Daniels Bistro Point Pleasant Beach was our choice for dinner on New Years Eve this year. It was also our first visit to this acclaimed BYOB. Why it took us this long to find our way to a place this good, which is only ten minutes away, remains a mystery. I must say after this visit it will never be that long again.
Daniels Bistro reopened in Point Pleasant Beach after being totally destroyed by Superstorm Sandy to the good fortune of many loyal customers. From what I have read it was a decision that was difficult for Chef Daniel Picard and his wife, who at the time were apparently settled in the idea of solely operating their Avon-by-the-Sea location.
Daniels has a classic formal yet energetic vibe. It is always busy and filled with the sound of people having a great time. When we first entered we were greeted immediately and shown to our table for two, which was waiting along a half wall. It was the only empty table at 6 PM. The hostess, who I learned early on was the owner, told us they had been packed since four.
Our server, Rachel, approached us right away and opened our celebratory bottle of champagne. (It just happened to be my birthday too) She read us the specials and fielded our many questions almost too perfectly. When I remarked how comfortable she seemed to be at her job, I was informed that her family owned the establishment. How fortunate we were to have her at our service.
Deciding what to order was a difficult decision as everything on the menu appealed to both of us that night. I was unaware that I was about to commit the cardinal sin of not ordering the duck meatballs which is the most revered creation of the chef. Forgive me, but I promise I will try them next time. Instead we went old school and ordered the fois gras and the escargot as our appetizers. Both were excellent. The fois gras is delightfully charred and and served on a raspberry sauce with a poached pear. The combination of blackened sear and the sweet sauce worked beautifully. The braised escargot were tender and plump and submersed individually in a bath of roasted garlic, white wine and herbs which was almost like a pesto. You will want to finish the sauce with a spoon or bit of bread. I neglected to say that every guest is given a complimentary little cup of the most incredible tomato soup and a round of bruschetta as a starter. A very nice touch.
As our main courses, after lengthy consideration, we chose tho osso buco and the diver sea scallops. The osso buco was ready to fall from from the bone. It was not the classic Piedmont rendition with the gremolata and tomato sauce. It was more of a French interpretation made with demi glace, wine and vegetables. The sauce was deep and intensley flavored from hours of reduction. The meat was delicate with just the right amount of fat to add richness. It was served with garlic mashed potatoes, which was the perfect accompaniment.
The sea scallops were a stellar offering also. They were seared to perfection and served with a champagne sauce alongside lump crab meat risotto and asparagus spears. Scallops like these are good enough to stand alone but, with such great company, they are over the top. There was an added indulgence of three nice big bites of blue claw crab meat resting atop the creamy risotto.
For dessert we ordered the creme brulee which was described on the menu as being made with Grand Marnier. There was no Grand Marnier flavor to it, although it was excellent. Oddly it was identical to one that we had at another restaurant recently, right down to the vanilla bean seeds, the dish and the raspberry. Then I remembered reading that a certain well known, local, pastry chef had brought her talents to Daniels Bistro.
We left Daniels Bistro Point Pleasant Beach feeling that our entire experience was very pleasant and memorable. In fact it is one of the best dining experiences we have had recently. We are looking forward to returning soon. Some dishes on my radar include the Icelandic cod, the braised lamb shank and, of course, the spicy duck meatballs. See you soon.
Daniels Bistro, Point Pleasant Beach is located at 115 Broadway in Point Pleasant Beach. They open at 4 PM Tuesday through Sunday. They are closed Monday. You are welcome to bring your own wine. There is on site parking, as well as parking on the street. Reservations are highly recommended.
Please visit my comprehensive post about the entire Point Pleasant Beach dining scene entitled the Seven Best Restaurants in Point Pleasant Beach.