Thursday, July 19, 2012

Avalon Rose on 8th (Avalon, NJ): Best of AV

In the quiet beach town of Avalon, New Jersey, we all know it’s cooler by a mile. This is one of my favorite spots on earth and not just because of the beach. The food in town makes me happy because of all the fresh seafood I could ever want. I’m usually cooking on my own or bopping around town, so I decided to venture off the beaten path and expand my culinary adventure.

Well, let’s just say I have struck Gastronomical Gold.

I found Avalon Rose on 8th, in between First Ave and Dune Drive. Tucked within Avalon Condominiums, this gem of goodness offers delicious dining in a serene sophisticated atmosphere, where everyone is quite obviously enjoying themselves and happy to relax. 

The owner/ proprietor Lisa Agnew offers elegant casual American food with emphasis on fine seafood and meats, and if you dine here, you will be as happy as the proverbial clam. (And the clam chowder is award-winning!)

One caveat- it's a bring-your-own so make sure you stop by the wine shoppe and pick out your favorite vintage to enjoy with dinner. 

We began with shot glasses of she-crab soup and clam chowder, both white-based. I’m a huge fan of clam chowder, but I found it a touch heavy after the she-crab soup which was light, floaty and full of succulent crab and sprinkled with chives. It was perfectly seasoned, so my pal Bran and I each asked for a bowl which we scarfed down in record time.

Our next appetizer came in the form of scallops. Fresh blackened large sea scallops with a lime roasted sweet corn salsa which was sweet, tart and smoky, all unique ingredients which blended perfectly on the tongue.

At this point, Bran and I were feeling pretty mellow, so we relaxed, had some of our sauvignon blanc, and enjoyed the ambiance of the lowered lights and the quiet chatter of fellow diners.

And then, our entrées arrived. The gracious Lauren and servers brought of the most wondrous feast ever!

We each got lobster, although mine was stuffed with sweet crab. I also had the broiled seafood combo , consisting of giant shrimp, colossal scallops, and crab imperial baked en casserole with sherry butter. Everything was sweet and slightly smoky, and so fresh. The best part was the crab imperial- no filler, just lots of lump crabmeat. I loved baked shrimp, so much more robust and flavorful.

Bran enjoyed the veal medallions, franchaise-style with chardonnay lemon garlic butter sauce, jumbo lump crab over delicate angel hair pasta. Bran was excited because he rarely gets to eat veal and he said it was very tender and juicy, and delicious!

We only dined on about half our food as we were getting so full of yumminess! This really was the best meal we’ve had in a while.  We also knew we needed to save room for dessert….

Ahh dessert.

We each got cappuccino and gelato with chocolate and malted milk balls hidden in the depths. Served in a chocolate –rimmed wineglass, this dessert was like finding hidden culinary treasures! We also shared a slice of limoncello cake with creme fraiche.

MMM. Utter delectable decadence!

At this point, we had been at Avalon Rose on 8th for hours. It was time for us to take our leave. So we chatted a bit more with Lisa, and her staff, and then, off into the Avalon night we went, full and sleepy.

So if you find yourself in Avalon, New Jersey, do yourself a favor and get to this adorable, yummy, very cool restaurant. Chef Grier makes the best food you’ll find – fresh, unique, and delicious.

Lisa Agnew, formerly of Sorella Rose Avalon, along with executive chef Grier Essick and her dedicated staff opened Avalon Rose on 8th on May 26, 2011. Avalon Rose on 8th is aptly named in memory of Lisa's parents, Rose and  Moon.

Avalon Rose on 8th is a B.Y.O.B. restaurant open year round and accepts reservations at 609-967-7708.  Private parties and off-premise catering are also available.

You can find Avalon Rose on 8th on Twitter and FaceBook.

Special thanks to Lisa Agnew for hosting us for dinner, and thanks to her amazing staff!!!!

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