I thought I had reviewed Dock’s Oyster House in Atlantic City before, but evidently I have not.
Simply put: It is my favorite restaurant that does not specialize in steak. (Peter Luger’s in New York (Brooklyn) and The Chophouse in Gibbsboro, NJ top the steak list.)
The short history: Dock’s has been around 1897 serving classic seafood (fried and broiled shellfish and mild whitefish and, of course, oysters). But this is not just your typical broiled and fried fish ship. This is very, very nice restaurant with both modern food and the classics offered.
White linen tablecloths and a kick ass raw bar get things started in this cozy, slightly cramped (but worth it) spot on Atlantic Avenue. It has it’s own valet parking lot so no worries about leaving your car on the unpredictable AC streets.
Bread and unsalted butter starts off the meal along with oyster crackers and horseradish.
Service is superb. From start to finish they cater to your every whim. This has been my experience on each of my five visits over the last three years.
My meal started with a dozen oysters (Stingrays, Barcats, Appalachicolas and my favorite Cape May Salts) from the raw bar that offered 13 choices. Tuna Tartare and huge shrimp cocktails were all excellent.
I opted for a house salad (ala carte) and this mix of greens, walnuts, bleau cheese and apples with a cider vinaigrette was outstanding. One of the best salads I’ve ever had.
Dinner for two of us was the macadamia nut crusted halibut over saffron rice with a fantastic tropical sauce underneath. It was really dynamite.
The barramundi was prepared slightly different then the last time I visited (last November) but was reported excellent served with fresh mushrooms, onions, shallots, tomatoes and spinach.
A fried combination platter of crab cake, shrimp and flounder and another platter of fried shrimp were both accompanied by the famous french fries.
Ok a word about the fries. The family I took with me on this visit were also with me in November. They have talked about the fries since our previous visit. They are homemade, peeled thin almost shoestring style and flash fried thin like potato chips but not as crispy. They are delicious (and messy).
We still saved room for dessert and man am I glad we did.
Banana caramel cream pie was declared the best pie one diner had ever had. Strawberry rhubarb pie was fresh and tasty.
The lemon meringue pie I had was the best lemon meringue pie I’ve ever had. No hyperbole here. It was worth the trip alone.
Drinks were fresh and well prepared (except a Tom Collins that was all sour and no sweet).
It’s not cheap. Dinner was $350 including gratuities for 5 of us. But overall I think if you’re in search of a nice place to eat in the Atlantic City area and want to avoid the casinos (or just get some of the best seafood around) then head to Dock’s.
They have an outstanding website that includes the menu (with prices). Check it out.