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Guest Reviewer: SEASALT Cape May NJ (BYOB)

Friday, August 22, 2014

I met a really lovely couple at a summer soiree my lifestyle expert friend Kathy Kaufman threw recently. Russell and Kay Davis really understand the joys of dining out, on top of which they are true wine connoisseurs, with a habit of bringing several wines when dining out at BYOB's, so as to match the grapes to the menu choices.  This is who I want to be when I grow up!  So I asked Russell and Kay if they would agree to guest blog.  I really hope they agree to do it again! - Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

Shore Flavor : SeaSalt at the Ocean Harbor Hotel

By: Russell and Kay Davis 

Our visit to SeaSalt in Cape May (1035 Beach Ave Cape May NJ) was a surprise – this was not the same owners of the Sea Salt in Stone Harbor of a few years ago. As Sea Salt is not exactly a unique name, we should have realized it was an entirely different set of owners with a different style but we walked in with a set of expectations that were immediately challenged.

Situated at ground level front of the Ocean Harbor Hotel, this iteration of Seasalt is sleek, glossy, chic and focuses on seafood with ‘fresh indigenous ingredients’. Although they stock a nice selection of New Jersey wines, our group usually seeks out BYOB restaurants and had brought a few choice bottles from home- a bottle each of J Vineyards Cuvee 20 Sparkling Wine (Sonoma), Chalk Hill Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2011 (Sonoma) and Pride Mountain Vineyards Merlot Napa/Sonoma 2010.

SeaSalt permits wine brought in for a corkage fee of $20 per bottle ($30 for Champagne/Sparkling Wine).


 With so many intriguing items on the menu we quickly agreed to order different items each and to permit liberal sharing. Appetizer highlights were the raw oysters- briny and fresh and just perfect with the dry J Vineyards sparkling wine, as well as the Lobster Ravioli with brown butter, grilled asparagus and grape tomatoes- a bit too rich for the well balanced Pinot Noir from Chalk Hill but paired nicely with the more tannic and full bodied Merlot from Pride Mountain.

The Smoked Trout with pickled beets and salmon roe was delicious as well and nice with the pinot noir, but was excellent paired with the sparkling wine.

The Coriander crusted Tuna with shaved asparagus and sweet chili sauce went better with the sparkling wine as well – the Pinot proved to be tasty but was difficult to pair with for this menu. The Short Ribs were rich and fall-off-the-bone tender and were perfect paired with the Merlot it had a full body and just the right amount of tannins to cut through the fat you are bound to taste with slow cooked ribs.

Everyone at our table agreed that the Red Snapper Ceviche with salmon roe and chili-dusted chips while handsomely presented in a martini glass was disappointing. There was much more liquid than we would have liked in that glass, and it was much spicier than any of us expected – the flavor of the fish itself was overwhelmed.


The Beer Braised Lamb was okay but not great- except----those carrots. Everyone at the table enjoyed a piece of what looked to be WAY over-charred carrots, and all agreed that while we were not crazy about carrots in general- you know, they’re CARROTS- these were Holy Cow delicious. Really. And best of all- the carrots were even more awesome with a little of that Pride Mountain Merlot to wash them down with.

We would recommend SeaSalt- but these are big flavors, not a lot of subtlety on this menu, so we recommend BIG flavors in your wine choices - dry (Brut) champagnes or sparkling wines, big bold tannic reds for the ribs, steak and veal dishes on the menu (Cabernet , Merlot or a cool weather Syrah) and bone-dry Sauvignon Blanc (French or New Zealand) for the seafood dishes. (We should have left the Pinot at home this time!) - Russell Davis

SeaSalt Restaurant on Urbanspoon

While You're Here 

The Davis' love of fine things and good taste doesn't end there - Kay is a fashion designer with her own line - K. Riley Designs . Creating hand painted and hand crafted clothing and accessories.

Kay's work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum of Art Craft Show, The Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show (Nov 6 -9, 2014) and The American Craft Council Show, not to mention, being featured in Ornament Magazine. Here's just two examples of her exquisite talent from her Botanical Collection:

Comments are welcome on our facebook page for the post. Where have you gotten really good Ceviche?

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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