Red Bank’s main street is lined with stylish shops and trendy eateries, among them Blue Water Seafood. The large front windows opened up the modern space complete with the exposed kitchen space and tanks with live sea creatures. And at the same time that atmosphere flooded onto the outdoor seating, right on the bustling sidewalk.
The menu’s focus is seafood with a mix of traditional and straightforward seafood dishes, seasonal items with twists and even some that leave behind the water theme. The restaurant offers raw bar items like oysters and littleneck clams on the half shell as well as different colossal cocktails like shrimp and crabmeat cocktails. The crab cocktail was made up of lump crabmeat at its most pure form, and served with a lightly dressed salad, some rich red cocktail sauce and a few wedges of bright lemon. Each lump of crab exuded freshness and encapsulated delicious crab flavor uninterrupted by spices and seasoning.
The array of salads range from classics like Greek and House salads, to the Pepper Seared Sashimi Tuna salad. The Mediterranean was a colorful salad, heavily laden with tangy Gorgonzola and layered with little oranges slices, sweet roasted beets and toasted pistachios on top of a bed of mixed greens, all dressed with a shallot garlic vinaigrette. Each element was lost to the superfluous cheese, but once some was removed, a sweet harmony arouse. It was fresh and alive with the crunch of pistachio pieces to counter the slippery textures both the beets and the citrus.
The specialty Dry Sea Scallop dish served with linguine was one of the many classic dishes presented by the seafood restaurant. Others included hearty pieces of meats or chicken with a myriad of complementing seasonal sides to seafood pastas. This pasta was topped with a never-ending amount of scallops paired with tart grape tomatoes, earthy spinach and meaty mushrooms, coated in a rich truffled butter sauce. Each swirl of the pasta induced a wave of fresh flavors. The lovely scallops mimicked the textures of the spongy mushrooms and wilted spinach while the tomatoes added that bite. Even the truffle essence heightened the flavors, bringing refinement to a rustic feeling dish. It would have remained light had the butter sauce not become heavier, compounding salt and richness with every bite. Though the initial moments still left a sweet memory on the tongue.
Blue Water also boasts a number of combinations with a mix of different fish and preparations. When broiled the different fish are prepared with a panko crust adding a light and crunchy layer to the succulent seafood. The three fat scallops were just pink and plump while the cod was buttery and flaky but the shrimp fell short, a little over done. The roasted potatoes were traditional and simple and the mixed vegetables were even simpler allowing the seafood to be the star.
Even the desserts were traditional and comforting favorites from chocolate cake to tiramisu. The bread pudding was a healthy hunk of creamy custard, sweet and dense. A delicate drizzle of strawberry reduction offered momentary relief of the decadent pudding. Ice cream melted into the cube of custard adding another layer of luxury. Thin sliced of almonds throughout the condensed pudding would have played well to the sweetness and unified texture even a dash of citrus would lighten the dessert and connect it to the seafood theme. Even the simplicity of the desserts underlined the classic nature of many of the dishes and the modern aesthetic.