Wildwood, NJ – I would like to recommend two restaurants in particular when visiting the Wildwoods in New Jersey. They are both part of the Big Fish Restaurant Group: the Beach Creek Oyster Bar and Grill (www.beachcreek.net) and The Boathouse (www.boathouseonline.net). Both promise outstanding dining experiences.

At the Beach Creek, located at 500 West Hand Avenue, general manager Colleen Guest and her team run a successful operation. Located directly on the water, the Beech Creek is known for its award winning contemporary international cuisine. This casual surf ‘n turf restaurant and bar features an intimate dark lit dining room, a marina-side deck and live bands.

Beach Creek and Boathouse

The Beach Creek deck has a tropical summer decor

We began our meal with some cocktails, a Hawaiitini and a Pineapple Express. It was difficult to select from the delicious looking presentation of appetizers. We settled on the Sunset Seafood Platter – six oysters, six top necks, six shrimp and colossal serving of crab meat. It was amazing!  We also shared some delicious seared scallops – cornmeal seared scallops and large serving of crab meat, served over a tomato-basil bruchetta.

A Caesar and petite house salad were next, making way for the main entrées. The seafood à la vodka featured sweet sea scallops, tender shrimp and jumbo lump crabmeat in a vodka infused tomato cream sauce over penne pasta. The sea bass Champignon really stood out for us. This char-grilled Chilean sea bass filet was served with sautéed greens on a lobster risotto filled grilled Portobello cap and in a light grilled Portobello broth. Our final choice was the rib steak – 14 ounces of grilled Black Angus beef, served with sautéed greens and potatoes. This was an absolutely outstanding meal. We did save room for dessert, sharing a superb and nice-sized piece of double layer chocolate cake and a vanilla bean crème brulée. The menu is on their website and I would recommend you take a look before going for dinner.

If you get to the Beach Creek before 6 pm then you can take advantage of the three-course early bird special. For $25, you get bread, bruschetta, soup or salad, an entrée and dessert. Keep in mind that the portions are very generous. You can call them at 609-522-1062.

At The Boathouse Restaurant and Marina Deck, located virtually next door at 506 West Rio Grande Avenue, there is ample seating indoors and on the dock overlooking the intercoastal waterway. We arrived to a nice atmosphere of live music and young children dancing to the tunes of the musician. General manager Rick Raduns and his team provide a warm welcome to all guests. The Boathouse has been in business since 1989. It was built on the site of old bait and tackle shop and serves lunch and dinner daily in June, July and August. Come September they offer dinner daily, and lunch on the weekends. They open for dinner on weekends in October, until October 15. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 pm and take-out is available as well.

We were seated in the nicely air conditioned second floor. Our lovely server Michaela went over the daily specials and some recommendations from the menu. I started off with a mouth-watering Pina Colada while another member of our party enjoyed a glass of Pinot Grigio. Some fresh dinner rolls arrived at the table piping hot. We ordered two appetizers to share: the cold shellfish sampler contained three clams and three oysters on the half shell and chilled shrimp cocktail, with some delicious dipping sauces; and the Maryland style crab cake, broiled and served with a siracha remoulade sauce.  Michaela then brought a bowl of house salad for the three of us to share. It was superb, with a house vinaigrette dressing and plenty of croutons.

For the entrées, we had a wonderful choice among meat and poultry, pasta and fresh seafood. Our selections were the broiled seafood combination, seafood à la vodka and the king cut prime rib. The broiled seafood combo is the restaurant’s best seller and includes a delicious sampling of fresh local flounder, shrimp, scallops, crab imperial and clams casino. Seafood à la vodka included shrimp, scallops, crab meat and penne, tossed in a cream rosé sauce. As for the prime rib au jus, it was cooked perfectly and cut like butter. All dinners are served with the garden salad, rolls and two choices from either French fries, baked potato, roasted red bliss, the daily vegetable, cold slaw or apple sauce. Pasta (marinara or butter) or for $2 Alfredo can be substituted for the two sides.

When it came time to order dessert, Michaela tempted us with her description of the homemade decadent chocolate pie. The recipe apparently comes directly via the chef’s grandmother. Well, it was beyond “decadent” and highly recommended.  The chocolate had a fabulous fudge flavor and there was plenty of whipped cream and chocolate sauce as well.

Take note that the sunset specials include two entrées for only $29. There is also a children’s menu, with items at $8 each. You can call the restaurant directly at 609-729-5301.

For more information or a list of dining options please visit www.WildwoodsNJ.com and click on “Where to Eat” or call 1-800-WW-BY-SEA (800-992-9732).

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