Easy enough in many parts of the world, on LBI, not so much, but then there's Black-Eyed Susans in Harvey Cedars where we were lucky enough to have an 8:00 reservation on a busy July night.
I've enjoyed watching this restaurant since it opened in 2010, as owners Ashley Pellegrino and Christopher Sanchez have transformed it from primarily a breakfast and lunch place to a fine dining destination that stands among the best.
We enjoyed a multi-coursed meal with three wines this past weekend.
We were dining with our very good friends Gail and Marc who were our most generous hosts for the weekend.
You didn't think we drank three bottles of wine just between the two of us did you?
Dinner started off with six delectably fresh oysters that could not have been out of the water more than a few hours. They were served with a bright red wine mignonette, my favorite, and lemon and cocktail sauce, Diana's preference.
The wine started with an adorable Rueda called Con Class that we love. I've talked about it here before. A perfect compliment to the oysters.
The menu is filled with very tempting options, but we managed to get to a decision which our waiter patiently awaited. No rushing here.
Our second course was a scallop cerviche with citrus, red onion, jalapeno and plantain chips. Very good. We also enjoyed the heirloom beet salad with creamy house made ricotta cheese and an enticing lemon and chive oil.
Two works of art. Don't you think. Paired nicely with a Pecarino by Saladini Pilastri.
I love Long Beach Island Scallops so I had them again as a main course but in an entirely different prep. Seared with roasted cauliflower, asparagus tips, rainbow carrots and spring pea puree. All from local sources.
My friend Marc had this amazing grilled rack of lamb with dandelion greens, Swiss chard, Israeli couscous and a rich cardamom carrot puree. Ashley and Chris bring their meats in from local farmers as well.
Diana and Gail both had the pan seared tile fish with baby boc chou, quinoa, and a bonita dashi. Unfortunately I did not get a good picture of that wonderful dish.
The restaurant has been substantially redecorated since I had been here last. Very cool and comforting.
BYOB, Cash Only