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I'm thinking that the best seafood shack

coldbeer May 24, 2010 08:47 AM

In New Jersey might be in Flemington. The Blue Fish Grill is what countless Jersey shore beachfront dives should strive to be. I could eat their fish tacos every day.

Blue Fish Grill
9 Central Ave Ste 4, Flemington, NJ 08822

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  1. JustJake RE: coldbeer May 24, 2010 09:29 AM

    I don't know that there are any 'beachfront dives' down here anymore as everything has been gentrified and made slick. The Inlet Cafe in the Higlands used to be a dive, now they want $15 for a quart of steamers....

    For fish tacos, I'm going to continue visiting the Surf Taco location in West End, Long Branch. Mahi taco's, Blackened salmon tacos, shrimp tacos etc. It's not high end, it is a small coastal 'chain', some better than others. The West End location is always busy, so one is assured of fresh ingredients.

    I had a grilled shrimp burrito with white cilantro sauce and shredded Napa cabbage which was quite good this past Friday nite.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JustJake
      longbranchgourmet RE: JustJake May 25, 2010 06:28 AM

      not to be a downer, but consistently busy in no way denotes freshness, though it seemingly would. surf taco could frequently buy frozen or re-freshed, low quality fish fillets for their tacos. doesn't make them bad either, its all a matter of taste .

      1. re: JustJake
        equal_Mark RE: JustJake May 25, 2010 06:36 AM

        I used to prefer the fish tacos at the shack in Sea Bright, but they closed like a year and a half ago. Can't say I'm impressed with Surf Taco; the couple times I've been there the place was cluttered and the trash receptacles were overflowing. The sullen youts working there seemed more interested with chatting with their pals than maintaining the dining room. For now I prefer Fins down in Bradley Beach for my fish taco fix.

        I figure the rising cost of seafood in general makes it difficult for many old "dives" to keep prices down. Spikes, a quintessential dive in Pt. Pleasant has been charging hefty prices for quite a while now...

        1. re: JustJake
          Passadumkeg RE: JustJake May 25, 2010 08:16 AM

          Jake, I too miss the old Inlet Cafe. Every time I returned home we head down there for $6.95 all-you-can-eat steamers in the 80's. We now go to the Morgan Fishery on Rt. 35 Sayreville/Morgan/South Amboy. It has changed owners; doe anyone know of it?


          Morgan Fishery
          1812 State Route 35, South Amboy, NJ 08879

          1. re: Passadumkeg
            FoodDude2 RE: Passadumkeg May 25, 2010 02:09 PM

            Anyone know a place you can get all you can eat steamers these days? I love those suckers

            1. re: FoodDude2
              Passadumkeg RE: FoodDude2 May 25, 2010 02:17 PM

              Come visit, we'll dig a tide, steam 'em and drink copious amounts of beer!

        2. flourgirl RE: coldbeer May 25, 2010 05:23 AM

          This is SO frustrating!!! We've been to Blue Fish more than a few times and except for the first couple of times, (a long time ago) we have not been impressed. And in fact, the last time we ate there, the fish and chips were so greasy it made me ill. Every time we've been there, there seemed to be a bunch of kids working there with no supervision and the food reflected that problem. Maybe we've just had excruciatingly bad luck in our timing but for the life of me I cannot see what people are raving about.

          I admit I haven't yet tried the fish tacos. I think I'm going to give this place one more try if only because I live so close to it and because so many other people just seem to love the place so much!.

          3 Replies
          1. re: flourgirl
            coldbeer RE: flourgirl May 25, 2010 06:40 AM

            The wood grill cooks up a mean seared tuna...I haven't had the fish and chips but it looks like a substantial dish. I can see what you mean about unsupervised kids though, good help will always be hard to find I guess.

            1. re: flourgirl
              kevin2645 RE: flourgirl Jan 4, 2011 09:56 AM

              Wow, sorry to hear that. We've been going there regularly for the past year and have always had a great experience with the food. I admit that I've never had the fish and chips since I prefer fresh grilled to fried, but I've always had good luck with both the fries and their calamari. Then again, we typically go in the afternoons and (with two kids in tow) we tend to look for times when they're not busy - maybe that makes a difference. The wait staff, while young, has always been quick and professional with us and the cooking staff were usually older and got the food out warm and together. I hope you get to try them sometime when their food is as good as I've had it. Good luck.

              1. re: kevin2645
                flourgirl RE: kevin2645 Jan 4, 2011 12:09 PM

                I didn't mean to imply that ALL we've ever had was the fish and chips. I've had many things off of the menu, including the grilled fish. (And almost every single time, it was overcooked.) But they are often lauded on the high quality of their fish and chips whereas my experience with the dish was horrendous.

                I just hesitate to spend anymore money there when we've had so many bad experiences on all of our more recent visits. I doubt I could even get my son or husband to eat there ever again. I may have to go solo some afternoon and at least give the fish tacos (and seared tuna) a try.

            2. MGZ RE: coldbeer May 25, 2010 08:56 AM

              As "Seafood Shacks" go, I'll throw the Keyport Fishery out there as a fine example. A personal fav is Red's in Point Pleasant, but I may be somewhat jaded by the wall of funky hot sauces that always seem to grab my attention!

              Though I'd much rather have tacos made with carnitas or cueritas (or barbacoa chivo, or pastor, or . . .), I'm with Mark in my preference for Fins over Surf Taco (BTW - a new Fins location on the Manasquan Boardwalk appears close to opening). I find the Surf Taco salsas to lack flavor and most of their offerings targeted at the LCD. It annoys me, however, that neither of those "local chains" seem to use local fish. I see shrimp, cod (which no longer seems to mean anything more than "a white fleshed fish"), salmon, and (YUCK!) tilapia. 'Round these parts, we take fluke, flounder, blues, bass, swords, etc. from the water - each makes a great taco!

