Week 4: Oyster Creek Inn
41 Oyster Creek Road, Leeds Point
Standing at the end of a long, two-lane road that cuts through one of the spookiest edges of the Pine Barrens, Oyster Creek Inn is pretty much exactly what you picture when somebody mentions the words “seafood shack.”
Accessible by both land and sea the building has a palpable, aged wisdom to it. It sits almost defiantly at water’s edge, as if daring the next well-hyped hurricane to try and knock it down. Meanwhile, its neighbors consist of a small row of barely standing fishing huts that look like they may be swept out to sea at any moment.
The smell of the salty marsh air adds to the vibe as do the seating options, which include a screened-in crab room, some outdoor picnic tables and, inside, a boat-shaped bar that serves as a perfect place to grab a beer and some treats from the sea.
Clams Casino ($6): A simple yet effective appetizer, the clams casino made use of a superb blend of red and green peppers with red onion and mozzarella cheese. Despite the boldly flavored ingredients they were up against, the clams themselves still held their own and didn’t get lost in the mix.
Jersey Devil shrimp ($10): Basically a version of buffalo shrimp with cole slaw subbing in for blue cheese. No matter what they call it, it is delicious, as the shrimp are massive and perfectly breaded, the sauce is spicy without killing you and the cole slaw provides the perfect crunch and cool down.
East Coast oyster stew ($4): A thin, yet buttery orange broth containing some nicely sized oysters, this soup stands out among the usual offerings you might expect to find at a spot like this. A touch of cream along with celery, onions and Old Bay seasoning rounded things out nicely.
Fried flounder sandwich ($12): Simple, yet well executed, Oyster Creek’s flounder sandwich was flaky and delicious, served on a soft bun with tartar sauce and some tasty French fries.
New Jersey crab bisque ($6): Thick and creamy in an almost New England clam chowder-type way, the crab bisque had plenty of chunks of crab meat in it and was hearty and satisfying. I might not come rushing back for it specifically, but wouldn’t turn down another spoonful if someone offered it to me.
Throw it back:
Fried jumbo shrimp ($18): While the shrimp were fine, the breading was overly heavy and definitely not to my liking.
Jersey Devil Shrimp
East Coast oyster stew