Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Celebrating Rex's Birthday at one of the Best Restaurants of the Jersey Shore: Mahogany Grille in Manasquan, NJ
As noted in my earlier post, Theresa's South in Bay Head, New Jersey, let us down on the night of Rex's birthday celebration here at the Jersey Shore by turning out their lights and locking their doors with nary a note of explanation. Tonight, Theresa's South has re-opened for dinner to further raves from the neighbors... but for us, they've missed their chance, at least until we're down here for the month of August. There are just too many spectacular restaurants at the Jersey Shore which, combined with Rex's great cooking with fresh seafood from the Crab Shack, will prevent us from giving Theresa's South a second chance over the next month or so.
Meanwhile, we turned a potential birthday dinner disaster into a super-celebration by driving to the Mahogany Grille in Manasquan. While we can't walk there, the Mahogany Grille is worth the drive for a special occasion like Rex's birthday or, as Zagat's expresses it "when cost doesn't matter."
We started off the festivities with cranberry & seltzer for the girls, and adorable little bottles of "Pommery Pop Champagne" for Rex and me. The girls both had skinny little "pommes frite" french fries for appetizers...Rex chose a salad and I started with the soup du jour, Manhattan Clam Chowder, as well as the Yuzu-Soy Injected, Cucumber Wrapped Tuna Sashimi, Tobiko ($13)...Tobiko is Japanese for flying fish roe, aka fish eggs, so I flicked them off onto Rex's bread plate. Rex enjoyed the Rocket Salad: Baby Arugula, Peppered Salami, Roasted Red Peppers, Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Fried (yes, fried!) Onions, Pignoli Nuts, Balsamic Vinaigrette ($10).
For our main course, I chose an absolutely huge and absolutely delicious appetizer size portion of the Seasonal Risotto ($15): Bay Scallops, Asparagus, and Pecorino Romano, sans the listed Roasted Red Peppers. Leaving off the roasted red peppers left the dish a bit bland, but a dash of salt brought out the flavor of the bay scallops and fresh ground pepper livened it up a bit. To emphasize the generous size of the appetizer portion, I ended up taking about half of it home to enjoy for lunch during our week at the beach. Rex chose scallops as his entree as well, though his were Seared Dayboat Scallops, with Snow Peas, Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, and Pistachio Brown Butter ($29)...and naturally, he gobbled up everything on his plate. London and Maddie shared a beautiful Rack of Lamb, with not even a bite left over for the birthday boy, other than the Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes, Haricot Verts, and Whole Grain Mustard Demi-Glace ($34 plus a $7 sharing charge).
Ordinarily, I'd be happy to regale you with the Mahogany Grille dessert menu, but Rex was in the mood for Hoffman's Ice Cream in Pt. Pleasant Beach, so off we went.
The Mahogany Grille is located at 142 Main Street (at Parker Avenue) in Manasquan, NJ. Call (732) 292-1300 for reservations.