The crowds have left and Hurricane Joaquin decided to chug away from the Jersey Shore. We decided this evening offered the perfect opportunity to visit Firefly Oceanside in Point Pleasant Beach to dine
and watch the angry surf. This BYOB restaurant offers the best panoramic ocean views anywhere at the shore. On this occasion the surf was rough and the beach was virtually empty except for a few gulls and an occasional stroller. The late afternoon sun brightly illuminated the white foam as you can see in the picture taken from the top of the stairs.
The ambiance in the dining room is bright and airy with large windows affording a great view from any seat. We were fortunate to have our table for four right in the window. Our server Jean, (Jeanmarie) provided a profusion of information, not only in explaining the new fall menu in tantalizing detail, but also on many other subjects related the the local shore. I took her advice on both of the items I chose and she was spot on. A great server can really enhance your dining experience.
I started my meal, as did one of our friends, with a small plate called the Crab Apple Biscuit which was exactly as described. It was a lump crab cake served on a horseradish biscuit with shaved radicchio and a scallion apple sauce. (No crab apples) The warm crab cake contrasted perfectly with the cool chunky apple sauce and the biscuit was the catalyst that brought it all together. The biscuit had a horseradish taste but was not in the least over powering. My wife ordered the French Pumpkin Soup which was another recommendation. It was a real surprise in textures and flavor. The soup has a pumpkin bisque base to which roasted acorn squash was added. There was a dollop of cranberry orange chutney and two large crostini with melted cheese. The crostini is not mentioned as an ingredient on the menu. It was a big hit with my wife but I knew it was very filling. Our other friend Tommy, who does not like me to mention his name, began his meal with mini meatball hero’s. These walnut sized meatballs are made traditionally with a house blend of beef, pork and veal but are taken up a rung or two with the addition of candied garlic and aged provolone. They were a given a big thumbs up by him, a sort of meatball aficionado.
For our entrees my wife and our two friends all had the new Oceanside Burger which has replaced the Firefly Burger for fall. It is prepared from a combination of Kobe beef and Berkshire pork and topped with Irish porter cheddar, Tuscan kale slaw, rashers and maple Jameson’s aioli and served with truffle fries. The burger is served on a brioche bun and is a challenge the pick up withe two hands. At least two of them were eaten with a knife and fork. My wife shared some of hers with me and I found it to be remarkable combination of ingredients that melded perfectly with the flavor mix of meats. I have half of it waiting in my kitchen for lunchtime to arrive as I an writing this. I am hoping some of those incredible battered truffle fries made the trip too. My wife was full after only eating half. Our one friend brought half of hers home but her husband managed to eat the entire thing, even after his mini meat ball hero’s. God bless a hearty appetite.
Now it is time for the best part which I like to save for last, which was my entree. I totally enjoyed the sous vide prepared, triple IPA, chicken breast which is flash fried in IPA buttermilk batter. The chicken breast is taken off the bone after cooking except for the little wing drumette is left attached for a beautiful presentation. It is served on a plate of IPA cheddar sauce, surrounded with haricot verts fried in the same batter as the chicken. For those of you who are not familiar with sous vide (soo veed) cooking, it is a method of cooking sealed ingredients at a target temperature in a water bath, then finished on the stove, in a fryer or even with a blow torch. The method allows the internal temperature to reach a safe level without over cooking the outer portions. The meat retains almost all of its moisture and becomes very tender and remains juicy. This chicken was crisp and caramelized yet it could be cut with a fork and was very moist. There was no stringiness, as is the objection that many have to white meat chicken cooked in a conventional method. The tender and moist texture remained same all through. When used to mop up that cheese and ale blend the combination was incredible. The crisp haricot verts were the perfect mate to the dish. This dish was a very memorable experience too say the least.
Firefly Oceanside is the creation of Mark Roth and Eric Nielsen who formerly owned and operated Bistro on the Beach in Spring Lake. The kitchen is in the masterful hands of a Eric Yegelwel, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York. He has forged a keen edge on his skills after stints in many well known establishments including Trump National Golf in Bedminster, Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, the Avenue in Long Branch and Red, also in Red Bank. His last position was at Nicchio in Belmar where he served as executive chef before seizing the opportunity to become executive chef at Firefly Oceanside in Point Pleasant Beach. I would describe Chef Eric’s cuisine as eclectic American with a well defined French edge.
Firefly Oceanside offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, during the off season dinner hours there is an available, special chefs tasting where courses are offered for $10.00 per tasting per person. This allows local diners to select an available ingredient and leave the creation to Chef Eric’s talents and sample a cross section of many dishes.
Firefly Oceanside is a must for anyone who lives locally and wants to enjoy fine food with a sweeping panorama of the beach and ocean. The view of the beach and surf is no longer a glut of umbrellas and chairs. Serenity has replaced insanity and how better to enjoy it than with a warm seat in the window at Firefly Oceanside, perusing the new fall menu. As of writing this article the menu was not yet posted on their website. It offers some new creations and retains some of popular items like the piranha ribs which I am eager to try, especially after our server told me they really are ribs from a forty pound South American freshwater predator. Some other interesting items are the Butternut Squash Gnocci and Puffy Rice Encrusted Tuna. I can’t wait to return. See you soon.
Firefly Oceanside is a BYOB restaurant located at 1106 Ocean Ave, Point Pleasant Beach across from the White Sands Resort and Spa. There is plenty of parking on premises during the fall and winter. Do not miss the opportunity for fine food with an ocean view and to support a local business during the off season. This is the golden season at the shore. Enjoy