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Looking for the BEST restaurant South Jersey shore, Atlantic City to Cape May. Any recommendations?

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Howdy my fellow CH'ers! My wife and I are joining family for a vacation in Ocean City, NJ at the end of the month, and I'm hoping the two of us can steal away for a night of fine dining. We are willing to travel to make that happen. Any thoughts/recommendations? We are foodies through and through, so we would be looking for a superlative, Per Se-quality meal. Does anything fit the bill (or at least come somewhat close to the neighborhood)?

I've done some research already and have come away with the following thoughts so far:
410 Bank Street -- Over priced, over rated and not worth the time
The Ebbit Room -- Seems like a potential winner, I'd love to hear more opinions should anyone care to share
Washington Inn -- I've read good reviews, but the menu on their website doesn't really get me fired up. Do they have more to offer?
Chef Volas -- Seems you either LOVE it or hate it. My wife, however, isn't jazzed by Italian food (no offense meant as she actually is full blood Italian, she's just bored with the cuisine)
The rest of AC -- ummm, anything?
Nicholas -- we are willing to travel but Red Bank is just too far

We are both on the short and thin side, and therefore aren't major wine drinkers. I'll enjoy a glass with my meal, but not much more than that -- so it's really the food (spectacular, top-quality food) that we are looking for, not the wine list. I, in particular, am always interested in a meal that will challenge my pallette and/or expand my culinary horizon. We are both BIG fans of tasting menus.

So, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions. If nothing perfectly fits the bill, I'd be looking for the next closest thing. Thanks in advance and I will, of course, share my review when we get back!

Brad

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  1. Blackfish Avalon is the sister restaurant of Blackfish in Conshohocken, outside of Philly. Excellent dining experience. I don't think you can do better.
    Website is http://www.blackfishrestaurant.com/bf...

    Another favorite but we have not been this year is Karen & Rei's. Very good modern American cuisine with a decided Asian slant.
    Website is http://www.karenandrei.com/indexa.htm

    Let us know where you wind up going.

    1. I"d recommend Sea Salt in Stone Harbor. Check out my review in the Mid-Atlantic section. Very fresh local food. BYOB. It is very small and you must make a reservation. They have a prix fix for 3 courses for $58.

      1. Don't come to Ocean City

        1. In Atlantic City,with no $$ restrictions,I dont think you can do better than the Knife and Fork Inn.Besides being a totally amazing building it's a fine restaurant,might not be a cutting edge place but it does what it does really well.A lot of $$ has gone into upgrading it,and I dont know anybody who came away disappointed.
          If you want to go over to the Mainland,the Renault Winery and the Rams Head Inn have always been expensive and reliable.

          1. Thanks all for the input. I really like Blackfish, Karen & Rei's and Sea Salt (I wish that Sea Salt had a sample menu on their website!). Rams Head Inn looks pretty good as well. I'll let you know which we decide on and report back on the experience!

            As an aside to ChrisOC, I certainly understand your point, and I was perhaps a bit off-base in throwing out the Per Se comparison. I know going in that I'm not going to find a similar experience in the OC area. What I was looking for was a meal that is a cut above (hopefully several) the fried seafood and crappy family fare that you normally find at the beach. I'll certainly stuff my face with plenty of Mac & Manco's and ice cream while there, but for one night I was hoping to find an adult meal. And I think I've definitely got some good candidates to choose from!