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Dining with Draz: The Polo Club

By Lori Draz

They say good things come to those who wait, and The Polo Club has proven that saying is true. One look at the Polo Club’s rich interior, and it was love at first sight. It’s remarkably large on the inside, with brick walls and wood panels, big tables with gorgeous furniture, oversized fireplaces, cozy dining spaces throughout and tasteful horse-themed artwork. It has a real country club feel and also reminded me of some of the great hotels in Washington, D.C. and New York City like the Regency. It feels so well-established that it’s hard to believe it’s a new location. Everything from the lighting, tableware, glasses and appointments, has clearly been carefully well-chosen. Kudos to the interior designer.  


We sank into our large leather club chairs and ordered a round of tasty cocktails from the well-stocked bar. Each was large and packed a punch; it was a perfect way to ease into the evening as we enjoyed the refined, warm energy and the views. There is not a bad seat in the house, and ours overlooked a cheerful, illuminated tree that is the centerpiece of an outdoor dining area. Whether you are in front of one of the massive fireplaces, tucked into a cozy nook or enjoy a seat at the bar, you will not be disappointed. 

We began with two appetizers and a Caesar Salad split three ways. Our first was the server- recommended Dumplings, and she made a good pick. They were whisper crisp and generously filled, served with a bold but not hot Korean gochujang sauce. The Firecracker Shrimp were just wonderful. They are big, juicy and lightly coated with a shiny Thai chile glaze – a really delightful meal opener. The Ceasar was good, but mildly flavored. If you like the strong punch of garlic and anchovy, you may want to ask the chef to ramp it up, but I appreciated not needing a breath mint when done. 

Now for the entrées. Diner one selected Atlantic Salmon that sits on a smooth sweet potato purée with baby carrots, topped with a chipotle-tamarind glaze. Our salmon lover gave this dish high marks. She loved the sear and the moistness of the fish and really liked the sweet accent that had a soft touch of heat. 

Diner two had Scallops served over a lobster risotto. This was a good to the last bite dish. He likes a hard char on his scallops, and they did a great, golden-edged job without overcooking them. He loved the risotto too and proudly showed off the chunky lobster meat throughout. 

I went with a classic 12-ounce Strip Steak, which is also available in a 16-ounce size. It comes served over a bed of Brussels sprouts with cranberries. This was a fine piece of meat, cooked to a perfect medium rare. I also ordered the fingerling potatoes as a side, and there were plenty of them for everyone. I’m a little curious as to how they picked Brussels sprouts as a base. I love them, but I know there are some who don’t. If you’re in the latter group, ask about a substitution and also ask the chef to really cook them as mine were just a little hard, though still good. 

We ended with delicious three desserts. They are able to be shared but just as easily finished by one. Our first was a Chocolate Mousse Cake, which we enjoyed, but we had a split decision on our favorites of the other two. They have a nice gelato menu, and our pick of Cherry Pistachio Gelato was fabulous. The sweet chunky cherries burst in your mouth, and the nuts were a crunchy delight. That got two nods from our diners. My favorite was an apple dessert that was a combination of a pie and a cake. The sweet apples screamed fall and went so well with the coffee which was superior. 

There’s a big parking lot and it’s handicap accessible, plus the bathroom is beautiful. The Polo Club is a place you can be proud to share with anyone, from treasured friends, business associates, special occasion celebrators and even for a quick meal in a place that will transport you.

Cost- moderate 

What we liked- The extraordinary décor with its elegant appointments, wood and artwork; the leather chairs, fireplaces and roomy tables; the friendly staff; the large and potent cocktails; the lovely tableware and the big parking lot; multiple seating spaces; the open-air kitchen and long bar; the careful and comfortable lighting; and that clubhouse vibe. 

We give it 5 Js. 

The Polo Club is located at 216 Route 34 in Holmdel, right at the Colts Neck line. 732-444-1931. It is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30 to 11 pm. Closed Monday.

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