, this place is barren of a good craft beer bar. We waited for about 15 minutes and were never approached by our bartender again, even when we asked to pay our check. Seemed odd to have 3 bartenders for a 15-20 seat bar and service bar area, but maybe instead of acting busy all the time they could spend time to get to know people sitting at their bar and giving them money. Maybe I am jaded from working the biz.
Either way we sat at our table and asked for a beer sampler to start off our dining experience. The sampler included 6 beers that were being offered and a bonus black and tan because the waitress had made a mistake of informing me that they did not have their summer seasonal beer for the evening, even though they did. Not a big deal in my mind to be out of a beer and then find out that you are still serving it, but I did appreciate the black and tan being thrown in without asking for anything anyway. As far as the sampler goes, a red ale, cherry wheat, esb, pale ale, stout, and summer ale were all brought over on a round platter with the black and tan on the side. None of the beers were outstanding with exception of the stout. True to style and very well crafted, I can see why it had received medals at the GABF.
Our meals were very good. Traditional Italian restaurant with appreciation for fresh ingredients. The cucumber and watermelon salad was excellent and very light. The caesar salad was very good as well. Our entrees, the ravioli and the bolognese were fantastic and worth raving over. For dessert the cannoli was a nice ending to our evening.
Overall, we had a wonderful dinner. The food is worth the trip alone even if the beers they offer could use a little tune up. The atmosphere was pleasant, a little crowded and noisey, but it was 7 pm on a Saturday night. The dining room was well lit as opposed to the bar, and the service was much better. The decor of the restaurant was more of an Italian restaurant than a brew pub. With all the grapes all over this place it seems like it is more intent on selling wines than beer. I know we will be back, but not because of the beer.
08-09-2010 17:30:08 |
More by Jiggamyte
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$$
For what I paid for both food and drink, I expected A LOT more. This particular establishment is another example of one that has benefited immensely from what I'd like to call a 'slam-dunk' location. Yuppies from some of the wealthier nearby towns (in addition to other locals) jam this place and like to brag that they're a member of the mug club, when the majority of them wouldn't be able to tell you the difference between an ale and a lager. But I can live with that; what I can't live with is the pretentiousness, which abounds here in buckets. This is considered the premier brewpub on the northern Jersey shore (with former sister Basil T's Toms River king of the southern Jersey shore) because there is NO other competition. Zero. Therefore, don't make the mistake of getting excited reading stellar reviews from people who live nearby as, no offense, but they have no competition for a basis for comparison. FYI, don't associate the Toms River location with this one, as it is apparently no longer owned by the same group, and furthermore, Dave Hoffmann of Climax is now brewing in Toms River, so you can expect great things to come. As for the 'Original' Basil T's in Red Bank, don't bother; I consider it one of if not the worst brewpubs in the state...and I've been to all of them.
07-27-2009 15:58:17 |
More by donniecuffs
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$$
when walking it looked like a nice restraunt kinda classy with very nice hosts and servers.. we sat down in the dinning room for dinner and got chicken parm .. homemade spaghtiti was great.. i wanted to see the brewery so i walked to the bar.. nice set up with the beer in a glass fermanting .. it was nice.. fillled up a growler for 24$ .. not too bad.. when we were leaving it began to fill up with poeple but over i thouight it was a nice place and enjoyed the beer .. i got rosies pale ale.. cheers
05-05-2009 14:20:27 |
More by njthebestofme
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5 | $$$
This was stop #254 on my quest to visit every quality brewery/brepub in North America.
I stopped in around 7:30 on a Thursday evening in later September. I grabbed one of the bar seats with my back to the brewing equipment.
I had a pale ale and dry stout (gold GABF winner). The pale was a tad below average and the stout was a tab above average.
I had a caprise sald and lasagna. The food was delicious. Salad had true ripened beefsteak tomatoes and the bichemel sauce in the lasagna made it especially light and tasty.
Around 8, a light-jazz duo set up and began playing. By this time the bar was crowded and the music was annoyingly loud. There were no other beers on tap that were of interest to me so I headed back to my hotel for a Smuttynose IPA I picked up at a bottle shop earlier in the day.
Bottom line as others have said is that this is quality Italian restaurant first and brewing is secondary. While the food was pricy, the portions were generous and of excellent quality. My ranking is based primarily on beer.
09-26-2008 13:40:13 |
More by Yetiman420
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 2.5 | $$$
I was in the area for the week on business. Had to stop here as it is one of the few beer destinations in the area.
I agree with the bulk of what's been written about this place by other reviewers. With a couple exceptions.
First off, this place is barely, by the thinnest of definitions, a brewpub. Yes, they make the beer they serve. But that's about where it ends. I'd hardly consider it a pub and beer isn't even a secondary consideration here. Sure, people drink it and there are certainly lots of mugs in their mug club. But really, this place is a full blown restaurant first, bar second, and brewery dead last. Way last.
The beers were all well made (no flaws detected) but totally uninspired. Pale, wheat, red, summer, stout, blah blah blah. Seen it a million times all across the country and nothing at all was remotely noteworthy. It's basically all done to a formula from the brass and ferns brewpub designers manual.
It was a Tuesday evening when I was there and it was busy with only a couple seats available at the bar. Looked like mostly an after work crowd. And mostly locals or commuters returning from NYC jobs.
Pints were $5.95 - fine, I can handle that, but as noted by others the prices all go way up from there. I had the rapini pizza to eat and it was just okay. And $19. I rarely ever note anything about prices but it's worth mentioning for this place as they are simply out of line. There are dinners on the menu in the upper 20s and 30s and it's all pretty basic Italian. Again, nothing even that interesting.
