Windansea, Highlands, NJ

One of the advantages of living close to the shore is having a plethora of waterfront dining options. The Jersey shore is well-known for having many excellent restaurants, especially seafood ones. When a friend and I decided to make plans for lunch, I suggested she drive down to my area from Northern NJ and we’d eat somewhere with a great view. After contemplating some choices, I settled on Windansea, in Highlands, NJ. Windansea, as described by their website, offers “contemporary American cuisine….where the South Pacific meets New York chic.” I’ve eaten at Windansea several times over the last few years and have had some great and some good dining experiences. It’s located right on the water overlooking Sandy Hook, NJ and on a clear day you can see NYC in the distance. The most important thing to remember when dining here is to ask for a table outside so you’ll get the beautiful view.

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon for lunch around 2pm. There was a small crowd there, but we were seated right away with a window seat. Unfortunately, we were seated directly next to a large party of about 20 or so guests there for a (very adorable) baby’s christening. The issue wasn’t that we were sitting next to this group, the issue was that we were sharing the same waitress.

The waitress did come over right away and was off to a good start, taking our drink order and lunch order, and immediately bringing over our drinks. In fact, I even had a special request for the kitchen which she was able to pull off for me. On the menu there was a crab cake platter, but I was really craving a crab cake sandwich with some french fries.

For lunch, my friend had the grilled cheese with tomato and bacon served with a side of a balsamic pasta salad. Unfortunately, the bacon was so overcooked it was hard as a rock and she couldn’t even bite through it. My crab cake sandwich came with the same balsamic pasta salad – NOT with the fries I requested. Since our food was brought out by a busboy and not our waitress, I mentioned to him I had wanted fries. The waitress did come over a few minutes later and apologize and said she did in fact put down I had wanted fries.

The crab cake itself was actually very good, but compared to the size of the bun, it appeared to be swallowed up by the bread. However, the taste was great. While waiting for my fries, I tasted the pasta salad and it was very bland. My friend and I both agreed it was lacking flavor and was tasteless. Once my fries got there, I was a happy camper though. They were perfect, crispy, salty, and not too greasy.

Our waitress began to slack off after we were finished eating. We believe it’s due to the fact she had to juggle the large party next to us. We waited a good ten to fifteen minutes with our napkins on our plates (and empty glasses) before she cleared them. She then asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu, which naturally we did. We then had to wait another ten minutes before she brought the dessert tray out. At this point we were getting very frustrated but still wanted our dessert.

I ordered the tiramisu, which my friend thought was better than I thought. Good but not great, it seemed like it may have been sitting out for a while and also too much mascarpone flavor and not enough sweet flavor. I wouldn’t order it here again. She ordered the brownie which she didn’t like, but I could have licked the plate. It was warm and gooey. Once again, had to wait quite some time for the check.

Overall, it was a mediocre dining experience. Because I’ve had better meals and better service here in the past, I would go here again. I suggest sticking with the seafood here as all seafood I’ve had here in the past was very good. The waitress needed to learn how to balance her tables better. If she couldn’t handle an additional table because of the large party, she should have told management staff to get us another waiter. I waitressed for several years while in high school and college and whenever I had a group that large, that was all I was able to handle. I’m sure there are wait staff out there who could handle a large table and some smaller ones, but not this waitress. There are a few other places I’d go before coming back here again, however, I still think it’s a pretty decent restaurant otherwise.



  1. Clumsy said

    Hello, I love Jersey Shore dining, when you can eat before a beautiful view of the water—though even a great view can’t totally excuse a medicore mean! If you want fine dining near the shore, I would suggest Nicholas in Red Bank. Though there’s no view (its located on a highway) OMG it’s good, and the staff takes care of you as if you were the queen of england!

  2. foodiedani said

    Hi there Clumsy Cook! (love the name)
    I’ve read many many incredible reviews about Nicholas. It’s my goal to get there eventually. I tried once this year but someone slipped and told my husband it’s a very fancy place with little potions and while I’m fine with that, he was not! lol!

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