Monday, July 25, 2005

Shore 'Nuff

Back to business on Monday morning after a nice weekend spent hanging out on Long Beach Island in NJ. My in-laws live there, so we were able to escape from Charm City for a couple days and grab a couple days of bike riding, miniature golf, sunning and funning. Weather was great with sunny skies and low humidity and the bathwater-like ocean water made for a relaxing cool off when it got a bit too hot on the beach.

Only low point the whole visit was a simply atrocious meal at The Boathouse, which I won't even provide an address or phone number for. It was that bad and this is a restaurant that touts its award of "Best Seafood Restaurant" in some kind of readers poll.

I'm not even sure where to start. Fried Calamari appetizer was decent if short on flavor. Macadamia Encrusted Grouper was okay, though the Mango Rum Butter Sauce tasted exactly like vanilla cake mix. Boullabaise featured a tasty broth and was filled with seafood, but a bunch of flavorless seafood is still a bunch of flavorless seafood. Fried Seafood Sampler was a complete disaster from the lukewarm, stiff Garlic Mashed Potatoes (which tasted like somebody had dumped garlic powder into instant mashed) and overbreaded shrimp to the insulting crabcake (I'd rather eat a frozen Mrs. Paul's Deviled Crab Cake than eat this again) and boring flounder.

The only above average part of the platter was the scallops, which got extra points because they were actually fresh and cooked to perfection.

At a restaurant like that -- which had maybe twenty dishes on its miniscule menu -- all I ask is that you do the seafood platter competently. Doesn't have to be out of this world, but at least it can be competent. And it certainly shouldn't make me angry.

But what do I know? The place was PACKED and you could almost hear the ca-ching, ca-ching sound as table after table turned over for another round of diners.

On the other hand, we visited some friends in Southern Maryland the previous weekend and hit the unpretentious and fun Skippers Pier in Deale. This waterfront bar and restaurant has a picturesque setting and offers above average seafood, crabs and other pub fare without being overpriced. Check 'em out sometime.


William P. Tandy said...

There are others who will quibble about this, but be that as it may, Long Beach Island (oddly enough, and unlike other Jersey shore communitities) has never had a particularly noteworthy seafood restaurant (at least not in the last 20 years or so).

Dan said...

I've only been once, but would rank Howard's pretty high as far as seafood places go. Their lobster bisque was amazing and the french fried lobster to die for. Can't remember what everybody else had that night, but it was all top notch.

My favorite restaurant on the island is definitely Stefano's.