Review of The Nightmare Before Dinner

The Nightmare Before Dinner:Recipes to Die For: The Beetle House Cookbook by [Neil, Zach]

The Nightmare Before Dinner

Zach Neil

Race Point Publishing

The Quarto Publishing Group

October 16, 2018

BlurbGet your goth on with 60+ recipes from Beetle House restaurant, where “every day is Halloween” and guests indulge in a deadly delicious menu inspired by the works of Tim Burton and all things dark and lovely.

If you delight in ghoulish frights and movies like The Nightmare Before ChristmasBeetlejuice, and The Evil Dead; then you’ll love the official cookbook of Beetle House, the Halloween-inspired restaurant with locations in New York and Los Angeles.

The Nightmare Before Dinner features more than 60 gothically delicious recipes from chef-owner Zach Neil. Indulge in the Edward Burger Hands, a juicy burger with a Sriracha cream sauce, stuffed with smoked bacon, fried egg, pepper jack cheese, and avocado. You’ll also learn to make an array of spooky craft cocktails, from the Coco Skellington to the Beetle’s Juice.

Plus if you’re vegan or vegetarian, The Nightmare Before Dinner has your spooky side covered, too—it offers a vegan alternative or ingredient swap for each and every recipe in the book!

Throw your own goth-themed party! A bonus section provides inspiration for table settings, decorations, and foods to serve at your holiday or screening party. This is the perfect cookbook for the Tim Burton movie buff, Halloween enthusiast, or goth in your life.


I knew nothing about Beetle House when I was invited to review The Nightmare Before Dinner; however, I did know Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetle…(just kidding 😉 ). And what more incentive does the paranormal- and Halloween-loving person need to review a book when it contains recipes like “Frog’s Breath & Nightshade Risotto” or “Bloodbath Cobbler?”

First off, I know some of you who are friends to this blog are vegans, vegetarians, or pescetarians, so I just want to mention that this cookbook is perfect for you. The author has provided a list of vegan substitutions, but in addition has offered a suitable substitution or variation for most of the recipes that contain meat.

However, I do have a qualm about recommending a cookbook in which the author says that cilantro is disgusting. (Kidding.) Granted, cilantro is one of those things that people don’t seem to be indifferent over; you either love it or hate it. If you are one of the rare individuals who is apathetic, drop a note in the comments so that you can write a future guest post on cilantro apathy. I, however, LOVE cilantro and will continue to put it in my guac or even its variation in The Nightmare Before Dinner: “Brains & Chips.” This would be a definite recipe to munch on while watching The Walking Dead.

Many of the recipes sound delicious and/or intriguing. “Diablo’s Arenas Crostini (aka Devil’s Grits Crostini)” looks like the perfect comfort food with spicy, cheesy grits on crostini and “Hallowpeño Honey Cheddar Cornbread,” which also incorporates the yumminess that is spice and cheese.

The photographs are gorgeous and compelling. Compelling? One word: “Beetle Pie.”

Here’s how it’s described:

The colors and textures of this pie are inspired by one of my all-tie favorite films, Beetlejuice. I wanted the look of it alone to somehow remind you of Tim Burton and his marvelous, memorable goth-com. The brilliant green color of the homemade pistachio pudding and the crunch chocolate crust evoke the corpse-fed grass and rich soil of a graveyard, while the seedy and sweet blackberry jaw mimics the texture of blood and bugs.”

Erm. The pie in the picture looks delightfully edible, the description not quite as much.

The content covers the gamut from snacks/appetizers to main course, to dessert and cocktails. Near the end, a section with menu and props will help you throw an inspired party regardless of the time of year.

While this might seem a very niche cookbook, I think the recipes are interesting enough to pass beyond pigeon-holing.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Nightmare Before Dinner will be available on October 16. You can pre-order a copy from Amazon here.

rating: 4-and-a-half

4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies


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