Generally speaking, to find a full seafood menu at the Jersey Shore you have to go one of two routes. Either you hit up one of the many rustic, no frills seafood shacks for a downhome meal or you go high end, forking over big bucks at a super fancy (and super pricey) seafood restaurant. There aren’t many in between options. Sure, you may find fish and chips and dynamite shrimp at your local pub, but when it comes to a menu with a true fisherman’s focus, the task of finding such a gem can be frustrating at best.
But your problems are about to be solved thanks to McCullough’s Pub.
McCullough’s Pub serves as the post-putt hang out for hungry golfers who have spent a day on the links, but this summer, it’s offering a seafood night every Friday that perfectly tucks itself into that vacant space between shacks and over-the-top fancy restaurants.
The pub sits just beyond the edge of the golf course and offers some remarkable views of the rolling hills and well-manicured greens that make up the serene landscape. There is a bar area as well as an adjacent dining room and an outdoor deck, giving patrons options on their dining experience.
And while a culinarily diverse full menu is always available, on Fridays in the summer at McCullough’s, it’s all about the seafood.
“We started a couple years ago with the Lobster Fest, which was really successful. But we noticed that a lot of places were doing lobster specials, so we expanded the menu to become a full seafood fest this year. It still has lots of lobster dishes on it, but now it has even more variety,” says Ken Klein, executive chef at McCullough’s.
Klein is a local boy, born and raised in Ventnor. “There were eight kids (in my family). That’s where I first learned how to cook, from helping my mom,” he says. Klein took over the reigns as executive chef at McCullough’s three years ago.
Appetizer options include favorites like shrimp cocktail ($9), jumbo lump crab cocktail served with a housemade dijonaise ($14), a chilled seafood sampler with lobster, shrimp and crab cocktails and clams on the half shell ($25) as well as fresh mussels served in either white, red or fra diablo sauces ($9).
“We are becoming well known for our sautéed mussels,” Klein says. “We have a few options — for the red sauces we sauté them in garlic and oil with a little crushed red pepper, white wine and homemade marinara, then for the white it’s white wine, butter, garlic and parsley. All have been really popular.”
Though the apps are a nice start, the main entrees are where the seafood fest really begins to shine. Shrimp lovers will be pleased to find both fried ($17.95) and crabmeat stuffed (19.95) versions on the menu, while those who return with fond memories of the Lobster Fests at McCullough’s in years prior can indulge in a variety of lobster-based dishes.
The a trio of 3-ounce cold water lobster tails ($27) is served broiled with mashed potatoes, veggies and the can’t-have-lobster-without-it side of drawn butter for dipping. For those looking to double down on their crustacean intake, McCullough’s offers two stuffed options. The first includes two tails stuffed with jumbo lump crab and baked with a side of veggies and mashed potatoes for $28 while the other features a half of a steamed lobster stuffed with crabmeat and served with fries and slaw ($26). A steamed one-and-a-quarter pound lobster ($25) is available as well, which comes with French fries, cole slaw, lemon and drawn butter.
But what about that one person in every group who won’t touch seafood? Fear not, as chef Klein has included a slow-roasted prime rib ($21) that comes with sides of mashed potatoes and vegetables as well as au jus, horseradish sauce and a choice of soup or salad.
If the menu seems to stick to the more traditional seafood dishes, it is by design.
“We’re trying to keep it simple,” Klein says proudly.
When it comes to seafood in the summer at the shore, that’s a philosophy that can’t fail.