2010 Jersey Shore Food Preview
[sidebar]FINE DINING “Latin-infused Spanish Portuguese”? At the Shore? Though the combo sounds more suitable for New York’s East Village, it’s alive and, well, cooking at Bistro Olé, part of the remarkable (and long overdue) renaissance that’s finally come to Asbury Park. Owner Rico Rivera and Venezuelan-born chef Wil Vivas have created a clean, elegant corner space (with outdoor sidewalk seating) featuring food that most definitely is not Boardwalk fare. Among the marquee dishes: two addictive paellas; sea bass topped with Spanish pesto and bread crumbs and served over avocado salsa; and the Olé Olé chicken, juicy breasts stuffed with manchego cheese and spinach. The downside: No reservations accepted. The upside: Worth the wait. 230 Main Street, 732-897-0048, bistroole.com
DINER Who’s On Third boasts a baseball theme, but it’s the Flintstonian “Mile High” sandwiches that are the home run. The place is a mecca for breakfast, but skip the long waits then and drag your brood off the beach for a midday meal instead — with the caveat that you might not still fit in your bathing suits when it’s over. 1300 Third Avenue, 732-449-4233.
BREAKFAST The thing you’ll wonder about Mariner’s Cove more than anything is: Where do they store all this food? The cozy coffee shop has a breakfast menu that can only be called behemoth, with offerings that range from your traditional eggs and pancakes to authentic Irish bangers and mash, banana cinnamon sugar waffles, and more than 200 renditions of the omelet. (Caviar, anyone?) The wait can be a bit long, and the service is polite but slightly brusque (this is not the place to linger over a meal), but man, is it delicious. 712 Union Avenue, 732-528-6023.
ICE CREAM Looking for a cheap cone? Salty’s Ice Cream Parlour isn’t for you. A small will run you $3.27, but the servings are generous, the flavors are unique (vanilla peanut butter caramel cookie dough, birthday cake) and yummy, and the college kids who scoop have, mercifully, been taught that most neglected of arts: pleasant customer service. There’s a reason there’s always a line out the door. 1901 Route 35 North, 732-793-4308.
PIZZA Gooey, cheesy, thick, drippy, greasy, saucy and, most of all, massive are what the slabs of pizza at the legendary Sawmill are all about. Plan on cutting your intake by half (if you’re normally a four-slice eater, you’ll be lucky to polish off two), wolfed down with some cheap beer amid the raucous crowd and occasionally decent local bands. (Give it up for … the Amish Outlaws!) Biggest plus: The owners wouldn’t sign a waiver allowing Snooki, The Situation & Co. to come in and film last year. Who said the Joisey Shore doesn’t have class? 1807 Boardwalk, 732-793-1990, sawmillcafe.com.