There’s two reasons locals love Brandl. The first is that the food is awfully good and the second is that everybody likes chef-owner Chris Brandl himself. We’ll talk about the food in a minute.

Brandl is one of those guys who never stops giving of himself and his talent. He’s involved in virtually every local event be it charitable or otherwise. He’s an astute marketer and just an all-around nice guy. As nice as he is though, the restaurant wouldn’t be as popular without great food and that’s why it’s the choice of many for a good evening out.

Located in a strip mall, the space is decorated with bold colors and striking artwork which adds a touch of whimsy to a very serious restaurant.

in late 2019, Brandl re-vamped his menu and transitioned to a steakhouse. He bought a special oven from Spain for cooking the steaks over a charcoal fire. Now, Bone-in NY strip steaks, Filet Mignon, Veal Chops, Lamb Chops and Porterhouse steaks are all cooked in this special oven that produces a delicious crust and juicy, tender interior.

For starters, the crab cakes are a must. My wife who is something of a crab cake aficionado, thinks they’re among the top few she’s had.  The new “escargot” line-up offers the traditional garlic butter sauce, but made with escargot, lobster, shrimp or oysters and they are fabulous.

My wife will take lobster served out of the shell any time she can get it and Brandl’s Lazy Lobster fit the bill. Served with asparagus scallion risotto and orgasmic vanilla bean butter.

Dessert was a pre-ordered raspberry chocolate soufflé that was wonderful.

Excellent food, skillful presentation, wonderful tastes, we left pleasantly full and talked about when we would return to sample more dishes.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: When the weather is nice sit outside on the brick patio, under an umbrella amidst the flowers and twinkling lights.

WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Chef Chris Brandl demonstrates his enormous skill at this unpretentious New American BYO hidden in a Shore strip mall; true, it’s somewhat pricey for Belmar and the downscale decor and not-that-great service could be better, yet most feel this little gem has special occasion written all over it.” ZAGAT