It’s red, white and blue season, so off we went to one of the most patriotic places around: Old Glory Kitchen + Spirits for classic and well-done American food and flag-waving fun. Old Glory is easy to spot; it’s in an old, converted church, and they maximize the architectural accents beautifully. The entry has a mosaic Old Glory sign that’s right next to a showcase containing an original Uncle Sam costume right down to his top hat. The ceiling features a wall-to-wall Betsy Ross flag, and there’s a busy pizza oven in the corner. There is also a nice bar serving tasty and well-priced cocktail favorites and specialty drinks along with numerous craft beers too. Our refreshing frozen margaritas were a great mix with just a hint of salt. The staff is just delightful, and they let you linger. It was our server Michele’s first shift, and she did great, swapping quick answers to our sassy questions, making for a truly fun night.
We kicked off the American evening with a tableful of appetizers, and each one was as good as the next. They offer seven styles of their recommended wings. We chose Honey Siracha which arrived on a sizzling cast iron plate, glazed with a siracha honey ginger sauce and sesame seeds. The aroma was intoxicating, and the wings were just as good. Next was the Coconut Shrimp. The eight golden, butterflied shrimp with an orange chili sauce were crunchy and delicious with enough for seconds for all. We also had their version of Fried Mozzarella which are handmade triangles of gooey cheese – a wonderful spin on a favorite that was yummy. For a little spice, we rounded out the apps with the jalapeno popper dip. It’s a big cast iron skillet of a cheddar and cream cheese mix with roasted jalapenos, crispy bacon and breadcrumbs, served with a generous side of soft, flat bread. It’s not too hot, and yes, a bubbling bowl of sizzling cheese dip is as good as it sounds.
We were stuffed, but on we went for the entrees. Our full diner one switched her original choice of Shrimp Kabobs to the lighter Arugula Salad. It’s is a big, beautiful dish of baby arugula, roasted beets, goat cheese, candied pecans, cranberries and long, slivered slices of crisp apples in a white balsamic vinaigrette. She called it fresh, flavored-filled and delicious.
Diner two went with the Keyport Crab Cakes. They are two nice-sized crab cakes with a Cajun remoulade sauce, served with mashed potatoes and vegetables (ours was steamed broccoli). While these are not quite the elegant crab cakes of fine dining fish restaurants, he said they were tasty. Their punchy Old Bay flavor reminded him of many nights at crab shacks in the Maryland Bay area.
I couldn’t decide between the Meatloaf or the Big Lou – a short rib sandwich with cheddar cheese, candied jalapenos, bacon and barbecue sauce – so I selected the braised short ribs as a sort of combo. The ribs are served with mashed potatoes and vegetables, like the meatloaf and the short ribs as a nod to the sandwich. The tasty, fork-tender ribs are topped with brown gravy and potato matchsticks. It’s a big portion with plenty to bring home, especially if you have a load of appetizers like we did.
The desserts are straight-forward favorites. We chose the Apple Crisp that comes in a big bowl with sliced hot apples, vanilla ice cream, caramel and crushed graham crackers. It’s a little on the sweet side and large enough for sharing. Our second was the Chocolate Lava Cake with whipped cream, caramel and either vanilla or coffee ice cream. It has a rich chocolate taste and did its lava trick nicely. Ordering dessert is your option, and I think the kids would really enjoy them.
Old Glory has a kids menu, they offer catering, and there is a party room upstairs. The parking lot behind the restaurant is large with an easy ramp entry. There’s a big outdoor dining area too with its own bar that rocks in warm weather. Old Glory is just blocks away from Keyport’s lovely waterfront area, so enjoy a quick ride over for a nice capper on a fun meal.
Cost – low
What we liked – The cool, casual and patriotic décor, the friendly staff and customers, the solid menu and great tasting dishes, the easy pacing, the good cocktails.
Old Glory Kitchen + Spirits is located at 84 Broad St. in Keyport. 732-497-5555. It is open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:30 am to midnight. OldGloryNJ.com