The Blu Grotto Ristorante is an Italian oasis and aptly named Grotto. This destination restaurant is one of my favorites because of the versatility of the property, great food, signature cocktails and most importantly the overall ambiance.

Nestled into the back stretch of beautiful Monmouth Park Race Track in Oceanport sits the pristine Blu Grotto Ristorante. I love going to Monmouth Park Race Track in Oceanport and enjoy stopping into the Blu Grotto before or after my time at Monmouth Park. The Blu Grotto Ristorante makes me feel like I’m in a country club without having to pay the dues.

In the summer, the spacious outdoor back property at The Blu Grotto turns into a pleasant scenic summer stage with outstanding local musicians performing for the happy crowd. You’ll feel like you’re in a countryside restaurant in Europe. The Blu Grotto also sports a 3 tiered back deck where patrons can enjoy the music, sun and cocktails that are painstakingly created.

In the fall and winter, the inside of The Blu Grotto Ristorante has the ambiance of a world-class conservatory while they serve up regional Italian dishes that are true to the country landscape of Italy. It is a great escape destination that serves up very good food, lots of fun artisanal cocktails, along with a great wine list. Overseeing this large dining operation is General Manager Elvin Kehres. His impressive resume keeps Blu Grotto Ristorante running smoothly with up-to-date seasonal offerings that enhance your experience.

Executive Chef James Corona insists on using fresh local ingredients and uses his expertise to serve up the classic Italian dishes and some of my favorites like the Veal Porterhouse, Lamb Chop Milanese and their featured dish Fettuccini Bolognese. The Fettuccini Bolognese has great substance and packs some terrific flavor. I love the consistency of this dish, which stands up nicely to the fettuccini pasta. This dish is awesome: the flavors transport me to the countryside of Italy.

Combine that dish with The Blu Grotto atmosphere along with their countryside view and it makes this dish even more enjoyable if that’s possible.

Whether you’re looking for a bite or a cocktail before or after a visit to Monmouth Park or a great Sunday brunch or just a great night to hang with friends and family, make Blu Grotto Ristorante one of your destinations and you’ll see why it’s one of mine.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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