Foodies have a new fine dining destination at the Jersey Shore!

Cross & Orange in Asbury Park officially opens on Thursday, February 12th. It's the newest venture by Chris and Bob Fahey (of Edgar's Pub in Manasquan and Asbury Lanes in Asbury) in the spot formerly occupied by Ivan and Andy's Prime.

Luckily I was able to get in during the soft opening to sample the creations of Chef Sam Byrne, and I left totally stuffed, and excited to go back for another meal.

First things first, the drinks. There are few things I appreciate more than a handcrafted cocktail with fresh ingredients, and the drink menu at Cross & Orange is one worth exploring. I've been on a Moscow Mule (vodka, lime, and ginger beer) kick lately, so imagine my excitement when I saw an entire section dedicated to mules! I enjoyed one with pineapple juice and pear vodka with a cinnamon stick garnish - totally refreshing with a nice kick from the ginger!

Cross + Orange Asbury Park bar
The bar is gorgeous and the specialty cocktail menu has a lot of great options (Laurie Cataldo)

The wine list is also worth checking out, with a nice range of options to choose from, including a fair amount of high end bottles.

The meal started with a lovely amuse of blowtorch shrimp with salad hearts and tzatziki. The shrimp was heavily (and beautifully) spiced, and perfectly cooked. It paired nicely with the cool sauce.

I enjoyed the charred octopus appetizer - they were very well cooked, and though the pea and fava bean relish it came with offered a nice balance of flavor, I was looking for just a touch more acid on the dish...overall it was good. It was served with a croquette and some perfect little bites of chorizo.

My friend loved the foie gras, served on spiced french toast with charred pineapple.

Cross + Orange Asbury Park chicken
Chicken coq au vin with confit thigh beignet (Laurie Cataldo)

Dinner for me was the chicken coq au vin with a confit chicken thigh beignet. The chicken was juicy and incredibly flavorful, and the red wine sauce it came with was delicious.

My friend chowed on the Dover sole with parsnip puree. Yum! There were also sides for the table of creamed spinach with goat cheese, ultra thick fries with truffle, and my favorite, colcannon (mashed potatoes with creamed kale and spring onion foam.)

I was already super satisfied with dinner...and then came a little pre-dessert treat! Panna cotta with black truffle (and a hint of black pepper.) The combination of flavors was something totally new for me, but it definitely shows off Chef Byrne's creativity and love of food.

Dessert was an apple pecan galette, absolutely delicious, with the most perfect flaky tart crust. The apples had a spicy peppery bite, which I wish would have been balanced by a little caramel sauce or a bit of ice cream, but let's be real -- I finished the whole thing, and I'd have it again.

We were also served a large gingersnap cookie with pignoli nuts...a perfect cap on the meal, with spot on flavor and texture.

Cross & Orange Asbury Park restaurant
The dining room at Cross + Orange is simply decorated but definitely has a feeling of warmth (Laurie Cataldo)

We all know service can make or break a meal, and the staff here was attentive and absolutely knowledgeable. It wound up being a LONG meal, as we were there for the better part of 3 hours, but I'm sure once normal dinner service starts up that won't be the case.

Cross & Orange is serving up a high-end menu, so expect high-end prices, but even if you have to save it for a special occasion, make it a point to get there. They also serve a much more affordable bar menu, which will give you an excuse to try some of those amazing specialty cocktails!

They are pretty much sold out for Valentine's Day, but I recommend making a reservation for another night as soon as you can!

Cross & Orange is located at 508 Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park. Closed Mondays. Call 732-361-5502 or visit for more info.

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