Black Eyed Susan's LBI this pas weekend
We were down in LBI visiting daughter and her husband this past weekend.
Early in the day we took a drive south and went to Allen's Clam bar for lunch. Food was good. We split a small fried scallop platter and they scallops were good, very lightly breaded, not greasy and sweet. Husband had the fried clams and loved them. Daughter had the cold seafood plate which had shrimp salad, a couple cold shrimp, some clams and what they called sea flakes. Turns out those were sea legs. Now for the life of me I cannot see why any restaurant would ever serve them, much less a jersey seafood restaurant. I had the crabcake sandwich. I was okay, not spectacular but not bad. Oh, I started with the new england clam chowder. Unfortunately it was not hot and nary a clam could be found it it, thought it did have a decent taste. A little too thick for me.
We stopped at Renault Winery for something to do and did the tour and tasting. The tour was excellent, really good. But what made it good and fun was the tour guide, she was humorous, interesting and the stories were fascinating. She made the tour. As for the tasting it as better than I expected, a couple of the reds were quite good. I bought a bottle of their white merlot for my sister. I found it sickeningly sweet which means she will love it.
Dinner was a Black Eyed Susans. I was trying to decide between there, Yellow Fin, or L'assinette and after reading reviews picked Black Eyed Susans. I called two weeks ago and had no trouble getting in for Saturday night. Apparently the place is a cafe during the day and they add tables and turned it into a dinner spot not too long ago. What I liked is that they could have fit more tables inside but chose not to. We did not feel like we were jammed in there.
Now getting to the food. I thought it was wonderful. The guys had the shrimp and grits. Shrimp were perfectly cooked, the sauce spicy and flavorful, the grits rich and tasty. Could have used a few more grits maybe. The girls had the roasted beet salad with fresh ricotta crostini. The plate consisted of a couple kinds of roasted baby beets, the crostini and a flavorful vinargrette. It was so tasty. Nice and light too.
Dinner my husband had the strip steak. Not sure how it was because he barely took a breath as he ate. He said it was very good. Daughter and her husband had the seared scallops. They tasted as if just caught from the sea, sweet and tender, nicely seared in a tasty sauce. I had the crabcakes which were pretty much all jumbo lump crab and had a hint of tarragon. They were also very good.
We all wanted dessert but sadly had no room. It is not cheap but I'd go back there in a second, I thought the food outstanding.
Allen's Clam Bar
5650 US Highway 9 N, New Gretna, NJ 08224
Renault Winery Restaurant
72 N Bremen Ave, Egg Harbor City, NJ 08215
We also went to Black Eyed Susan's for the first time this weekend and I have to say, I don't understand all the hype. It was good, yes, but neither of us are saying , "Can't wait to go back". I have to say that I think it was the dessert...we left on a so-so note. We've been to many a good/great meal in other cities that leave me wishing/dreaming I could go back the next night. BES didn't leave us with that feeling.
I started with the roasted beets which were quite good but frankly a LOT of food. SO had grilled calamari with a pesto sauce and arugula. It was so much food that he only ate half and took half home. My entree was the scallops (delicious and I enjoyed the various sauces on the side but after the beets, I was so full I didn't completely appreciate it all and took about half home). SO had the jambalaya which he declared to be incredibly good but for $34 it wasn't very much food. We weren't going to order dessert but the waitress convinced us to try the berry cobbler...so full of berries, sugar and butter, it was her favorite. Well, when it arrived we were confused. There was no sugar at all (or minimal) in the cobbler and very little butter. It was supposed to come with vanilla gelato but for some reason the kitchen was substituting cinnamon gelato and we didn't think the cinnamon went with the rest. The cinnamon gelato just didn't work with it all. Maybe the rich sugar and butter taste that she was talking about was the melted vanilla gelato? Don't know.
Was the food good? Yes. SO declared he will remember the jambalaya for a long time. Did we think the overall meal was worth the $120 for a BYO of 2 apps, 2 entrees and one dessert? No. For that price, we should be fantasizing about our next visit. But neither of us are. Might we go back? Sure. As I said, the food was good...just not something we HAVE to have again.
My wife and I have eaten at BES twice this summer so far. Enjoyed each meal quite a bit. The style is clean and emphasizing local opportunities. I had a tile fish which was wonderful and local on one occassion and a great steak the second time. The salads each time were fresh and not over dressed (which happens far too often at restaurants).
I share the observation that the desserts could be better, but they were not bad. Just pedestrian.
Finally, while BES would not be the best of the best in NYC, remember this is the Jersey Shore where the bar (sadly) is much lower.
I like that they use locally sourced ingredients where possible. I wish more restuarants were farm to table type of places.
As you said, not that many choices down that area so I the BES was a very good choice.
Our other two possibles were L'Assinette, formerly Plate, and Yellow Fin. I read reviews that said both had terrible service. SIN and daughter like Yellow Fin but I got put off by the reviews that said they cater to the locals adn are rude to others. SIN is a local, but still that kind of attitude does not sit well with me.