We’ve resolved this year to eat out more and try new restaurants this summer at the Jersey shore. Our first experience, at the new Ocean City Seafood Co. in Ocean City, NJ is an experience I hope we don’t duplicate or we’ll be back to cooking and ordering in.
It was that bad. First, I saw Ed Hitzel review the place on Hitzel Ala Carte’ on WMGM TV40 news last weekend. Keeping in mind Hitzel never gives a place bad review he made this place sound like mecca for a crab cake lover like myself. I filed it away and my sister read a review also raving about the place and suggested we try it this weekend. Chef Paul Raymond, the proprietor, seems to have a following.
His reputation, including a Best of Philly win for the crabcakes, may be deserved. But it was not evident on this visit.
So our party of seven went, braced for a Memorial Day weekend wait.
The wait for a table wasn’t bad, only about 20 minutes. We were served drinks fairly quickly and a few minutes after we ordered our soups arrived. Both the Cream of Crab and the Maryland Crab soups were loaded with real local crabmeat (not pasteurized from the Phillipines which is what most places serve). The Maryland Crab could have been a little warmer temperature-wise, but it was excellent.
The good parts ended there. The young waitstaff, bless their hearts, tried. But the kitchen seemed to be more focused on the takeout business and not the 30 or so patrons sitting in the dining room.
After sitting for an hour and forty minutes, no kidding, we finally told the waitress we were leaving and would like to pay for our soup. She told us they were putting our food on plates as we spoke. Another 10 minutes passed before food was placed in front of us. The crabcakes were more filler then crab, and if these are legendary crabcakes they are legendary like Bill Buckner’s error in the ’86 World Series or Mitch Williams slider to Joe Carter in the ’93 series. i.e. not good legends.
The fried shrimp and flounder enjoyed by other people in the dining party was received well, but my sister’s crab cake was – get this – frozen solid in the middle.
So, not only were the crabcakes no good, they aren’t even fresh. They’re frozen. Stewed tomatoes were too thick and heavy on the flour, cole slaw and fried were tasty.
Just to assure you the problem was not exclusive to our one table: two other tables got up and left during the evening without getting their meals after hour plus waits.
I can attribute the poor service to growing pains of a young (less than a month old) business. I cannot excuse the poor food however. If the food was worth the wait, I’d tell you so.
It isn’t. Skip the Ocean City Seafood Company and, for now, make the trip over the bridges into Somers Point, Atlantic City/Margate/Ventnor or SEa Isle/Strathmere for seafood.
9th & Central Ave.
Ocean City, NJ