Wildwood/Cape May Questions
Will be in the Wildwood/Cape May area in early June and have 3 lunches and 1 dinner to plan. Open to all cuisines (except Italian) and price points. Bonus points for things that I can't get in NYC (eg. waterfront dining, good Cajun/Creole). This is my tentative itinerary:
Lunch 1 -- Maui Dogs -- should probably say that I'm generally not a fan of hot dogs. But the place looks cute and there's other stuff on the menu.
Lunch 2 -- Raw Bar at Lobster House
Lunch 3 -- Mad Batter or Freda's -- which is more interesting with better executed food? I wish I could find a lunch menu for Freda's online
Dinner -- Washington Inn or 410 Bank Street or Peter Shields -- any thoughts?
I'll be driving back to Brooklyn and hoping to stop by the Bar Room @ Nicholas in Red Bank for dinner. Open to all other suggestions.
Hi all. Reporting back on my trip. Thanks to everybody for your input.
Front Street Trattoria (Red Bank)
Ran into some unavoidable snafus and couldn't go to Maui Dogs for my first lunch as I anticipated. We were driving down Red Bank looking for a place (Chow mobile sucks) and ended up going to whatever place we were able to find parking. We ended up at Front Street Trattoria. It had the makings of a tourist trap, but I was pleasantly surprised. I ordered the eggplant parmesan which was freshly made and piping hot. The sauce was bright and full of tomato flavor sprinkled with a chiffonade of fresh basil on top. The only issue was that the pasta that it came with was woefully underseasoned. DH had a chicken sausage sandwich. They brushed the bread with olive oil and toasted it so that it had a nice crunch. The food isn't earth-shattering but perfectly fine for a simple lunch. They had a super lunch special as each dish was $7.50 and came with a salad and drink. Portions were still huge even though they were lunch special sizes.
Maui Dogs (Wildwoods)
Ordered the soprano hot dog and DH ordered the horsey. Both were fine. Bun to meat ratio was a bit too large so I wrapped the hot dog in just half of the bun which was much better. Freshly made fries were greasy but good.
Raw Bar at Lobster House (Cape May)
We placed our order at the Raw Bar and ate on the tables on the dock. Ordered some raw clams (nice) and some oysters. They did not have any Cape May salts, and these oysters were another Jersey variety. Really puny and watery. Shared a boiled lobster which came with some fries. Fries were of sysco variety. I also got a cup of their famed crab chowder that was pretty gross. Really only tasted the roux and no crab. Luckily the wind knocked it over after a couple of bites. Pretty simple meal -- you can probably get these items for less money elsewhere, but we were looking for the outdoor experience by the dock. I probably wouldn't do dinner here, but thought it was good for a quick lunch.
Washington Inn (Cape May)
I started with the cioppino and then had the fluke. Surprised how large portions were. DH had the crab cake and soft-shelled crab. Shared a chocolate cake for dessert. Everything we had was perfectly cooked and delicious and it was a great value.
Bar N at Nicholas (Red Bank)
I ordered the slow poached egg with buckwheat puree, pickled ramps and feta to start. Really good and something very new for me. DH got the fois gras sphere with strawberry gelee. Delicious, but wish the accompanying brioche had been toasted. For mains, we got the suckling pig and lamb two ways. They were both tasty but was a bit surprised to see the portion for the lamb. It was about 4 oz of meat. At $36 I thought it was a bit steep. We were only going to get one dessert but DH was still hungry after the lamb. So I now got to try two! I got the rhubarb soup with panna cotta and strawberry sorbet. I think the recipe is from Claudia Fleming from Gramercy Tavern, especially as I have that cookbook. But I still thought it was great. DH got the chocolate cake with hoegarden ice cream which was nice as well. Everything was really well executed and all of the plates looked gorgeous. If we lived around Red Bank, we'd be back multiple times.
Coffee Tyme (Cape May)
The iced coffee was pretty bad and weak. About 80% of my cup was filled with ice and they didn't brew the coffee extra strong to compensate. But my apple strudel was flaky and delicious! DH got the blueberry scone which was good as well. I prefer my scones a bit drier, but I suspect most people like the on the moist side.
Strawberry Festival (Cape May)
I really dug the pork with provolone and spinach empanada from the Empanada Mama stand. The nutella with strawberry sauce was something I could have done without as the nutella flavor wasn't really pronounced. I felt I needed to get the requisite strawberry shortcake which was really spongecake with whipped cream and strawberries. Probably wouldn't get it again. And I picked up a pint of strawberries that I ended up not being able to eat due to them being very tart. They looked ripe but didn't taste that way.
Thanks for all the replies! I only have one dinner as I already have plans for the others. So I think Urie's and Blue Claw are out as they aren't open for lunch. About Lobster House, I was thinking about having lunch on the dock, not the formal restaurant. Just wanted to order some shellfish and perhaps some fries and eat outdoors. Looks like Mad Batter and Washington Inn are the favorites here.
And I'll definitely keep Harry's Corner in mind if I decide not to do Maui Dogs. I know you guys really seem to like it but I'm wondering if it's worth it for a couple of non hot dog lovers. In Chicago, I loved Hot Doug's because they had a wonderful selection of very interesting sausages to choose from. But I see that Maui Dogs just carries just one kind of sausage. Are their burgers or chicken good?
re: Miss Needle
Just back from Cape May. Dinners at Frescos, Peter Shields and Washington Inn were all great. My wife's fluke with passion fruit sauce at Wash Inn was terrific, as was their Strawberry crisp with vanilla ice cream.
Get a sandwich at Coffee Tyme across from the beach for lunch. lots of fresh baked cookies!
Mad Batter was a giant disappointment. Worst coffee on earth with curdled half and half. "Homemade" granola not as good as stale Cap'n Crunch. This place has lost its inspiration. Used to be an annual visit, don't expect to return.
Washington Inn is the better of the three in my opinion.
I really did not like the Lobster House at all!! It feels like a tourist trap mill that charges insanely high prices. I thought the seafood was meh....ok. I liked the Blue Claw much better.
have a GREAT trip!!! :)
We are going to Cape May this weekend. We are retrying Frescos after a 20 year hiatus, then Peter Shields. I am sure we will hit the Mad Batter for breakfast.
I heard about Pacific Grill, a new restaurant by Union Park. Anyone been there? We have one night unbooked. If not, then Wash. Inn.
I know 410 owns Frescos, but we have been underwhelmed by 410 in past.