Atlantic City has hundreds of restaurants.
So among the dozens of steakhouses, the plethora of Italian restaurants and endless pizza and sub joints, it takes something special to make a restaurant stand out among the masses.
The Tropicana Atlantic City’s Chelsea Five Gastropub does just that.
The beauty of the Chelsea Five Gastropub is there’s nothing overly complicated about it. It simply offers awesome, creative comfort food made from the finest and freshest ingredients in a setting that would wow the most curmudgeonly visitor to our fine city.
Chelsea Five Gastropub is the centerpiece of the Tropicana’s impressive overhaul of its recently acquired Chelsea Tower. Situated on the fifth floor — a destination unto itself — and overlooking the ocean, the former Chelsea Prime steakhouse has been transformed from a once-classic black-and-white color palette to bright aquas and neutral grays to match the ocean and create one of the most stunning restaurants in the city, complete with tiered seating and a comfortable bar that ensures a great view no matter where you sit.
And while it’s easy to get lost in the décor and visuals, diners will leave, not talking about the view, but about the amazing meal they just experienced. The Chelsea Five Gastropub is so good, it immediately ranks in the Top 3 upscale-casual dining experiences in Atlantic City along with Wolfgang Puck American Grille and The Iron Room.
“The overall concept for Chelsea Five Gastropub is to showcase the obvious assets of our restaurant overlooking the ocean and beach,” says General Manager Adam Voyles. “We wanted an approachable menu. We wanted to not necessarily go back to our Fin days but something that would be familiar to those who loved Fin. So the gastropub concept made sense to take familiar items ... and elevate them to another level.”
Tropicana turned to the two people who helped make Fin the success story it was: Director of Culinary Operations Demetrios Haronis and Restaurant Chef Al Hughes, who conceptualized and executed Fin’s menu and did the same at the new gastropub.
With more than 50 whiskeys and brown liquors, an awesome cocktail list and an impressive beer list that focuses on New Jersey crafts, Haronis and Hughes designed a menu to perfectly complement the libations.
When the storm of 1962 destroyed many of the businesses that kept Sea Isle City buzzing, the…
They started by using the best ingredients they could find, which means partnering with and sourcing from the finest purveyors they could find.
Griggstown Farm, a Somerset County-based institution known for their humane practices and natural processes for 40 years, is the source for the gastropub’s buttermilk fried chicken ($22), a recipe that Hughes worked on with Vice President of Food and Beverage Chris Rippy, a self-proclaimed Southern boy who certainly knows his fried chicken. This version, featuring a spicy dredge that is honey glazed and served with jalapeno cornbread, rivals any other fried chicken in South Jersey. Rippy also knows his way around grits, which could be found in the superb shrimp and grits ($26) dish that are as cheesy and creamy and delicious as any you have had.
Creekstone Farms, a Kansas-based company known for their focus on genetics and high-quality feeding practices for their cattle, is the source of the gastropub’s tremendous burgers, including the Chelsea ($15) served with crispy fried shallots, Cooper sharp cheese and sweet bourbon glaze, that you should upgrade to include white cheddar truffle frittes for $4.
Speaking of burgers, a must-try is the turkey burger ($15). Yes, a turkey burger! Featuring quality turkey that’s ground fresh daily, this beauty is the best turkey burger we ever had with balsamic onions, basil, fresh mozzarella and oven-roasted tomatoes. Don’t dismiss it before you try it.
Viking Village, a fishery from Barnegat Light, is the source of the fresh tuna for the superb yellowfin tuna tacos ($16), crispy fried wonton shells filled with fresh tuna, avocado, cucumber and a sweet soy dressing, as well as the mussels and littleneck clams served steamer style ($15) with garlic, plum tomatoes and chardonnay butter.
If you like oysters, farmer Betsy Haskin has you covered with her Cape May Salts shooters ($12) made with local 48 Blocks vodka, as well as North Atlantic oysters ($16) and middleneck clams ($12), both with cocktail sauce and mignonette and all part of a raw bar that also features crab and shrimp cocktail.
Valley Shepherd Creamery from Morris County is responsible for most of the cheese on the menu, including the four-cheese blend found in the to-die-for short rib grilled cheese ($14) with tomato jam on Texas toast.
Samumeria Beiellese, home of artisan meats from Manhattan since 1925, can be thanked for the charcuterie board ($21), and basically everything on the menu has something from Zone 7, the New Jersey distributor that works with farms around the tri-state area to provide fresh produce year-round for their Chelsea House salad ($8), the Wedge ($12), and the popular cauliflower steak ($20) with portobella mushrooms, baby bell peppers, quinoa and tamari-ginger sesame.
Even Executive Pastry Chef Terry Wargo’s desserts ($8), including the C5 Chocolate Jubilation Cake ($8), with dulce de leche ice cream and the S’mores with graham cracker, milk chocolate and marshmallows, features chocolate from MADE Atlantic City Chocolate on Tennessee Avenue in Atlantic City.
“It’s awesome to help out our local vendors, but it’s even better that we can offer the freshest ingredients for our customers, from the chocolate to the beer,” Voyles says. “Everything is better if you don’t have to get it shipped across the country.”
Some familiar items for Fin fans include Haronis’ legendary lobster bisque ($9) and Cape May clam chowder ($8), the jumbo lump crab cake ($16) with Cajun remoulade, the 8-ounce, 28-day aged filet mignon ($34) with red wine demi, and the salmon ($30), this time served with a maple whiskey glaze and mushroom risotto.
Some of the new creations worth trying include the lobster cheesecake ($15), an ingenious creamy, quiche-like creation of Maine lobster, smoked gouda, onions, peppers and parmesan crust; the best loaded Russet potato skins ($12) you may ever have with aged cheddar beer cheese, pancetta and bacon jam; and lobster carbonara ($28) with bucatini, peas, pancetta and parmesan cream.
Voyles, the former beverage manager for Olon and Okatshe, is particularly proud of the cocktail menu that accentuates the laid-back ocean theme with drinks like the Summer Time Sandy ($13) with aged rum and ginger shrub, as well as the Cucumber Basil Gimlet ($12) with gin, muddled cucumber, basil and lemon. There are 10 New Jersey craft beers from Flying Fish, Spellbound, Double Nickel, Tuckahoe and others, and even some of the wine is sourced locally from wineries including Valenzano and Amalthea.
The Chelsea Five Gastropub has all of the right ingredients to not only please Tropicana guests but to attract locals to find the new Chelsea Tower. And once they do, it could — and should — become the “It” place to eat this summer.