Captain Jack's will get you hooked tonight (CLOSED)
Sowing an orchard of tightly knit, gingerbread cottages amongst perennial “moop” (mom and pop) shops, Ocean Grove caters to the ebb and flow of Jersey Shore tourism while tending to locals year round. Captain Jack’s (68 Main Ave) earns its prestigious moniker with a menu focused on the deep, not only through fish-laden fare, but in depth of flavors, presentation and plotting a course that’s nothing short of smooth sailing.
Attentive and gracious, our waiter recited the evening’s specials while opening our wine (BYOB) and advised us on our first order (of business). Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go straight to…the homemade potato chips. These starchy slices took the chip off any shoulder by dousing it in a cheesy concoction that could only conjure up fond feelings. The true hero of this dynamic duo was the warm, weighted comforter of slightly browned cheeses, wrapping arteries in its gluttonous folds of indulgence. No Velveeta in this mix of Gouda, white cheddar and provolone that necessitated sharing with friends before overdosing on five pounds of melted cheese alone.
Fried calamari paid out in light, tender tokens using minimal breading, quality freshness and a mouth puckering, tempura sauce (ginger/soy essence) to elevate this app to ‘lord of the rings’. Mixed greens with blue cheese and candied pecans complimented each other in a steadfast pairing as the adult ‘sweet-tart’.
Entrees opened with the macadamia encrusted snapper, tasting as “caloric-ally” engorged as the nut encasing it –opulence at its finest. Swimming amongst shrimp buerre blanc and docking on a mashed potato reef, this snapper navigated its way to top of my poll. Fresh, high grade tuna surfaced with a trio of complimentary chums who brought out the best in their fishy friend- seaweed salad cooled, pickled shitake mushrooms puckered and wasabi cream cleansed.
We sidetracked from scales and weighed the options between two plucky preparations of duck. The half duck with blackberry/soy lost out to an orange/ginger glazed breast and a quarter of dark meat. Encircled by meticulously sliced medallions, cranberry relish glowed beneath a teepee of crisp skin and succulent thigh meat (shredding with the smallest provocation). The contrast of duck on this dish gave a variety of focal points while remaining cohesive-job well done.
From fish to fowl, we couldn’t have been more pleased. In an area where the seafood and tourist trades are highly competitive markets, Captain Jack’s thrives as an affordable, weekly go-to by delivering a quality product with every meal. Though there are many fish in the sea, few are prepared as tastily as those that leave Captain Jack’s galley.