Contrary to self-proclaimed Queen of the Guidettes, Jersey Shore‘s infamous Snooki, there is more to shore dining than pickles. The south shore points are home to a number of fabulous restaurants, and this summer two new names opened to great reviews. Next weekend you head east, stop in for supper at one of these haute hot spots.
White Heron Grill
Chef Carl Messick was on our must-hit list when he manned the Ebbitt Room at Cape May’s Virginia Hotel, so its no surprise we are big fans of his new solo venture at White Heron Grill. Opened in April and set up in the space that previously housed Blackfish, White Heron is elegant fine dining but with the casual air expected of the shore. The menu is full of classic beach indulgences with an updated twist. Get your seafood fix with a stack of jumbo lump crab meet and smoked salmon drizzled with a luscious basil aioli, an overflowing pot of succulent Jersey Steamers or summertime sauteed soft shells over creamy corn and crab risotto. The restaurant also hosts live music most evenings, making a supper a seriously smooth experience.
White Heron Grill is located at 9628 Third Street, Stone Harbor, NJ, 609.967.9100, www.whiteherongrill.com
The Diving Horse
Philly-dwellers all know and love the trendy fare at Pub & Kitchen. Owned by the same menu masterminds — Dan Clark, Ed Hackett and Jonathan Adams — shore shoobees should have no problem saddling up to a table at The Diving Horse. The BYOB opened in June and is already an Avalon favorite. The farmhouse-style dining room has a romantic, rustic feel with white washed board and reclaimed furniture, plus an outdoor area. Pack the swimsuit away and indulge in fried oysters with pancetta remoulade, fresh scallops over lemon pasta and arugula and the ultimate side dish: brown butter potato puree topped with caviar, creme fraiche and chives.
The Diving Horse is located at 921 Dune Drive, Avalon, NJ, 609.368.5000, www.thedivinghorseavalon.com