Sunday, May 8, 2011

One man, one vote, one fish and a great day at the New Jersey Shore

Photographs of Asbury Park, NJImage via Wikipedia
Images of Asbury Park, where the revival is far from complete.


Good weather turns my thoughts to the New Jersey Shore, where I spent many summers at a family home in Bradley Beach. 

And when I go to the shore now, I always eat seafood.

My wife and I drove down to Asbury Park on Saturday to look around and have coffee in the still-faded resort's lively downtown.

We had planned to have a late lunch or early dinner at Stella Marina, a bar and restaurant rated top overall in the state at the end of 2009 by The New York Times (with Nisi Estiatorio in Englewood).

After paying $2 at a muni meter, we walked into Stella Marina a little before 3 in the afternoon. The hostess had her head down, then led us to a bare table for two in the first-floor bar and dark-wood dining room, with a good view of the ocean. 

But the place was nearly full of talkative, well-fed customers, and the noise was ear-splitting. I asked if she could seat us upstairs, but she said it was closed. We started looking at menus, but the loud jabbering was unbearable.

We left, and as we passed the hostess, her head was down again, so I'm not sure she heard me saying the room was just too noisy.

The Fishery

We got back in the car and drove toward home -- to The Fishery, a small place with a few tables in South Amboy, where we eat several times a year and have never had a bad meal.

The BYO road house is Greek-owned now, and just inside the door is a small case with fresh fillets, whole fish and live lobsters squirming on ice.

The walls are covered with white-and-black tiles and there are some framed shells and other nautical touches, including a tropical fish tank. 

Your waitress is the young woman who comes out from behind the counter, and the owner-chef picks out the seafood you order and prepares it in an open kitchen.

(In 2016, five years after I wrote this, The Fishery was out of business.)

Fresh seafood

My wife had pan-seared Canadian lobster in the shell over rice in tomato sauce ($18.95 a pound), and I chose a whole Mediterranean sea bass with sauteed fresh spinach and a naked baked potato ($15.75). Soup or salad is included.

We were the only sit-down customers, but for some reason, our meals took about 30 minutes to arrive. We did get bowls of lobster bisque, and water and lemonade right away.

My wife took home lobster and rice, but I demolished my sleek, well-grilled fish and side dishes. Both lobster and fish were delicious.

Stella Marina Bar & Restaurant, 800 Ocean Ave., 
Asbury Park; 732-775-7776.

The Fishery, 1812 Route 35 north, South Amboy; 732-721-9100.

Takeout discount

Sanducci's Trattoria in River Edge is sending out e-mail discount coupons for dining in and takeout.

We used a 15%-off coupon for takeout Friday night and enjoyed three entrees: black linguine with lobster ($18.95), chicken francese with steamed vegetables ($14.50) and capellini with broccoli and shrimp ($16.50).

I asked for the black linguine in tomato sauce, instead of the rich, pink sauce listed on the menu. The restaurant is within 3 miles of my home, and you save even more from not having to tip.

You can sign up for the e-mails at its Web site: Promotions

Watermelon watch

We bought our first seedless watermelon of the season at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack for $7.99, and finished it in a few days. By this past Friday, the price had dropped a dollar. I bought another one.

H Mart in Little Ferry is selling them for less, but they aren't as large as the ones at Costco.
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