We drove to Point Pleasant Beach last night to be entertained by comedy; only to be filled with absolute delight instead. We arrived 5 minutes too late to get into the show; so we rolled with it, right across the street to one of the most delicious restaurants I’ve enjoyed this summer. They serve fine Portuguese & Spanish Cuisine; with their specialty being seafood. I have been to Marbella and Ibiza a few times, Formentera once by speed boat, and enjoyed driving as far down towards the Strait of Gibraltar, to jump on the ferry to Morocco, eating my way around the Mediterranean Sea; and must say that this restaurant makes it taste like it came straight out of a kitchen in the region. However the attitude of the server compared more to those servers you find in Paris, France; bored and uninterested.
Had we judged the restaurant by our servers uninterested, bored and easily distracted attention he afforded us; we may have left immediately. Of course it may have been the bagillion specials he had to share with us, as with every other word, he looked away and exhaled so deeply that his body slumped even further (as if asking to be shot on spot). It made me a little leery, because I’ve been to so many over priced, under seasoned and poorly serviced “Fine Dining” establishments around beach areas.
All I can say now is that I’m so happy we decided to stay, despite the poor attitude, we made a fabulous choice of stepping into that place; which transported us to the mediterranean with each bite.
I began with one of the most delicious lobster bisque soups I have ever eaten. It was laced with diced lobster and spotted with a few bigger chunks. The sauce was a little more on the tomato side, with less cream; which made the flavor a bit more intense. At only $8.00 a bowl full they must be selling it off like hotcakes. However when my dish was brought to me it had thick dried out rings, as if it were warmed in a microwave. I asked the food runner if my hunch was right, but he assured me it wasn’t; with a little nervousness; as if they had been found out. Luckily it tasted so delicious, it didn’t matter either way.
My love began with one of the appetizer specials. It consisted of 5 pan seared oysters, served with the freshest tomatoes in New Jersey, cold steamed asparagus and cucumber medallions; all was drizzled with a vinaigrette. The scallops were cooked perfectly, and the seared edges made them a little more intense. They melted in my mouth so easily, I wanted to order another one. Only thing I would change is to have my asparagus served warm, or better yet roasted.
I ordered the Filet Mignon Tips special, served in a mushroom sauce with (canned/jarred) mushrooms and #32 shrimp. I am so bothered by Fine dining establishments serving up can mushrooms out here, it boggles me that a place with such fresh vegetables such as New Jersey, gets away with it. I let it slide however, because the thick medallions of fillet mignon were cooked perfectly medium rare, and the sauce was seasoned and thickened just right. The shrimp were a tad bit over cooked, but they paired very well with the delicious mushroom sauce. My filet included potatoes, sliced carrots, julienne onions and french style green beans; all roasted portuguese style. At $29.00 I would say it was worth every last cent, but would be much more tasty with fresh mushrooms.
My love ordered the Arroz de Marisco (Seafood Rice) which was shrimp, clams, mussels and calamari seasoned and prepared with garlic, olive oil, peppers, onions, cilantro, tomatoes and white rice. I couldn’t believe my eyes at how big his plate was. Three people could have easily shared this dish. It was so fresh, that there wasn’t any kind of fishy smell or taste to the rice. The diced tomatoes were the only splash of red, besides the rosy sauce, as the rice was only laden with the fish. This was a nice treat, as I’m used to paella with the spanish rice. I actually enjoyed this dish. Normally I’m not a mixed seafood dish person (because I don’t enjoy overboard fishy flavors) however I truly felt that this dish was exquisite in its delivery. Simply because each item tasted as it should, with a little mingling of flavors on top like a sprinkle of garnish, not overpowering in a melting pot of fish. At $26.00 I could have shared this with him it was so delicious.
We shared a half pitcher of house made sangria. The house part was strawberry and banana liqueur added to the sangria, for $16.00 a half pitcher, which served at least 4 small glasses. The flavor was balanced, not too much wine, sweetness from the liqueur, or to fruity from the diced fruit (which was a little sparse if you ask me). Our server loosened up a bit during service, maybe because he got to play with our drinks; serving it up like a water fountain shoots out a stream of water, to mix the sangria as he poured it, he held the glass as low to the table as he could while pulling the pitcher as high as he could, then tipping it over to pour out its contents, without spilling (just splashing lol). I loved it!
We were looking forward to checking out the dessert cart because it sat right behind our table and we love to finish a meal with sweetness; however they cleared it away without even asking us if we were interested. That was a little sucky too. They looked so good from afar, it was a travesty (over dramatization) that they were gone so fast, before either of us realized they were clearing off the cart. We weren’t even offered a dessert menu, so we decided to leave sans sweet fillings, maybe next time, because we will definitely be back.
One great thing about the server, was the fact that he knows how to take a great photo, just have patience as he sets up his studio at your table.
Europa South Restaurant
521 Arnold Avenue (Cor. Rt 35)
Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742