NO LIMITS CAFÉ
ADDRESS: 418 NJ-35, Red Bank, NJ 07701
I came back to the NJ area this weekend to attend one of my high school friend’s wedding in the area. Since I was coming cross country, I decided to fly back a day early so that I would be able to spend some time with my parents. My mom mentioned that she wanted to take me to a place called No Limits Café, so for lunch on Friday, we made the trip over there.
The café has a pretty convenient location on Route 35, near the intersection with Oak Hill Road. The restaurant itself is nestled right in between the Thornberry’s appliance store and the Middletown Car Wash, with its parking lot in the back. (Note that the parking lot can get pretty packed during peak lunch hours, so keep that in mind when planning a visit.)
Although the restaurant is only open during lunch hours, one aspect that makes it stand out is that the restaurant employs adults with intellectual disabilities, both in the dining area as well as in the kitchen. We were immediately greeted when we walked in, and got led out to our table in the outdoor patio area by our waiter, Tyler. He went to get our drinks while we began to take a look over the menu.
There is certainly a good spread of different types of lunchtime foods, ranging from salads to sandwiches to protein bowls. A good portion of their menu, however, was occupied with their sandwich options, so my mom and I decided to go with that. I ended up going with the Rally Cap sandwich while my mom went with the Steak sandwich, although we were going to exchange half of our sandwiches so that we could sample the other.
While we waited for our food, the waitstaff brought out a complimentary tray of potato chips, hummus, and some vegetables (celery and carrots). I thought that this was a nice complement to your main course, since that doesn’t include a full-sized side. The restaurant was pretty packed, so the food did take slightly longer to come out, but it wasn’t an issue at all, since we were enjoying the outdoor dining patio ambiance and the nice weather on that particular day.
On initial look, the sandwiches seemed like a pretty good portion size. I also liked that each layer of the sandwiches was pretty distinct, so you could really see the different ingredients that comprised of each. (We substituted out for goat cheese in both of the sandwiches.) I started off with my half of the Rally Cap, and it was solid. The flavors from the grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, arugula, basil purée, balsamic glaze, and goat cheese worked really well, and you could get each distinct flavor profile from the ingredients through your bites. Even though it was primarily savory flavors, the arugula added a peppery element along with the balsamic glaze giving it a slight tartness and sweetness as well.
Of the two sandwiches, however, I think that I liked the Steak more. Even though it was just the grilled steak, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and arugula, sometimes it’s the simple combinations that work out the best. The steak itself was grilled to a nice medium temperature, sliced thinly and in manageably-sized pieces for sandwich eating. The caramelized onions had a great sweetness that blended well with the goat cheese, and the arugula had that peppery note that helped to balance things out.
The impression I got of the food makes it easy to see why the restaurant seems to be packed during lunch service. The quality of the food was high and there are numerous options to choose from on subsequent visits. I think that the mission of the restaurant to provide opportunities for adults with intellectually disabilities is great, and it is encouraging to see the members of the staff in very positive spirits as they go about their responsibilities. I’m glad that my mom made the suggestion to give the café a try, as it was definitely a great stop for some good food and supporting a worthy cause.
Let’s now take a look at the No Limits Café Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** Rally Cap Sandwich **
Grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, arugula, basil purée, balsamic glaze, and goat cheese served on ciabatta.
** Steak Sandwich **
Grilled steak, caramelized onions, arugula, and goat cheese, served on a French baguette.
And finally, here are my rankings for No Limits Café:
Food: 4.5 / 5
The array of sandwich options provides a variety to choose from, and I thought that the quality of the food itself was very good. The flavors of each ingredient within the sandwiches were pronounced, the combinations were really good, and everything tasted really fresh and not heavy at all.
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
I really liked the décor elements on the inside of the restaurant, using a combination of the wood and brick to provide a modern feel to things. The large windows did also help to bring in a lot of natural light into the dining space. The outdoor patio setup is also pretty nice as well, with sun umbrellas to help guests keep comfortable.
Service: 4.25 / 5
Our waiter, Tyler, did a great job with handling our dining experience from start to finish. He also stopped by after our food arrived to ensure that we still had everything we needed. Given how busy the restaurant was during the peak dining hours, I thought the wait time for the food was pretty reasonable as well.
Price: 4.25 / 5
The pricing for the sandwiches, while also taking into account the sides (coleslaw, pickles) as well as the complimentary tray of chips, hummus, and veggies, I thought seemed pretty fair. Not to mention, I would also have been happy to pay if the price leaned on the higher side, to help support a good cause.