Are you ready for our second installment of the Jersey Shore Foodie Bucket List (check out our first Bucket List here)? Or should we say, is your stomach ready? If you’re just finding out about this, let us explain. We are asking chefs for the dishes that they can’t get enough of right this moment. (We also added a few of our favorite too because we just love to share).
Basically, it’s everything you should be eating this month. From spins on some of your traditional favorites (dessert nachos, Cobb flatbread) to a sandwich known as “The Beast” and a Sunday Gravy that will go up against any Nonna, we dare you to try them all.
What Chefs Want You to Eat Now…
You may not be completely shocked that one of the Jersey Shore’s best dishes is a classic fish and chips from an Irish pub, but we’re here to just give you another head’s up. Chef Dominick Slomko of McDonagh’s Pub prides himself on this dish. Imagine the freshest cod available, fried to perfection with just the perfect ratio of their house recipe beer batter to fish, that’s then served with crispy fries (hey we’re in America), homemade tarter sauce, and cole slaw. For a limited time, Jersey Shore InMotion has an exclusive offer for you that no one has. Buy one Fish & Chips entree on Sunday and get 1/2 off- Only on Locals InMotion for iPhone for a limited time. 2 W Front St, Keyport (732) 264-0999 https://www.mcdonaghs.com/
Order the Crabby Mac & Cheese at Old Glory and you won’t be crabby anymore! (Ok, that was corny – sorry). But seriously, this dish is a chef favorite thanks to its generous portion of large chunks of lump crab meat that’s tossed with cavatappi, a creamy three-cheese blend, and because it’s crab – an Old Bay bread crumb topping. 84 Broad St, Keyport (732) 497-5555 https://www.oldglorynj.com/
Ask Chef Tony Ibanez what he wants to eat and he’ll most likely guide you to the Grilled Octopus. Perfectly seasoned octopus is grilled until golden and slightly crisp on the outside, then served on a bed of fingerling potatoes and haricot verts. It’s the perfect welcome to spring flavors. Allen Avenue On The Ocean, Allenhurst (732) 531-3665 http://www.mistercsbeachbistro.com/
The Elbow Room burger is one of the most popular menu items at the Elbow Room in Bradley beach and for good reason. Its one of the best burgers we’ve had on the Jersey Shore. What we liked about this burger is that its not set with its ingredients. You can customize yours with any number of toppings including four different types of cheese, guacamole, sautéed onions & mushrooms and an egg over easy. Enjoy and let us know how you customize yours. 416 Main Street, Bradley Beach (732) 898-6960 http://www.elbowroomnj.com/
Appropriately called the “Chef’s Special”, the Court Jester’s must have meal of the moment stares you right in the face, literally. An open-faced Montreal seasoned filet mignon is served on toasted garlic bread, topped with melted mozzarella, and then if that wasn’t enough, crispy onion rings. Hey, we never said this list was 100% healthy! 16 E Main St, Freehold (732) 462-1040 https://www.jestersweb.net/
Now for Some of Our Favorite Jersey Shore Spring Dishes…
It’s no surprise that one of our favorite dishes to try this Spring is from Joe Leone’s. They’ve taken their sandwich game to the extreme for this one. Juicy Boulder Gold pulled pork is topped with a pickle relish and tart creamy coleslaw on a… get this… perfectly baked pretzel bun. We hate to admit it, but we’re drooling as we’re writing this. This is one of our their daily specials so keep an eye on their Instagram and Facebook when it makes an appearance! 501 Richmond Avenue/Rt. 35 South, Pt. Pleasant Beach https://www.joeleones.com/
If you want a really good fried chicken sandwich, why not try out Taka Restaurant? Get the sushi another time (or for an appetizer), and feast on the Chicken Katsu Sandwich. This panko fried chicken breast is served with tonkatsu bbq sauce, white rice, and seasonal veggies (which just happened to be tempura fried purple potatoes when we went!) 660 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park 732-775-1020 https://www.takaasbury.com/
Yes, we did include one of Trama’s burgers in our last installment of our Jersey Shore Foodie Bucket list, but when we can’t deny another stellar burger. This time it’s the Italian Island Burger smothered in homemade Italian island dressing, Lucky tomatoes, chopped romaine, yellow cheddar, and served on a potato roll. And yes, it tastes even better than it looks (we promise!) Burgers are available at the bar for Happy Hour only and as posted on Trama’s website and social media. Enjoy. 115 Brighton Avenue, Long Branch 732-222-1121 http://tramastrattoria.com/
They may be known for their pizza and pasta, but their Beet Salad is a hidden ringer in their menu. Not only is it beautiful, but it tastes like the rainbow. Yellow and red beets, tart goat cheese, baby arugula, five-spiced honey glaze roasted walnuts, finished with a balsamic reduction and a pan-seared salmon fillet. Eating healthy, never tasted this good! 10 Wallace St, Red Bank 732-741-1321 gaetanosnj.com
Paella. It’s one of those dishes that is packed with flavor and is just as much fun to eat as it is to look at. Our top pick is the Paella from Mar Belo Restaurant, thanks to its generous portion of lobster, crab, shrimp, and mussels, it packs all of paella’s components into a very hot skillet! 611 Broadway, Long Branch 732-870-2222 http://www.marbelorestaurant.com/
Brunching at Kitch Organic is a feast for the senses. Every dish is thoughtfully put together and plated into little works of foodie art. We’re big fans of everything on their menu, but recently they had Monkey Toast for brunch and it definitely made us a bit bananas. 75 Leighton Ave, Red Bank (732) 741-5400 http://www.kitchorganic.com/
We’ve hailed the menu at this Red Bank staple for its gourmet twist and presentation of all of your favorite Chinese take out items. For us, the Kung Pao Chicken takes the gold – creamy cashews, vegetables, and of course crispy chicken, all coated in a warm, sweet, and sour glaze. 91 Broad Street, Red Bank 732-212-8858 http://templegourmet.com/