Caffe Luciano/Shore Club Crabhouse Bar and Grill offers panoramic views of the Great Egg Harbor Inlet and a creative and diverse menu along the Longport/Somers Point causeway.
Residents of Egg Harbor Township’s Seaview Marina development, located just before the arching bridge span providing entry to Downbeach‘s Longport, receive a hidden benefit immediately upon arrival.
Situated near the entrance to this posh, waterfront community is Caffe Luciano/Shore Club Crabhouse Bar and Grill.
The restaurant provides those nearby with a beautiful, windswept facility for drinking, dining and entertainment close enough to feel and hear the lapping blue waters of Great Egg Harbor Inlet.
To hear manager Victor Carapucci describe it, the location is “one of the prettiest spots around” with “spectacular sunsets and awesome full moons over the bay.”
Carapucci, a Blackwood, N.J., native and electrician by trade, met veteran operator Luciano Lamberti while upgrading the place five years ago.
He stuck around and now helps run the 150-seat eatery, where every inch of space provides a wide-angled, 180-degree panoramic view.
Fresh off their fourth full season, they’ve recently transitioned to a schedule of Wednesday through Saturday from 11:30am-10pm.
A lively bar scene here also featured entertainment from local favorites Don’t Call Me Francis (as featured in the Oct. 14 A.C. Weekly Local Music Issue) on summer weeknights.
This time of year, Carapucci mentions that the business focuses extensively on its private party and banquet abilities for “any of your special events” as the holidays quickly approach.
Patrons may select from either an ornate VIP private room just off the restaurant’s main foyer or the primary dining space, depending upon the number of persons being accommodated.
The Shore Club ups the ante by offering the services of an in-house professional party planner to meet with customers and create a customized atmosphere and menu selections.
The kitchen is headed by Chef Alex Torres, who despite the youthful age of 27, has been with Lamberti’s organization for a decade, starting at their original South Philly venture, Positano Coast.
Asked about the house’s signature items, Carapucci immediately names Branzino, a whole Mediterranean sea bass. The fish tops the scale at about two pounds and is sautéed in white wine garlic sauce then served with broccoli raab and sided by linguine with chopped tomato.
The best part of this specialty is delivery, filleted tableside and presented to diners in an old-world, retro manner which has, in the opine of this writer, become far too neglected in today’s culinary scene.
As we’ve noted in columns before, tableside presentation is a tricky conundrum that requires wait staff much more extensively trained than the norm.
You can be pretty certain of one thing. When a chef trusts a server to expertly de-bone and plate his signature seafood item, that person is almost certainly a real industry professional.
Other big sellers, according to Carapucci, are the steaks, specifically New York strip and filet, plus a lighter grilled marinated chicken breast served over julienned vegetables; and from the raw bar, a cold combo of Alaskan king crab, clams and oysters on the half shell.
Lamberti’s background, of Neapolitan origin via Brooklyn, is reinforced by the bill of fare’s Italian orientation. Eight pastas, veal parm, a half dozen pizzas and apps like antipasto, tomato bread and regional treat long hots (Italian hot peppers sautéed with tomatoes) trace their roots to his family’s heritage of recipes.
Casual diners will find a grouping of burgers that’s far from ordinary. These include low-carb, with caramelized onions, balsamic reduction and tomatoes served in a lettuce wrap; good fat, with arugula, avocado, tomatoes and red onion, mass-gain and a cheddar cheeseburger topped by fried egg and bacon, an antioxidant, loaded with alfalfa sprouts, lettuce, red onions, roasted peppers and spinach.
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