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Rising up on my toes at the age of three to catch a glimpse of what was causing such happy commotion at the dinner table is my earliest memory of the samosa. Being an only child in the group, I was disadvantaged.... Read more
What: Locally caught fresh flounder, fluke, sea bass, monkfish, bluefish, and whatever else the fishermen pull in. Might be prepared fried, grilled, stuffed, in sandwiches, on platters…you get the picture.
Where: Over the (recently rebuilt) Mantoloking Bridge off oceanfront Route 35, between Bay Head and Lavalette, the no-frills Crab Shack (732-477-1115) in Brick beckons with its chalkboard-scrawl of fresh offerings and outdoor picnic tables. While they sell a lot of local crabs here—soft-shell (in season), blue claws, rock crabs—they also sell fish both raw and prepared.
When: Winter: Mon, Wed-Sat, 9:30am-6pm; Sun, 10am-4pm. Summer: Sun-Thurs, 9:30am-6pm; Fri-Sat, 9:30am-7pm. It’s a small, family-owned spot, so call ahead to confirm.
Order: The fried flounder sandwich ($6.95, pictured), served on a small soft roll with lettuce, tomato, lemon, and sides of coleslaw, cocktail sauce, and tartar sauce (though the malt vinegar on the outdoor tables is the only condiment you’ll really need), makes a deliciously satisfying summer lunch. You can also have it as fish-and-chips in a basket ($10) or a broiled platter ($13.95) with fries or fresh veggies.
Good to know: If you want to take your fried or broiled fish to go (say, to the beach down the road), you can: Just choose your fish and order it by the pound (takeout only).
Alternatively: A bit further north in Belmar is Klein’s (708 River Rd., map), another fish market-cum-seafood restaurant serving up local fish in season. Try for the more informal and atmospheric "Waterside Café," which overlooks the Shark River. See also: local shellfish.
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