Report: Ocean City, NJ and environs (long)
I just got back from a week in Ocean City, NJ, armed with a list of recs from fpatrick as well as my own internet research and some dumb luck. We ate a crapload of food and as always the secret is to walk, walk, walk the boardwalk. It helps when you have an eight month old who only wants to nap when she's moving. Anyway, here it is, the great, the good, and the ugly as far as our eating went:
Brothers 14 St Bakery - 14th and...Asbury, I think - betw. Asbury and Central? Excellent chocolate croissants and really, really good white cream filled donuts.
The Crab Trap - on the circle in Somers Point. There was a forty minute wait on a Monday night at 6 pm, which tells you something. Everything we had was great - crab imperial, crab cakes in a champagne cream sauce (which I am still dreaming about), a veal pasta dish, stuffed flounder, clams casino, lobster puffs, steamed mussels (there were five of us). Rob, our server, was fantastic - definitely ask for him. We had our baby with us and there's a back room where they seemed to put all the families, which worked out well for us. I also had a delicious Cosmo. The wine list, on the other hand, is sadly lacking - both wines by the glass that were chosen were not very good (unfortunately I can't remember which ones they were). We took dessert to go (chocolate mousse cake and key lime pie) and both were very good.
<a href="http://www.dixiepicnic.com/">... Picnic</a> - a brand new restaurant (opened in September; this is their first summer) and oh, is it good. They're on 8th Street just a half block from the 8th St Boardwalk entrance. We discovered them completely by accident. It's family owned and very fresh; you order cafeteria-style and they bring the food to you. Friends raved about the breakfast; their box lunches look adorable; we had dinner. My husband had ribs that he said were perfectly done with wonderful sauce, not too sweet, and I had mahi-mahi in a ginger-honey marinade with mango salsa, which was magnificent. For dessert we had their signature Upcakes, which are cupcakes turned upside down and frosted on the bottom and sides for maximum frosting coverage. They were delicious. I cannot recommend this place highly enough and I hope they get lots of Chow business this summer.
The Hobby Horse - 8th and Ocean - wonderful ice cream. We both had a scoop of sticky bun which was SO GOOD, and I had a second scoop of black raspberry blast (also great) and he had some chocolatey thing that he also liked. Waffle cones very good.
Mack and Manco's - I know some people don't like it and I don't know why. The crust is delightfully thin. The sauce is neither too sweet nor not sweet enough. There's just enough of everything. It's good hot, lukewarm, standing up, sitting down. We had four meals of M&M's and are sorry we don't live closer.
Ove's - 4th and Boardwalk. Fan-freaking-tastic cinnamon dipped apple cider donuts. We went three times.
Rauhauser's - 721 Asbury - wonderful candy. The double dipped mints WERE great, as were the sandwich mints, the truffles, and the buttercreams.
Shriver's - definitely the best fudge and taffy on the Boardwalk, no question, And yes, we tried them all. The cinnamon taffy and plain old vanilla fudge are my favorites.
Varsity Inn - 605 E. 8th Street - we ate lunch there first (wonderful sliders for me; a superlative roast pork au jus for him) and liked it so much we went back the next day for breakfast. He had a cheeseburger at 10 am just because he could (and pronounced it delicious) while I had their absolutely yummy french toast with cinnamon-honey butter. Great service, wonderful food.
Yum Yum's Ice Cream - 31 JFK Blvd, Sea Isle City - edging out Hobby Horse by just a little bit, probably because they were baking their waffle cones as we entered. Ice cream's about neck and neck.
Carmen's Seafood Restaurant - 43rd St, Sea Isle City. No surprise, the seafood dishes were better than the non-seafood - the chicken parm a friend had was dry and swimming in grease at the same time. I had sauteed crabmeat which was delicious, if drowned in too much butter. Too much butter was also the problem on my husband's fish, which was perfectly cooked scrod topped with buttery Ritz crumbs. Mussels over pasta seemed to be the best bet. Service started out pretty badly but got much better over the course of the meal.
The Chatterbox - 9th St - I had a pork roll sandwich, which is hard to screw up if you're using Taylor. Actually, we all stuck to diner food, which they made just fine.
Del's - 934 Boardwalk. I had their perfectly fine crabcake sandwich twice when my husband had a craving for a fish sandwich. The roll in particular was very good. For a boardwalk crabcake, I was surprised at how little filler there seemed to be.
Five Guys - in Somers Point. We ate here on our way in having gotten horribly lost trying to take some screwed up back way and not having any idea how close to OC we actually were. It was decent as usual. The fries are better than the burgers and they really need to offer more than one kind of cheese.
Fralinger's - second best taffy and fudge in OC, but Shriver's is far and away the best.
Katina's - 501 e. 9th - Acceptable Greek food. Abrupt yet tolerable service. No cucumber in the tzatziki sauce? Huh?
Monkey Bread - 972 Boardwalk. Reeeeaaaallllly doesn't need the icing they glop on top. Cinnamony goodness underneath quite delicious; icing makes it way, way too sweet.
Rojo's Jersey Mex - 11th and Haven - decent enough fresh fast Mexican, a la Baja Fresh. They had some creative stuff on the menu, and we enjoyed our meal.
Uncle Bill's Pancake House (we tried the OC branch) - I have no idea what people see in this place. The pancakes were thin, limp and full of bubble holes. The omelette was underdone. The service was bordering on psychotically bad. I would chock this up to being a shore restaurant, but it was the only bad service we had all week.
Primo's - pizza so uninteresting that we were wondering all week why we'd wasted a Mack and Manco's meal on it
Laura's Fudge and Fudge Kitchen - both the taffy and fudge we sampled from each tasted as if they'd been sitting in their cases a long, long, long time.
Kohr Bros - in a world filled with premium homemade ice cream, I just don't want to waste tummy space on KB anymore. the flavor was weak (pb&c) and the choc. dip was barely there.
Bob's Lemonade (I think that's what it was called) - weakest lemonade ever created.
Wow. Excellent tonnage.
You didn't try Voltaco's on west?
We'll try Dixie Picnic next visit. Looking forward to it.
Mack and Manco's is a bit different from other pizzas. Accept it on it's own terms and you'll love it. Two of us ate a whole pie sitting on the beach.
Hamburger Construction Company on the boredwalk make a quite decent cooked to order hamburger.
You missed the BEST place in all of OC to eat:
Hula Grill!! 10th and boardwalk. The most delicious homemade papaya salad dressing and Hawaiian barbeque sauce. I've had almost everything on the menu and haven't had a bad meal yet.
And I've found that you either love Mack and Manco's or don't. I'm in the "don't" camp....and happen to LOVE Primo pizza. Crispy, thin crust and tangy sauce, not sweet.