Shouldn't be Missed in Cape May, NJ
- Barbara Jun 2, 2001 08:56 AM
We're going back to Cape May for our annual beach holiday in 2 weeks, and want to try 1 of the more pricey, gourmet restaurants which we haven't in years past because of our son. At 10, he's become quite the gourmand, and wanted some help in sifting through the multitude of expensive restaurants to get from the hype to the worth spending "real thing".
My favorite is a new place called Mansion House, which has been excellent on two visits. I also like the Ebbitt Room and the Washington Inn. Also try the Mad Batter for breakfast (I love the room).
I did not like 410 Bank St., which everyone loves, but I found snooty; I also wasn't blown away by the food, which, at those prices, I should have been.
There are actually some down scale places that make good shore-type food (steamers and crab cakes, etc.) that are really good. (I hope that your son knows that food doesn't have to be fancy to be great!)
I realize that my message is a bit late, but for those of you interested in good Cape May Restaurants, I'd love to put in a little plug for a very charming hole-in-the-wall...
Full disclosure: I cooked in this place 7 years ago as a very enthusiastic 23 year-old. I did go back last spring and found it as wonderful as I remembered, though.
It's called Louisa's, and it's a TINY storefront on Jackson St. with pretty hanging baskets out front.
They serve ONLY local fish, maybe one pasta dish, and a nice chicken breast for fish haters (though if you hate fish I wouldn't bother). The menu is on a chalkboard and changes daily, they use local heirloom vegetables and make their own bread. The menu is unfussy in a way that lets you know that these people KNOW food. Basically, they take pristine ingredients and don't mess with them too much.
A few hassles--reservations are taken for that week only beginning on Tuesdays, no credit cards, no smoking, BYOB (there's a good wineshop around the corner)and they won't give you an icebucket for your white wine. They really, honestly don't have anyplace to store them.
If your'e looking for a FINE DINING experience, this may not be the best bet, but if you want really classy, top-notch local food, it's worth any little hassles. Really friendly staff and owners, also.