1035 Beach Ave.
Cape May, NJ 08204
My husband and I sneaked out the back gate to avoid a melt down from our little ones and biked up to the beach to try the new restaurant Sea Salt at the Ocean Club Hotel. Little did I know that we would be apart of their soft opening. Suddenly I was having flashbacks of our first anniversy at the Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City. They were technically “open” too and pretty much ruined out entire trip.
Let’s start with the positives. The staff is really nice and is trying very hard to live up to ”posh” look of the space. The view is also really nice and unlike a lot of places they did not pack the place to the gills with tables.
As for the rest of the place…they just are not ready yet. The wait staff is a mix of a few local experienced servers and summer exchange student newbies. It was pretty apparent that the staff does not know each other when our waiter tried to get the attention of a fellow server by repeately saying…Miss, Miss, young lady over and over. It never occured to me how important it is that the staff actually know each others names until I heard that.
One of the first things they tell you is that they do not have a full kitchen staff so things are going to take longer then usual. Honestly I was in no rush to get home but things did take pretty long to come out. You cannot go here with kids because they will never survive the wait.
One of the first things I noticed was the fact that they were missing a huge opporunity with the music. It went from Hall & Oats to weird NYC trance music around 8:00 p.m. They need a new mix master and quick. I mean what about this picture to the right says “play me and they will come.”
The food was disappointing and I hate writing that. I picked the place becasuse of the menu I saw on-line…but since they are not fully operational we were given and abbriviated menu…”surprise.” I was really disappointed when there was no raw bar. When places do that I feel like a victim of false advertising. A little heads up when I was making the reservation would have been considerate.
Never the less I was happy to be out on such a nice night and I pretty much eat anything so we made the best of it. My husband ordered the crab cakes which were good and majority crab meat. I ordered the Buffalo rock shrimp salad, roasted corn, stilton blue cheese dressing. Word to the wise. This is a slice of ice berge with hot sauce poured all over it. So if you like that kinda thing…have at it. I guess it could be considered diet food for chicken wing lovers?
For our entrees we got the rib-eye steak which I dubbed bubbled gum meat because it was not medium rare as requested but almost fully cooked. The handcut fries – not worth the calories…I love fries and had maybe two. I got the branzino. Ahhh. I was surprised when the whole fish came out with the head and all that jazz. The fish was also not deboned. First thought…If I wanted a difficult meal I would have brought my two year old. Also the plate it was served on was all about style and not function. 5 minutes into my meal I noticed that all the fish juice has slid from my arched rectangle plate onto the table and was making their way over to my phone. I guess I have been spoiled by some places that debone the fish for you tableside.
Dessert was on the house I guess because of the soft opening. You can skip it. Go to Bliss and get some homemade ice cream.
Finally I have an unconscience ritual when I have a bad expereicne at a restaurant. To salvage everything I order a cup of tea. I think how can that get messed up. Again style over function. I am sure the tea cups were expensive but did they actually test them out before they bought them? The cups have these very small very thin handles. So when you put your finger around it the cup actually tilts so that the hot part moves towards to hand…burning you ever so gently. If you guys are reading this seriously throw the hottest liquid you can find in those cups and try to hold it for 60 seconds. You have to wait until the whole thing cools until you can touch it.
Decor wise…they missed another opportunity. They could of had some fun here but they decided to go navy with weird wall paper and tried to look like a very empty NYC lounge. I like the lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling but not for the beach. To heavy drama for sun and sand. The place is going to look dated really quickly.
Like I said… they are not ready and have some work to do. Our meal was not worth $120.