At Yvonne’s Neptune

Yvonne’s Neptune is as they describe themselves – an eclectic European restaurant. Their menu is diverse featuring some classics like flounder Florentine and Beef Wellington as well as some contemporary creations like Pacu fish ribs with a tequila lime BBQ sauce. Along with sea and land offerings their are dinner salads and many pasta dishes. Their lunch menu is equally as interesting featuring some European street fair like shashlyk and bratwurst along with big burgers and many interesting sandwiches and starters.

As you know it is not my style to accentuate the negative in my reviews. I prefer to focus mostly on the positive to encourage readers to visit a particular establishment that we enjoyed. In this case however that task would be difficult and misleading.

Yvonne's Neptune location opened recently after their popular BYOB in Ocean Grove was destroyed by fire.

Yvonne’s Neptune location opened recently after their popular BYOB in Ocean Grove was destroyed by fire.

We had reservations for four at 6:30 PM on Saturday night. I had read many excellent reviews online and looked at the menu and was looking forward to my first visit. We arrived on time and the ladies  were seated first as we parked the car. They were shown to a corner table that was a bit tight but we made it work just fine. Our server took our drink order and we began to look at the menu. I had viewed it online and was pretty certain as to my order. I was looking forward to the lollipop short ribs.

We talked for a while and my wife said that she really would like her drink. I realized about 20 minutes had elapsed since our order was taken. Our server returned with a helper a couple minutes later with our drinks. He then asked if he would like to order any appetizers. My wife asked if he could first tell us the specials which we partially overheard from another server. There might just be an appetizer in that list too. He gave them to us and we ordered only our starters.

After a very long wait our appetizers arrived. “Are you ready to order your main courses?” he asked. We were and did. My wife ordered the beef Wellington, our one friend chose half  Cornish hen, our other friend ordered a NY strip steak and, of course, I ordered the lollipop short ribs.

“I am sorry but I neglected to tell you that we are out of the short ribs.” our server said.

“Is it because it is a popular dish?” I asked.

“It is very  popular!”

“How can you be out of a popular dish at 7 PM on a Saturday night.”

“We sold out of it last night.”

“Oh I see. I will have the swordfish special that you mentioned instead.”

That made no sense to me at all to run out of a dish early on a Saturday evening. Someone’s poor planning? Who knows, but I was a bit disappointed.

We had made our reservation at the relatively new Yvonne’s Neptune location for 6:30 which was fine for me because I could be home to watch the NFL playoff game that started at 8:15. It was now 8:15 and we were still waiting for our dinner to arrive. The menu does state that everything is made fresh and to be patient. How patient are we expected to be? Maybe the order should have gone in with the appetizers. My scallop cakes were very delicious and worked very well at appetizing. They were a fond memory at this point and I was appetized to the point of famished. Our dinners finally arrived.

Individual Beef Wellington at Yvonne's Neptune

Individual Beef Wellington at Yvonne’s Neptune

As I said previously my wife had ordered the beef Wellington. It was a filet mignon wrapped in puff pastry. The pastry was very thick and raw on the inside where it actually stretched when cut. There was no detectable paté layer beneath. The meat was cooked perfectly but lacking in flavor, more like what I expect at a wedding venue. Her mashed potatoes were cold and the carrots were hard. The mushroom demi glace was very salty. This dish was a big disappointment.

Our friend enjoyed his NY strip which he said was done perfectly to order. My swordfish did not fair so well. It was overcooked and dry and served atop some rice mixture that was a mystery to me. It tasted like some kind of mucilaginous attempt at risotto but I don’t think it was. The rest of the plate had too many conflicting ingredients going on which are best viewed in the picture.  Sometimes simple is better. I did like the added flavor of the tequila lime sauce.

Grilled Swordfish with Tequila Lime BBQ Sauce

Grilled Swordfish with Tequila Lime BBQ Sauce

Now tell me if I am wrong here. If I went to my butcher and said I wanted two Cornish hens I am sure I would be given Rock Cornish hens which are anywhere from a pound to two pounds or so. Technically a true Cornish hen is a large chicken grown in backyard farms and can be as big a any roaster. However, commercially what we know in this part of the country is a cross between a Plymouth Rock and a Cornish which are slaughtered when still small and are often referred to as Rock Cornish Game Hens. What was served to our friend as a Cornish Hen was half of a three to four pound roaster.  It takes a person who is very skilled with a knife and fork to properly cut up a half of a large chicken on a dinner plate without creating a mess both on and off of the plate. Our friend was not up to the task. This was the only issue that we brought to the attention of our server who, if he checked back on us, would have known sooner. He handled the situation very well and offered to bring a different entree or remove it from the tab. The choice at this hour was obvious. He also offered us complimentary dessert. A very nice gesture and I must give credit for that which is due.

Next thing we know the manager approaches our table and wanted to hear the story again. Reese was apologetic and thanked us for our input and said that this is how they learn. Where he came from I have no idea. I did not see his presence in the dining room that evening asking patrons how thing were so far. In fact no one checked back on us.

Our server asked if we would like dessert but we had to pass on that. We had been in those chairs for far too long. Our check was the only thing that was delivered in a timely manner. Actually seconds. I did make it home in time to see some of the second half of the game.

It sincerely pains me to have to be unequivocally forthright  when things do not go well but I owe it to you, my readers, to provide an honest account. Many times I have skipped writing entirely, but in this case the establishment is prominent and has a lot of potential but apparently has a few mid course corrections to make. We apparently found the intersection of all of them. Can all of the positive reviews be wrong? Certainly not. I would like to say we just came on an off night but there were just too many issues for me to rationalize that.