              Keyport Fishery
              150 W Front St, Keyport, NJ

              3 Replies
              1. re: MGZ
                LarryLg RE: MGZ May 25, 2010 09:27 AM

                Went to Fins once, and was served guacamole from a can, but at least they folded some fresh avacado in. It was not good. The tuna was also freakishly red......

                1. re: MGZ
                  newfie29 RE: MGZ May 25, 2010 09:35 AM

                  No post concerning an NJ "seafood shack" can omit mention of Allen's Clam Bar in New Gretna... Their fried scallops and fried shrimp are the best around, and the bucket(s) - who can stop at one? - of steamers couldn't be fresher...

                  Allen's Clam Bar
                  5650 US Highway 9 N, New Gretna, NJ 08224

                  1. re: newfie29
                    Applecheeks RE: newfie29 May 26, 2010 09:59 AM

                    I went to Keyport Fishery a few weeks ago. The fried shrimp were just ok but the scallops were so burned we couldn't even eat the,. I wouldn't return for a secon try.

                    Keyport Fishery
                    150 W Front St, Keyport, NJ

                2. JustJake RE: coldbeer May 26, 2010 02:21 PM

                  Seems that we've veered from seafood tacos to now gentrified seafood restaurants that while not resembling the shacks that they once were (Keyport Fishery and others), these spots are 'fried fish' joints that don't offer much in the way of seafood the way I like it (even if they have a 'broiling' option).

                  For what it's worth Cold Beer, I make a terrific fish taco (cod, haddock, monkfish et al) via a Bobby Flay recipe. Stop by the next time you're around; just bring the frosties :))))


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JustJake
                    Passadumkeg RE: JustJake May 26, 2010 03:52 PM

                    I'm not sure fish tacos were mentioned as a prerequisit, only as an aside. Morgan Fishery may mot have fish Californicating tacos, but it is a shack and has damn good seafood. And the best attribute of a shack? It's BYOB!

                    Morgan Fishery
                    1812 State Route 35, South Amboy, NJ 08879

                    1. re: Passadumkeg
                      equal_Mark RE: Passadumkeg May 27, 2010 07:12 AM

                      How about Navasink Fishery in Atlantic Highlands?


                      1. re: equal_Mark
                        Passadumkeg RE: equal_Mark May 27, 2010 08:55 AM

                        Looks good. I'll have to try it next time I'm "home". Funny I used to play ice hockey at the Navesink Country Club in the 60's on an out door rink. A pretty area. We always go to Sandy Hook bird watching when we visit our April vacations. So NF is definitely a good find. Thanks. I just took one of my seniors out to lunch at Tracey's; he had the Maine fried shrimp and I the fried clam platter. Yum.

                  2. equal_Mark RE: coldbeer Jun 4, 2010 05:58 PM

                    Does anyone know about Mr. Shrimp in Belmar?


                    Am told that it is a decent old style seafood place. Prices still reflect the upward trend...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: equal_Mark
                      MichelleM131 RE: equal_Mark Jun 5, 2010 11:43 AM

                      I love Mr. Shrimp! We go there quite frequently, both the restaurant and the market. It is very clean, pretty reasonable in price (very reasonable for lunch!), and has we've never been disappointed. I would definitely recommend it.

                      1. re: equal_Mark
                        MGZ RE: equal_Mark Jun 5, 2010 12:04 PM

                        I have never had the prepared food at Mr. Shrimp, so I cannot address that side of the business. I can say, however, having purchased fresh seafood there, that the market isn't bad and was clean. I prefer to get my fish at Klien's (Belmar) or Point Lobster Co. (Point Pleasant), depending upon the season and what I've got a hankering for, but I have patronized those places for a long time and developed relationships.

                        1. re: MGZ
                          equal_Mark RE: MGZ Jun 6, 2010 06:41 PM

                          Went to Mr Shrimp tonight. Was a fairly bustling seafood market and restaurant. The seating area was actually much larger than I expected.

                          Had the Conch Fritters appetizer from tonight's specials menu. They wee quite good, 8 or 9 hush puppy sized balls of tender conch with onion and diced peppers that were nicely spiced and came with a creole seasoned tartar sauce.

                          Then went on to the seafood fra-diavlo; clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops and calamari (even a few tentacle ends!). Nicely spiced with good garlicification.

                          Portions were generous for both appys and entrees. The only slight issue was that they keep their shaker of red pepper flakes refrigerated, and as a result condensation had rendered the flakes a moist mass that could only be retrieved by unscrewing the cap and scraping out pepper with a fork or knife. Mentioned it to the waitress; will see if the "It's been done that way since time began" syndrome applies.

                          All in all, food was fresh and well prepared. I'd say this qualifies as a decent "shack" given seafood prices. I'd recommend hitting it soon before the current gulf oil spill situation has an impact...

                          Appetizers are about $10 and entrees $20. Website is a couple entry's up.

                          Mr Shrimp
                          1600 State Route 71 Ste 1, Belmar, NJ 07719

                      2. j
                        johnpm RE: coldbeer Jun 6, 2010 05:26 AM

                        I'll put in a vote for Sharkey's Feeding Frenzy, just south of Wildwood. It's more like tent than a shack, but it's on the water, has pretty good food, and is quirky enough to be fun. Also quirky is that I posted this yesterday but it never showed up in the thread. If you see this twice, it must be my fault!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: johnpm
                          VFresser RE: johnpm Jun 16, 2010 12:57 PM

                          I'l put in another vote fo Sharkey's -- great fish, great seafood and great ribs!

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