You can find love at the Jersey Shore- I found it on my plate.
The right meal can heal a soul, make a bad day good and create memories that will last a lifetime. There is power in food, and that power is love.
My mother always told me her that was her secret ingredient. If you don’t cook with love, then it doesn’t matter how great of a cook or chef you are, your food will always be missing something.
That lesson has only proven to be true as I’ve made my way down the Jersey Shore trying restaurant after restaurant on a quest to see if anyone still cooks with that magical secret ingredient. To my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t as hard to find as I thought it would be.
I fell in love with these restaurants, and now it’s your turn.
1. Clementine’s, Avon-By-The-Sea
Clementine’s bring the passion of the food and the flavor of the streets from New Orleans to the Jersey Shore. Although quaint from the outside, once you step though the door the history and eccentricity of NOLA awakens your soul. From the furniture to the walls lined with beautiful costume jewelry (all for sale) you’ll be in love before you even pick up the menu. But that menu… Rich cajun creams sauces, crawfish, and etoufee make this southern style, creole hidden gem the only place you want to be. Each and every bite reflects the chef’s knowledge and love of his cuisine.
Suggested Dish: Veal Clementine, Shrimp & Tasso Pasta
2. Pascal & Sabine, Asbury Park
Bonjour, from Asbury. Pascal and Sabine slays the Parisian style both in decor and entrees. Breathing life into their version of a French Brasserie, the chef has filled the menu with exquisite dishes from Coq au Vin Blanc (chicken in wine for those of us who don’t speak the language) to cheese plates and caviar. Pascal and Sabine wants you to enjoy every part of your meal. They never rush you and never steer you wrong with suggestions. The meal is small, which allows for everything to be fresh and plated with care. Have I mentioned their specialty drink list is to die for? Go for the French Blonde, you’ll thank me later.
Suggested Dish: Rohan Duck Breast
3. The Buttered Biscuit, Bradley Beach
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why shouldn’t it be the most delicious? The Buttered Biscuit doesn’t need an ocean view to keep you coming back. It’s homestyle cooking will bring you back to grandma making pancakes on a Sunday morning, and who cooks with more love than grandma? The beach cottage decor and daily specials will finally help you see what vacationing in a beach town is all about.
Suggested Dish: Dave’s Special Corned Beef Hash, Grilled Grapefruit, Pancakes… pretty much everything.
4. Seagrass, Ocean Grove
The historical town of Ocean Grove is hiding a delicious little secret; it’s called Seagrass. Located on the main street in town, this restrain is hard to pass up once you take a look at their menu. I’ve been here more than once, and whether it’s winter or peak summer the consistency has stayed the same. The food is delicious and undeniably fresh. The seafood is full of flavor and clearly never frozen. You can tell a lot by the presentation of a dish and here, they are always flawless.
Suggested Dish: Herb Encrusted Alaskan Halibut
5. Blue Pig Tavern, Cape May
Breakfast lunch or dinner, this is the place to be. The Blue Pig is a landmark in Cape May, New Jersey and after one meal there, it’s easy to see why. Located inside Congress Hall, this delicious eatery will have you starting off or ending your day the best way. Both indoor and outdoor causal dining, perfect for families, lunch with your friends or a chilled out date night finishing off in the boiler room downstairs. Pancakes? Fluffy. Salads? Seemingly delicious. Dinner? Something for everyone. Although not the most fancy, the Blue Pig Tavern takes the cake for being my favorite restaurant in Cape May.
Suggested Dish: Eggs Benedict