In the interest of full disclosure, Shipwreck Grill in Point Pleasant has been one of my favorite restaurants for a couple of years now, especially for fish, so this is definitely not a first-time or completely unbiased review. On the other hand, our last dining experience was a few nights ago at Nicholas, so our standards were still slightly elevated. But a fellow poster (barbarella) had an unpleasant experience at SWG recently and we went back last night hoping we wouldn’t suffer the same fate. Barbarella’s first problem was that they waited 30 minutes for a table despite having a reservation (this was a Saturday night). We showed up at 6:30 on a Tuesday for our reservation, so clearly we weren’t going to push the envelope. We were seated right away (the dining room and bar were fairly busy, maybe 2/3). I might expect to wait a bit on a busy weekend, but 30 minutes seems excessive.
For starters my wife had the Lobster Bisque and I had the Tuna Sushi Tempura with Japanese Dipping Sauce. I was hoping she would go for the soup special, a Wild Mushroom Soup, but at least the LB gave us a point of reference. We’ve had really great and really not so great. This was somewhere in the middle. It did have some lobster flavor (and little pieces of lobster floating on the top), and my wife found it ‘ok’. I thought it had a slightly off, almost burnt flavor. Certainly not bad enough to preclude a return visit, just not something we would order there again. The Tuna app was exactly as I remember from the first time I had it (ok, I wasn’t going to be THAT adventurous) – wonderful. Raw tuna in sushi rice with a tempura coating served in a nice presentation with some soy/sesame dipping sauce and a little wasabi mayo. Very good.
On to the mains. My wife was set to order the Butter Poached Lobster with Leeks and a Creamy Grain Mustard Sauce over Fettuccini. It sounded pretty appealing to me too. But, this was the dish that three out of four diners in Barbarella’s party had ordered and universally felt was overwhelmed by the mustard (I don’t know if they’d had it before and liked it but, if not, it was certainly a daring move to put so many eggs in one basket. My wife and I generally hedge our bet and never order the same thing, so in the event one is a loser, we can at least share one good dish.) Anyway, I mentioned this to her so she switched to one of the “Shore Favorites” – Stuffed Lemon Sole with Jumbo Lump Crabmeat. I find it a bit humorous that the ‘shore’ favorites, are relegated to the lower right corner of the 2nd page of the menu, so as not to be confused with their more upscale ‘Shipwreck’ favorites. The ‘shore’ favorites are, for sure, dishes that you would find in any fish place (scampi, broiled sole, etc.), as opposed to a ‘pistachio encrusted grouper with….). I guess they want to make sure you understand that they are clearly an upscale place but that they still cater to those whose tastes are more pedestrian. I had the Dry Jumbo Sea Scallops with Lobster Ravioli and Black American Caviar in a Beurre Blanc Sauce (definitely not a ‘shore’ favorite).
My wife’s dish was very good. The sole was cooked nicely (moist and with good flavor). The crab stuffing was also good and did not overwhelm the dish. It came with a side of garlic mashed potatoes that were divine. So creamy, buttery, garlicky, well seasoned. The veggies included a pearl onion and the whole thing served on a nice white plate, in what I can only guess was their homage to the coming winter. Presentation aside, the dish was very good and she was quite happy with it.
The scallops and ravioli’s were also very good. Scallops had a nice sear top and bottom and were soft and sweet, yet not undercooked, inside. The ravioli’s were also up to snuff, nice al dente pasta and a tasty filling. The butter sauce added nice flavor without drowning everything.
Finally on to dessert. We don’t always do dessert and probably wouldn’t have last night, but they actually had biegnets on the menu and, having been to New Orleans recently, it seemed like the time to take one for the team. Specifically the dish was Cinnamon Biegnets dusted with Coconut Sugar served with Godiva liquor Hot Chocoloate. Now, biegnets are probably not my favorite dessert anyway. I think much of the appeal of Café Du Monde is the atmosphere, the crowds, the surly waitstaff, the fact that you are in New Orleans, as much as anything really great about the sugary biegnets. But the dish at SWG was actually so funny that we had a good laugh. The biegnets were like, well sort of similar to… Ok, there were EXACTLY like Cinnamon Munchkins at DD. When I bit into one I fully expected RR to come out from the kitchen saying ‘Yum’. Anyway, as munchkins go, these were pretty good. And the Godiva Hot Chocolate was actually delicious. The presentation, that included some dabs of whipped cream, a few fresh strawberries and a dusting of Coconut Sugar was very eye appealing. So the $8 price was worth it and we both had a good laugh.
By the way, and certainly not an afterthought, the service was absolutely fine, friendly, timely; no issues. So on whole, it was really good to find that SWG is alive and well (at least for us) and will remain on our short list.