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Archive for the ‘Region – Jersey Shore’ Category

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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. (more…)

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The Ocean City location of Uncle Bill’s Pancake House is the only one open year round.  This might have something to do with the fact that Ocean City (along with Cape May) have become more of a “year round” town, eschewing the old practice of boarding up everything in town from October to April.

The good:  Uncle Bill’s has a great breakfast.  It’s the only thing they do (except daily lunch specials) and they do it very well.  Eggs, pancakes, waffles, creamed chipped beef.  You name it, if it’s breakfast food, it’s on the menu.  

They have eight locations across the southern New Jersey shore open during the summer. (more…)

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You’ve seen it as you drive over the bridge just past the Great Egg Harbor tolls on the Garden State Parkway on your way to the shore.  It’s worth getting off at the next exit, making two right hand turns and driving about a mile until you dead end at the Tuckahoe Inn.  The Tuckahoe used to be a restaurant at the base of the Beesly’s Point Bridge.  The bridge is still there, but cars haven’t traveled over it in years.

Still, the people keep filling the Tuckahoe even if it’s not on the way to anywhere.  The food, the atmosphere and the view are three reasons.  First, there’s the summertime Beach Bar.  On a Friday evening the live music blends with a marvelous water view where you can take in the tunes, some good drinks and watch the traffic as people (like me) flock to the shore.

Tuckahoe is reasonably priced and the food is good.  The Onion soup is always a crowd pleaser as is the Clam Chowder.  But the thing I like most about the Tuckahoe is the menu is new each week.  They have a list of standards, but one entire side of the menu is new each week.

From that side I selected an Eggplant Stacker.  It was, in essence, Eggplant Parm but insert fresh spinach where cheese would normally go.  The tomato sauce was fresh and made with ripe Jersey tomatoes, a real treat.  I was treating my mom to dinner who had a Ribeye sandwich and some cream of broccoli soup.  The big onion rings that came with her sandwich really made the meal.

Tuckahoe has an old seashore feel with nautical touches and the view of the Great Egg Harbor bay is a delight year round.  A visit to the Tuckahoe the day after Thanksgiving is a recent, but consistent family tradition.

Make the detour to the Tuckahoe.  You won’t be disappointed.

Tuckahoe Inn

1 Harbour Road & Route 9

Beeslys Point, NJ 

You can also get there by boat:

Navstar: Lat. N39* 17.257′

Long: W74*37.703

Alt. 7ft.

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Charlie’s Bar is one of Somers Point’s famous saloon and restaurants.  Along with the Anchorage, Mac’s, the Dunes, Tony Mart’s….some still around, some gone, it was the bar crawl of the south Jersey shore set.

Surprisingly, I’d not been there before my visit last night.  The bar is a nice size (and oh do I ever appreciate New Jersey’s anti-smoking ban in places like Charlie’s) and the restaurant is cramped but not uncomfortably so.  However, this is not a place to have an intimate or serious conversation unless you’d like Flo from Margate dining with her son and grandchildren at the table next to you to know your business.

My bloody mary was nice and spicy, the beers they served were ice cold and plentiful, the waitress made sure our drinks were always full and the menu is large offering excellent wings, many appetizers, sandwiches, salads and entrees.

One sour note and just one sour note:  The She-Crab soup might be about the worst thing i’ve ever had.  More like porridge, my cousin said he felt like Oliver Twist trying to eat the thick and floury bowl of crab crap.  Don’t ever order it.

Everything else – the wings with three different kinds of sauce (mild, hot and BBQ) and my most excellent Tuna Melt were delicious.  At $5.95 I felt like I should have offered them more money.

They offered entrees and I really wanted to try the black and bleu crab topped prime rib, but didn’t feel like a whole entree.

I recommend Charlie’s highly.

800 Shore Road in Somers Point, N.J.
Phone: (609) 927-3663

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I’ve read about the Hula Grill on Ocean City’s boardwalk for a few years now and always intended to try it.  The write ups make the place sound perfect:  a chef who spent time in Hawaii, brings his Hawaiian influenced cooking back to the OC and serves up fresh fish dinners.

That’s the spin.  The reality was different.

I visited the Hula Grill on the first Saturday in August.  On a Saturday in August, I expect any restaurant at the shore to be crowded.  The Hula Grill had tables open, but was busy.

First things first, you order at the cash register and pay up front.  Then sit and wait for your meal.  The Hula Grill aspires to be a “sit down” restaurant, but is run more like a pizza shop.  The staff, I felt, treated us as almost an annoyance and when the food finally came, there was no 2-minute followup “is everything ok, can we get you anything”.

As for the dinner:  I tried a mixed grill which had a crab cake (which I did not care for), some coconut shrimp (which were tasty) and a piece of fish.  The fish, a piece of Ahi tuna, was so dry and overcooked, it looked and tasted like chicken breast. 

I will give the salad that accompanied dinner high marks, but overall my experience (and the experience of my dining companions) was such that we’ll skip this place from now on.

I’m much more interested in trying Opa, the crepe and gyro place run by a nice Greek family next door.  More on that after I give it a try…

Hula Grill

960 Boardwalk

Ocean City, NJ

www.hulagrilloc.com

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My brother has raved about La Fontana Del Mare for quite a few years telling me how much I’d like it.  Normally I rush out to track down a rumored good meal, I’m always skeptical about recommended italian food.  As I said in my Villa di Roma post, I prefer kitschy Italian – red checked tablecloths, cheesy italian flavored music playing and a sprinkling of mobster wannabes enjoying a meal at a nearby table.

La Fontana Del Mare had two of the three – the tablecloths are creme linen here. (more…)

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Let’s start off by making sure we’re all talking about the same place.

The Clam Bar, Smith’s Clam Bar, Smitty’s or “That clam place in Somers Point”.

Yep, they’re all the same place.  For our purposes, the Clam Bar.

My brother, a local, preached the gospel of the Clam Bar for some time, prompting me a few years back to finally say “sure, let’s try it”.  He wasn’t wrong. (more…)

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