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Jun 9, 2009 12:07 PM

Ocean City w/o kids

My wife and I will be without our boys for 2 days and nights in Ocean City, NJ next month. Any suggestions on places we should go to take advantage of our "freedom"? Even out-of-town suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. Well, I would have recommended Sea Salt in Stone Harbor without hesitation but just learned that it is now closed (Owner/Chef Lucas Manteca is now at The Ebbitt Room in Cape May). We will be going to Blackfish (also Stone Harbor) this coming Sunday for a tasting menu. I'll reply with a review.

    What are you looking for? Cuisine? Casual/Formal? Ocean City itself doesn't have a ton of exciting choices, but some of my personal favorities have been:

    Varsity Inn -- for Breakfast (excellent omelets and pancakes -- better than Uncle Bills imho)

    Dot's Pastries -- delicious donuts and pastries

    Spadaforas -- generally well-prepared fish and shellfish; nothing fancy but solid

    Island Grill -- decent, expansive menu including a rotating menu of wild game (ostrich, elk, boar, etc) -

    And, of course, Mac & Manco's, Kohr Bros, and Hula Grill on the boardwalk.

    Cape May has some nice choices, if you want to drive that far. You might also want to check out Karen and Rei's - - in Clermont

    6 Replies
    1. re: bcsuka

      can you tell me more about hula grill? is this new?

      1. re: njchowgal

        Not new, been on the Boardwalk for at least a few years (which is as long as I have been coming to OC). It is on the Boardwalk between 9th and 10th, in the "Restaurant Row" (5 or so eateries of various quality and fare all in a row). It is a family friendly, boardwalk casual place -- but with some interesting choices beyond the fried stuff, hot dogs and burgers. Last time we were there, my wife had a nice combo platter of ahi tuna, coconut shrimp and a crab cake. The crab cake was only okay, but the shrimp were fantastic and the tuna fresh and tasty. I had the Broiled Mahi with sticky rice and salad w/ papaya seed dressing. The Mahi was good, albeit a touch over-cooked but the sticky rice was addictive and the papaya seed dressing is delish. They will tell you that they are "world-famous" for their dressings and sauces. I agree that they are all pretty darn good.

        It's a nice casual place and, based upon the other options available on the Boardwalk, certainly worthy of a return visit each time that we are in OC.

        Their website:

        1. re: bcsuka

          thanks, i will check it out when i head down there in a few weeks

      2. re: bcsuka

        Thanks bcsuka. Having never been in the area I wondered about a place we might avoid once the kids join us. I'm looking for something that's still casual but a little upscale/contemporary. Hula Grill sounds good. Looking forward to reading about Blackfish.

        1. re: lentnej

          Blackfish was excellent. I'll be posting a complete review when we get back later in the week complete with (hopefully) pics of our menu. Chef Roman was gracious enough to provide us with an 8-course tasting menu. Some of the items were from the menu, some were variations, one was not on the menu at al. The service was very good - attentive (though not over-bearing), friendly and relatively knowledgeable about the menu. In addition to the main restaurant, which is upscale (though not stuffy), they also have a bar area serving a bistro menu (think kobe beef burgers, steak frites and iceberg wedges). Our menu included:

          1. Line-caught Halibut, Ratatouille, Sun-dried Tomato Vinaigrette, Micro greens
          2. Tomato gazpacho w/crushed avocado, shrimp and micro basil
          3. Pan seared foie w/apricot mostardo and rhubarb emulsion
          4. House smoked lock-duart salmon, crispy potato, deep fried egg and creme fraiche

        2. re: bcsuka

          I just went to Karen and Rei's website and looked at their menu. Make sure you take note of this quote: "In consideration of equal dining enjoyment we do allow two hours per table."

          Thoughtful, no? At least you know to come with an eye to the clock!

        3. How about a little french cafe specializing in sweet and savory crepes?

          C'est si bon!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rocket88


            We tried the Creperie last September and were wholly unimpressed. I ordered the Duck crepe and it was almost inedible (the duck was stringy, chewy and the fat wasn't rendered at all). Maybe I just caught them on an off-night? Would love to hear contrary opinions, but I'd be hard-pressed to go back for a second try.

            1. re: bcsuka

              Sorry to hear that. To be honest I've only been there once, but our food was good and the atmosphere is nice that time.

              Maybe try a sweet one next time?

          2. Cross the 34th Street Bridge and gp to the Tuckahoe Inn.