The ‘small town with big taste’ kicks off its own week of dining specials Oct. 18.
For those of us who grew up at or anywhere near the Jersey shore in the preceding milennium, Somers Point was always a hotbed for local nightlife.
Whether it was famed waterfront venues hosting some of the best live music anywhere, or an original restaurant row along Shore Road, “The Point” was always a twinkling star attracting pleasure seekers throughout the region.
In the post-casino era, that mantle has been passed to the Downbeach/Atlantic City nexus. Which simultaneously creates an opportunity to rethink and reinvent the bayside community’s public image.
Towards that end, Atlantic County’s southernmost municipality will officially kick off its first-ever Restaurant Week with a free event on Sunday, Oct. 10.
Spearheaded by Nick Regine, community projects coodinator for the Somers Point Business Association, the promotion runs a full seven days from Monday, Oct. 18 through Sunday, Oct. 24.
The inaugural evening, hosted by Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro (908 Shore Rd.) from 4-7pm, is an invite-only soiree for participants, sponsors, industry personnel and honored guests.
Presented by Sysco Foods and Suasion Communications Group, wines from C. Donatiello of Sonoma County, Calif., will be featured.
Dan and Sandi Anderson, owner/operators of Sandi Pointe, also plan a variety of of culinary contests including chicken wing and She-crab soup samplings, pizza dough tossing and a special timed clam-shucking challenge.
There’s even an ancestral element to the clam portion. The Gregory tribe — of the eponymous next door neighbor eatery — pits members Walt, Jay and Paul against one another. Brother Greg, a pro stand-up comedian, offers his verbal talents as emcee. That family angle is one of the crucial thoughts behind Somers Point’s overall marketing concept, which features the slogan “Small town, big taste.”
Regine isn’t new to organizing these sort of festivities. In addition to having helped found the Somers Point Jazz Society (and Festival) 13 years ago, he’s also been a key player in the formative stages of successful annual civic ventures like Bayfest and Good Old Days.
As to particulars, a dozen restaurants plan to offer a $25.07 prix fixe bill of fare, while another five casual eateries take 25 percent off guest checks.
Those numbers have special significance for two reasons.
Think “25 dollars for seven days” and you’ll get the first.
The second is less obvious, except to bus-riding Somers Point residents, who would know that the line serving Shore Road is known as the “507.”
Some menus created for Restaurant Week include:
Sandi Pointe, appetizers: seafood gumbo, sauteed wild mushrooms in puff pastry, fall field green salad, Chef’s gravlax (cured in house). Entrees: wild Alaskan salmon with sorrel sauce, free range Cornish game hen, wild rice, wild boar sausage, cabbage, fingerling potatoes and hunter style venison stew, braised root vegetables over egg noodles.
Gregory’s, appetizers: spring roll, boursin cheese, wild mushroom, baby spinach, spicy peanut sauce; seared sushi tuna, seaweed salad, traditional accompaniments; mango, avocado and gulf shrimp salad, Thai chili vinaigrette. Entrees: crispy crusted gouper, chipotle remoulade over baby arugula, citrus vinaigrette; peppercorn New York strip, sliced Yukon gold potatoes, carmelized cippoline onion and demi-glaze, crab and artichoke gratin, toasted garlic crostini.
Doc’s, appetizers: slider duet (Kobe with American cheese, carmelized mushrooms and veal parm with provolone, tomato basil sauce) New Zealand black mussels, seared shrimp and pancetta, beefsteak tomato and pea cream reduction over wilted spinach. Entrees: Fish and chips (Panko battered cod), grilled flank steak, teriyaki glaze, penne and proscuitto in vodka blush or five herb tomato cream sauce, grilled chicken and sauteed shrimp.
Crab Trap, appetizers: Manhattan clam chowder, toasted ravioli and proscuitto wrapped shrimp, fried calamari, sauteed banana peppers, garlic, marinara sauce, herb crusted goat cheese over field greens, classic wedge salad. Entrees: grilled pork chop, mashed sweet potatoes and braised apples, pistachio crusted mahi, creamy vin blanc, veal Anthony, cutlet topped with proscuitto, mozzarella and spinach, pad Thai salmon, Cape May scallops over lobster asparagus risotto, shrimp and lobster tortellini, lobster shiitake mushroom cream sauce.
As we all try to get back in the rhythm of life post-Sandy, I decided that instead of waiting until Friday, I would ignore the wet snow being dumped by last night’s storm and head out to one of Somers Point restaurants participating in this week’s Somers Point Restaurant Week.
If you’re a real food fan, ask to sit in the left rear section. Here you’ll be afforded a peek at the kitchen staff, through a screened service portal, as they prepare your meal.
The Somers Point Restaurant Week began Nov. 4 and concludes Nov. 13. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the special dining event featuring $25.07 three-course dinners and $11.07 three-course lunches, you still have a few more days to go.
You might be surprised to hear Andrew Latz refer to his new Somers Point restaurant as a “return to Bay Avenue.”
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