208 E. 55th St., Ocean City // MikesSeafood.com/OceanCity // 4222 Park Rd., Sea Isle City
Ocean City thrives as a picture-perfect family resort with its pristine beaches and boardwalk, streets lined with casual shops and beautiful vacation homes. If you know where to look, you can find a few fun, quirky spots to grab some seafood during these months where the days remain long and the sidewalks are dusted with sand transported by the throngs of tourists who make their way here each year between May and September.
One such spot is Mike’s Seafood. With a menu that boasts “over a 100 year family tradition at the Jersey Shore,” Mike’s is a simple stand offering walk-up service through a tiny window, not unlike a custard stand (coincidentally they also own a walk-up custard stand next door).
The process is simple at Mike’s — order your food at the window, grab a seat at one of their picnic tables and wait for your feast to arrive. The menu covers all the seafood classics you might expect, along with a few you might not.
Fresh fried Cape May clam strips ($10.99):
Large and quite tasty, these were the latest in a string of great clam strips I have been surprised by since I began this column. I honestly expected to run into more frozen versions of this dish than I have. Kudos to Mike’s and every other spot that opts for a better product instead.
Fried flounder sandwich ($7.99):
A simple fried fish sandwich can be a thing of beauty, and the fried flounder sandwich at Mike’s did not disappoint. Served on a squishy hamburger-style bun, topped with lettuce, tomato and a side of tartar sauce, this sandwich was simple yet perfect.
French fries and cole slaw ($2.50 add-on for any sandwich):
Honorable mention has to go to the fries and cole slaw, both of which were very good and made perfect accompaniments to the seafood. The fries were crispy without being overdone and were heavenly when dipped in a bit of tartar sauce. The cole slaw had just the right blend of vinegar and mayo to get a big thumbs-up from me.
Throw it Back:
Lobster mac & cheese balls ($13.99):
Lobster mac and cheese is a tricky dish to get right. All too often the delicate flavor of the lobster meat is lost among the heaviness of the cheese, and this particular version was rolled into balls, breaded heavily and deep fried. Ultimately, it had little flavor overall and made for a disappointing and rather overpriced app.
Lobster BLT ($15.99):
While I hoped this would be the dish to redeem the lobster reputation at Mike’s, sadly it was not to be. The meat was stringy and cold and came on a Kaiser bun with lettuce and tomato. The big issue here was that they decided to top it with no condiment (drawn butter or even plain ol’ mayo would have worked). Even the bacon was on the soggy side. A dull, forgettable sandwich.