I am a fledgling restaurant snob, learning that it’s not worth going out to eat unless the food wows, the atmosphere flows, and memories are made. So, over the past year, Jim and I have done a lot of dining in NYC, leaving NJ restaurants to days when we are too tired to cook or drive to the city.

Nicholas in Red Bank, NJ, put my NYC-food snobbery to shame.

The restaurant, sitting unassumingly on a regular suburban highway near the Jersey Shore, is cozy but chic. There are candles lighted in the fireplace and jazzy music. Two divided rooms make up the restaurant, one with a bar and booths, and the other somewhat fancier, fine dining-looking.

I had the crab and avocado salad, potato gnocchi with braised artichokes, lobster in white truffle sauce and pulled pork in a cinnamon jus. To top it off (like anything that ridiculously delicious needed topping off), the table shared a cheese plate and we all had plates sampling the best desserts—including an orgasmic creme brulee and the best molten chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted!

Throughout the entire dinner, we were treated better than what you normally get at a restaurant of this scale in NYC. The waiters gave beautiful gifts of blueberry bread at the end of the meal, extending the Nicholas experience until breakfast the next morning. And even the smallest things, like the tableware, made me feel fawned over—in NYC I usually find the outwardly beautiful tableware to be a lower quality than what it looks like when I lift it up and inspect. At Nicholas, however, the silver was heavy, high quality and gleaming. Now if that’s not restaurant snobby, you tell me what is! I guess I will pack away my NYC food bias, and leave my snobbery to the forks and knives!