As more chefs bring their talent to Monmouth County, it’s no surprise that they’re branching outside of hot spots like Red Bank, Asbury Park, and Long Branch. In an effort to spread the wealth, Chef Chris Dutka opened 618 Restaurant, forever changing the landscape of Freehold Twp.’s cuisine scene.
“618 Restaurant is different from what Freehold is used to,” said Dutka who is Executive Chef and Owner of 618 Restaurant in Freehold. “We’re bringing a creative vibe to town.”
The menu reads like a dream trip around the world – a mixture of Mediterranean, Italian, Caribbean, Asian, and French flavors or as Dutka calls it, “Creative New American.” Dutka, who is also owner of the popular catering company, Christopher’s Kitchen Catering, has the experience to back up all of these big flavors, heading kitchens in Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Destin, Florida. After building out his catering business, he realized he left his heart in the restaurant business. (Lucky for us!)
Creative New American Dishes at 618 Restaurant
This modern meets rustic restaurant is just what downtown Freehold needed. From its funky lights to its thick barn doors, 618 Restaurant is the epitome of what foodies are looking for when it comes to a staple restaurant. Since opening on November 1st, 618 Restaurant has become the place to dine on favorites like their Shrimp and Grits (“we sell a lot of them”) that’s full of Cajun spiced shrimp and served with green chili poblano grits, topped off with a spicy butter sauce. Not to be outdone, the Steamed Pork Bun appetizer is a decadent bite of rich pork belly, paired with bright cucumber and pickled veggies.
While the appetizers are delicious, be sure save some room for the entrees (the Mediterranean Style Bronzino served with roasted cauliflower salsa verde is tempting as is the Espresso Rubbed Filet Mignon) and of course dessert (you’ll be making a big mistake if you don’t order the Warm Sticky Coffee Cake that according to Dutka, people literally “freak out about.”)
Even though the menu itself is a fusion of culinary flavors and ingredients, Dutka notes that he never fuses his dishes. “If I’m making an Asian dish, it’s all Asian.” (We’re on board with that!)
If the promise of sticky coffee cake didn’t send your taste buds into a frenzy, maybe some savings will spark your wallet. At 618 Restaurant, every day is quite literally Happy Hour. Enjoy can’t miss deals on all your favorite drinks and dishes (the Shrimp and Grits dish is just $5 at the bar) all day, every day, and every night except Friday and Saturday evenings (when really we’re just happy to be out).
As for all of you romantic foodies looking to impress your date, 618 Restaurant has the special event for you. Chef Dutka will be preparing a five-course food and wine pairing menu for just $89 per guest on Sunday, the 12th. Just prepare yourself as you’ll have to choose between a few options per course and when it’s between Tuna Poke, Florida Grouper, Jersey Monkfish, and Roasted Wild Mushrooms (that’s just the first course), you know you’ll have to strike a deal with your date to divide and conquer.
If we still haven’t convinced you, take it from Chef Dutka who only wants to impress his guests with excellent food.
“When a guest tells me that something good came to the area, it makes it all worth it to me,” said Dutka. After dining here ourselves, we’re 100% sure he gets that compliment a lot.