China Sea Absecon NJ

I’m so sad that it took me so long to eat at the China Sea of Absecon; I’ve literally walked in front of its doors at least 2 times a week, going from one store to another for the entire summer! I am extremely picky about Chinese food, as that is the cuisine of choice every Sunday when we used to eat out for family night when I was growing up. I’ve been let down time and time again here in New Jersey when trying new Chinese restaurants and I must say that this place ranks number one in all of South Jersey! The prices are rock bottom, which is absolutely up my alley. The decor was clean, the room spacious and the seating plenty.

A superb treat from this restaurant was the complementary fried wontons, served with duck sauce and spicy mustard, plus a pot of hot tea upon seating. We were immediately asked whether we would like water or soda, which is unheard of these days.

I began my meal with a tasty and thick egg drop soup ($1.50), which I topped off with fried won tons and soy sauce. The shrimp roll was delightfully delicious too! It was a big roll, which is not normally my favorite, however this roll had cabbage and was fried to perfection. My main dish was the Green Jade Chicken ($9.95) which was as fabulous as can be! The chicken was perfectly cooked, fresh out of the wok and not slimy or rubbery at all (which is more than I can say for most of the Chinese restaurants here in NJ). It is sliced chicken stir fried with broccoli, snow peas and asparagus in a chef special brown sauce. The broccoli was crispy and tender-hard to accomplish! The snow peas were snappy but very soft-I don’t know how they perfected this combo, but its definitely perfection. The asparagus was tender and fresh, not slimy or wilted at all. I asked for the brown rice and it was exactly what I expected.

After tasting my loves roast pork fried rice I wasn’t impressed, it lacks desire and leaves a lot of room for improvement. His main dish was the Hawaii Five-O ($16.50) which consisted of jumbo shrimp, scallops, beef and chicken stir fried with broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, baby corn, onions, mushrooms and pineapples. The meats in his dish were cooked superbly as well.  He was delighted with the entire dish, but pushed the pineapples aside as they were placed on the plate cold, not stir fried at all.

For desert the pistachio ice cream ($2.50) hit the spot! I will definitely eat here many more times before I head back to Arizona and each time i’m in town too! I recommend this place to Chinese food enthusiasts and any foodie that desires deliciously prepared and presented food. So next time you drive into, or out of Atlantic City on the White Horse Pike, make sure you save room for Chinese!

China Sea of Absecon
662 White Horse Pike (RTE 30)
Absecon, NJ 08201
609-569-1888
http://chinaseaofabsecon.com

Tonio’s Seafood Shack Avalon NJ

This delicious and upscale eatery is nothing of the shack sense, but it’s in their name. We found this place entirely on accident, as our first choice the Oceanside Seafood restaurant was a hot mess. Lucky for us it was a quick walk from Dune Drive.

When we entered Tonio’s I wasn’t so sure that the food would be up to par, as the dinning room was barren. But the decor was so contemporary and romantic we stayed. Usually I gauge the freshness of the food on the amount of people, the less people-the lower the turnaround on the food=the less fresh. However I am glad to say I was WRONG! Thank goodness we stayed, as after sitting for less than 5 minutes at our table, at least 3 different parties approached the counter to pick up To Go orders. Throughout the evening there must have been at least 15 different pick up’s, and after tasting my dish I understand why!

We had a pleasant server who promptly opened our BYOB wine and brought us water, before we asked-a sign of a fabulous server in my book! They did not charge a corking fee, which was a good thing; as we brought 2 bottles of wine. We ordered the shack bake ($35.99), which consisted of a whole lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, steamed corn on the cob, coleslaw and a salad, as well as a broiled seafood combo ($25.95), which consisted of flounder, shrimp, scallops, crab cake, coleslaw, baked potato and a salad. The plating was a little “shack-ie” as the sides were served in plastic containers; but the taste and freshness more than made up for this laziness of the plating.

I must say that this was the most tasty and freshest seafood in Avalon New Jersey. I’m so glad we decided to share both dishes because they were equally delicious. The shack bake seafood was baked directly inside the lobster shell on top of the lobster, melding the flavors of the lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams, intertwining them beautifully, while creating a melt in your mouth blanket of sumptuous tastiness. I’m usually not a big fan of scallops but they tasted absolutely divine! So divine that I will make a it a point to taste them every chance I can. The mussels and clams were cooked to perfection as well. We ordered the broiled seafood combo, as apposed to the fried seafood combo, which was a pleasant surprise-as each piece of seafood was absolutely soft and tender. The flounder was so delicate it melted in my mouth like straight butter! The crab cake was out of this world, tasty and flavorful-filled with crab and not too much filler. The steamed corn on the cob was so sweet and probably fresh of the farm! The salads were a generous portion and tasty, topped with a house vinaigrette. The baked potatoes were presented with the butter squares pushed down inside the cut opening to heat it up, which was clever; however I’m not sure if this was very sanitary.

Since it was my birthday we also had desert. But I must say that after finishing off our plates, we only had room to share the ice cream ball, which was a wonderful treat. I winced a bit at the description when the server said it consisted of papaya, mango and orange sorbet, but was delighted that there wasn’t a hint of papaya.

Lucky for us we happened to be the only patrons in the entire 8 table dinning room. It was a quaint and cozy place, with two TV’s, contemporary furnishing and not too bright. I would definitely recommend Tonio’s to anyone looking for fresh seafood without all the craziness that comes with most shack’s, as this one is nothing of the kind-except for the plastic and plating techniques.

Tonio’s Seafood Shack & Fresh Fish Market
2475 Ocean Drive
Avalon, NJ 08202
609-368-8862
http://toniosseafoodshack.webs.com