A few weeks ago I had reviewed Pirate’s Cove on the Bay in the Belford section of Middletown, NJ. We had a pleasant dinner there and I had anticipated returning here soon. Sure enough, we found ourselves back at this great little spot on the water for a special event – a Chef’s Tasting. How could a foodie not want to go to this? This was a seven course pre-fixe meal for $45.00 a person.
We were promptly seated and were brought delicious, warm bread with a fresh herb butter. Up first, Lentil Bisque. I would say of all the courses, I was apprehensive about this one the most. I loathe lentils. I figured I’d be nice and taste it once it arrived. I was here for courses 3 through 7! More on the second course later….
When the Lentil Bisque arrived, it was a cup of the soup topped with a dusting of Parmesan and fresh parsley. That first spoonful was…..amazing! I immediately fell in love with this smoky, flavorful, creamy concoction. I loved it so much I asked our waitress if there was any left because I’d like to purchase some to take home. After checking with the chef, she let me know there was some left and I could purchase a cup, bowl, or quart. Well, I took the quart for $8.00 and enjoyed it for the next few days!
Second course was a roasted beet with raspberry vinaigrette and goat cheese. Alas, I also loathe beets, just not as much as I thought I loathed lentils, so I wasn’t crazy about this course. Sure enough, I still loathe beets. Also, as I’ve mentioned on here before, not a fan of goat cheese. The vinaigrette was very fruity, tangy and flavorful though.
For the third course we were served grape leaves stuffed with ground beef with fresh herbs. This reminded me of stuffed cabbage. The grape leaf was ok as a wrapping but the real deliciousness was the filling. It was sweet and savory and you could really taste the fresh herbs and some sort of citrus flavor that sounds odd with ground beef but worked.
Fourth course was grilled shrimp over artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and feta with a vinaigrette. The two shrimp were plump and juicy. They had that nice, crisp bite from the grilling then the sweet, succulent meat within. The other flavors combined well and it reminded me of a Greek salad.
Moving along to the fifth course, we were served seared ahi tuna with a mustard parsley glaze over roasted garlic mashed potatoes. This was good, but not great. I found my tuna to be slightly over-cooked. The mustard parsley glaze, however, was a nice touch. And those roasted garlic mashed potatoes were heavenly.
The sixth course was roast pork loin stuffed with pancetta, apricots and over a white wine parsnip puree. By this time, I was starting to get full, despite all the previous portions being small-sized. I did manage to get a few bites in and thought this was also very good. The stuffing of pancetta and apricots actually worked well together and had a nice taste. And the parsnip puree was creamy and good.
The last course, dessert, was a half-moon creme brulee – one side traditional and the other Godiva. Although I had no room for the roast pork, I did manage to find a wee bit of space for this perfect brulee. The traditional side had just the right amount of sweetness without being overbearing and the caramelized sugar topping was nice and crispy. The Godiva side of the creme brulee was rich and chocolately.
Afterwards, the owner stopped by each table to get feedback and talk a little. This place hasn’t even been open a year and I think they are doing great. According to the owner, they plan on having the chef’s tastings each month. I think it’s a great value for some great food. Even better, the owner mentioned I should sign up for there newsletter because they send out coupons. Sure enough within a few days I received a 25% coupon for this month! Pirate’s Cove on the Bay is a great, little place and I’m already making plans to return.