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The quality of the seafood, much of it sourced from fishing boats docked nearby (Capt.Bob, Maryanne) is fresh and plentiful, if not always cooked with finesse.The massive standby that is Mike’s Seafood, which traces its roots to 1911, when the Monichettis arrived from Ischia along with other Italian immigrants to the swampy Sea Isle City bay that would eventually become “Fish Alley,” defines the prototypical Shore seafood deck experience.With long lines, cheerful counter service, and seafood combos served efficiently in aluminum take-out pans, it has few of the upscale airs of some of its nearby competitors – a casual no-frills approach I appreciate.“This seems like food to me,” commented my wife, and I agreed. Hovering around an entree, they seemed rather steep considering the basic plate compositions, utilitarian service, and minimalist dining room that reminded me of eating in a dollhouse.I enjoyed our meal, but I also wasn’t surprised when a young couple on a date night got up after viewing the menu and left, muttering something about “not feeling well” to the hostess.
And this stylish revamp of the Boathouse in Beach Haven from the owners of Mud City Crabhouse and the Old Causeway in Manahawkin is a gorgeous new destination, a white-washed brick and wood-floored hall with a sunset patio perch for some whimsical modern updates to seafood classics. And local oysters are roasted Rockefeller-style with a 21st-century kale makeover, the bacony braised greens mixed tarragon-infused fennel cream. The “sweet summer corn pasta” was drowned in a strangely heavy sludge of pureed corn and blue cheese.The spice-dusted whole crabs are a draw, and crispy fish tacos are also popular.But the daily grilled fish specials — tuna, swordfish or cold-water John Dory — are the real highlight not to be missed.Savvy as always, we saved a little cash on dessert and headed across the street for a cone of butter brickle and 18 holes of nautical golf.141 N Dorset Ave, Ventnor City, 08406, 609-822-1067, I reviewed the Red Room Cafe favorably when it opened in 2008, and it was promptly sold at the end of that summer.
Owner and commercial fisherman Bill Bright likely caught your dinner, or it came from a friend or relative, like the littlenecks grown by his uncle that come tender and briny in a garlicky bath of butter and wine.