In olden times, seashore restaurants were pretty standard. Fried and broiled flounder and shellfish, Manhattan and New England clam chowder, an hour or more wait for a table in the summer and on weekends, and a kids menu. In the 70’s cometh salmon and it pretty much stayed like that until the 2000’s when they added freaky new fishes and tried to update their menus.
This was largely a response to places like Tomatoes and Steve and Cookie’s in Margate popping up in shore towns bringing a more elevated level of cuisine from the traditional seafood shanty.
The old restaurants that have survived have managed to blend the two. They keep a “traditional menu” and have a bunch of newfangled options as well. Something for everybody!
The Crab Trap is just such a restaurant. Next to the traditional fried shrimp, scallops and crab cakes, they’ve got wonderful dishes and at least a half dozen fresh fish selections.
On the Friday evening I was there it was, as always, crowded (in summer, while I hesitate to use the reference, you’re packed in there like sardines), and enjoyable. The bar is populated by 60+ year olds who desperately want to recreate their teens, some going so far as to make out like teenagers. One such couple’s display was so over the top we had to take a picture. Here it is:
Anyway, the food is good and consistent. On the night I was there I had an awesome special: Halibut encrusted with pumpkin seeds topped with a dutch apple compote. It was wonderful, cooked perfectly. Surf and Turf, crab cakes, and fried shrimp gotten by others at the table was reported to be tasty as well.
As an appetizer I had I the treasure chest. It was three mini crab cakes and three lobster puffs (fried bits containing lobster and cheese – delicious). A kids Shrimp Cocktail platter was well done too with lots of fresh veggies and salads.
A great bread basket (including fresh baked muffins) and ample side dish selections (All the standards including stewed tomatoes, one of my favorites) round out the meal. The restaurant is huge, reasonably priced, and the wait staff is always attentive. If you can deal with the crowds during prime hours (which tend to be earlier around here, say, 5 to 8) you’re golden.
A Jersey Shore classic that is still worth visiting.