To me this place is basically like a Fridays without all the cutesy crap. It's only okay at best and not a good bargain for the price. But what the hell do I know? It was full of people on a Tuesday so obviously people like it.
They can have it. I won't be back. That says it all. There is real beer to be had out there...
P.S. The service was good, I'll give them that.
08-13-2008 01:33:38 |
More by jfindley
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4 | $$$$
I swear they jacked their prices up again. (Summer 08)
I moved to Middletown last September and anyone that knows the area, knows we are void of anything in regards to good beer bars or good bars in general. Basil T's is a place I imagined myself at everyday. Though now I am not so sure.
Lets first say, the beer is very good. Their Beer list is small. Only 5 or 6 Beers and a Seasonal available at a time but everything they offer is solid. The Dry Stout is my favorite. Do not bother asking your server/bartender anything about the beer. I've never gotten anything besides "Its light (or dark) and is really good" each time I ask.
As for the Bar, its rather small. Like if there are more then 25 people in the place, you are not getting a seat or be able to even walk around. The atmosphere though is very cozy. I just wish there was more room. I like eating lunch/dinner at the bar and do not like having to settle with the dining room (to me IMHO it takes away from the whole "brew pub" vibe).
When you order your first pint, you will first notice, things are askew. $5.75 a Pint. To me, thats expensive. A dollar and a quarter more then what I would expect to pay the most for at another brew pub.
The food, well it is good. You are always served fresh tasty food but the prices are a little steep. $23 for Bolognese. $15 for a salad $18 for a personal Pizza, $7.50 for two Meatballs $37 for an 18oz Sirloin. The Menu is available on their website and is updated all the time (which is nice to see).
I really think Basil T's could lower their price. I don't know if they are trying to keep it exclusive or what. The Beer is delicious, it is worth the trip of a few miles (I wouldn't go out of my way though). You are though, better off going to Harvest Moon in New Brunswick or JJ Bitings in Woodbridge. Those are two examples of Brew pubs "Doing it right."
08-11-2008 16:11:41 |
More by Soracloud
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$$
I agree with most of everyone's reviews. This place is pretty expensive, but I disagree with what a few say about their beer. The stout is probably their best, but their seasonals are good as well. The food is fantastic as it is all made fresh to order. I like the fact that they only serve the beer they brew. It is not as dark as many make it out to seem. Expensive yes, but welcome to Monmouth County where you are minutes from the shore. This place is always loaded with the "rich snobs." Who feel they come before all. And at times they do. Once I waited 20minutes at the bar for service while people walked in after me and were served before all because they were "regulars." But, one good thing is that can purchase their beer in growlers. You paid around 20 bucks for it, but if you returned for more beer it would only cost you 11bucks. Not bad.
06-09-2008 23:58:22 |
More by beernut
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3 | $$$$
This Basil T's is located along the ocean on Riverside Ave in the shadows of some high rise apartments. It's a very small place with plenty of parking in the back and on the side. When you walk along side this palce, make sure you pick the right door because I alomst walked in their into their brewing room. The correct door is just a few feet away from that door. When I found the correct door, I questioned it because it was so dark in there I couldn't see anything. So I trusted my instinct and walked on in. It's a weird set up. Once you walk pass the foyer, you walk into the bar/kitchen area. The dinning room is just behind the front of the bar. I couldn't see the size of the dinning room, because it was damn dark in there. They were actually relying on the sun to light up their establishent and thing is, they don't have that many windows in that place. I guess they were trying to conserve energy, but not so much where I have to use a flashlight to find a seat. The bar itself was pretty big with liqour bottles, wine bottles, and mugs hanging down. Those mugs are for their mug of the month club patrons. Again, the bar is pretty big, but the whole area seemed narrow and crowded.
The service here was average. The best part was when I asked the bartender what the seasonals were, he turned around and handed me two free samples. They weren't that good, but they were free. It was funny when bartender kept yanking back the beer menu back to its original place. Every time I looked at the beer menu, I inched it toward me and then the bartender came by and yanked it back to its original spot. They were hell bent on keeping that beer menu in its original position. For their beer knowledge, I have no idea. I didn't ask because I had hard time understanding them, but since they work in a brewpub they have to know a little something. Right?
What can I say about their food? Let's just say it's expensive. It's almost impossible to find anything under $13. I know the area can get pricy, but during lunch time? Come on! I did happen to find something under $13 and that was their Artisian bread. The bread was good and you do get alot of it for $5. That was good enough for me.
Their beer selection consists of 6 to 7 brewpub taps. 4 to 5 taps are main stays, while another 1 to 2 are just seasonals. Their beers are mostly basic styles. They offer a Red Ale, Pale Ale, Irish Dry Stout, and a few more basic styles. If there is one beer to try, it's their Maxwell's Irish Dry Stout. That beer is absolutly delicious! Every other beer they offer is either medicore or way below average. It looked and tasted like they should stick to making dark roasted beers instead of making light basic styles.
I didn't care that much for this brewpub. The food is expensive, the beer is medicore (except for the Irish Dry Stout), and it's too dark. At least pay your electric bills once in a while so your customers don't have to sit in the dark. If I do go back here, it would only be for the Irish Dry Stout. It's a good thing that is one of their main stays beers! If you do plan on going here, bring lots of money and a flashlight. You're going to need it!
05-03-2008 16:56:23 |
More by AltBock
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The Original Basil T's in Red Bank, NJ