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Carmen’s Seafood Restaurant
343 43rd Street (& Bay)
Sea Isle City, NJ 08243
Call me crazy, but when I go away for a weekend at the beach I want the total treatment. This should include warm sunny days, swimming in the ocean, afternoon naps, sandwiches on the beach, beer and summer cocktails, BBQ, and of course fresh seafood.
For this past Memorial Day Weekend the wife and I went with some friends to a house in Ocean City, NJ on the famed Jersey Shore. Everything about the weekend delivered as expected, but only one aspect went beyone my expectations. That was Carmen’s Seafood Restaurant. We’re all in our late 20′s and 30′s – the crowds at the clubs are not for us. We chose to spend our Saturday night having a late dinner of shellfish, and other good beach town stuff.
Carmen’s is BYOB – bring your own beer (or wine). The menu is ample with plenty of shellfish and regular fish options, fried, grilled, and steamed, raw selections, and other non-seafood options. I started with an order of raw oysters which I split with two friends. They were big, cold, briny, and meaty. There was a slight chewiness to them – yes, I chew my oysters. Look, if you’re one of those people who likes to slather on the cocktail sauce, and swallow without even tasting the slimy little sucker, that’s your prerogative. I do not advocate such behavior. I like to taste my food.
Anyway, for an entree I ordered the whole crabs. My wife, who is normally picky and orders fried shrimp got the peel-and-eat shrimp instead…on my suggestion…because fried shrimp is a snack along with fried clam strips, and you get them at the beach snack bar.
The crabs were big & meaty. My wife had a little trouble peeling her shrimp – lack of experience, probably. I tasted them, and they were pretty good. My meal came with cole slaw and a potato, but I barely touched them. I was in the zone – the crabs and beer zone, that is.
Carmen’s is BYOB, so we brought a case of Bud Light Golden Wheat – which, if you’ve never tried it is actually really good beer…ok, pretty good beer. I like it.
There wasn’t really anything about Carmen’s that I didn’t enjoy. The service was great, the view is spectacular, the food is fresh and delicious, the decor is fun, & the atmosphere is relaxed. It’s hard to ask for much more from a summer seafood restaurant.
My grandmother asked me if I would like to recite a eulogy, and I accepted. I recited a portion of a story he had enjoyed telling about his time in the Army Air Corps. He spent the war bouncing between Panama & The Galapagos Islands. He never saw combat. He was an airplane mechanic. His three brothers saw combat – my uncle Harry was in Patton’s Army. Anyway, he spent most of his days drinking beer, shooting pool, and fishing. He told a story of a gigantic tuna he once caught that seemed to get bigger each time he told the story.
One day, a matter of weeks before his death we were at their house. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but he pulled some photos from his fanny pack including this one.
Yep, that’s him and the big fish. Nobody could believe it. This was the first time we’d seen this photo. Read the rest of this entry »