Featured Recipe from Chris Brandl of Brandl. in Belmar

Brandls Crispy Blackfish

Chris Brandl of Brandl's in Belmar New JerseyToday, I am thrilled to share with you a delicious dish from Jersey Shore chef, Chris Brandl.   Brandl, Chef and Owner of Brandl in Belmar is offering up a beautiful Crispy Black Fish recipe with Watermelon, spring pea and feta salad, served over roasted garlic potato puree.

Brandl, who virtually grew up in a restaurant, started out as a dishwasher in his early youth at the Farmingdale House, when Chef Toni Froio ruled the roost.  It was there at the bright young age of 12 where he envisioned what his goals were:  to own a fine dining establishment where he could provide professional service and extraordinary fare.  Chef Brandl has succeeded in doing both.

“I knew from the age of 12 what my long-term goal was. It was then when I first felt the ‘rush’ of being in a restaurant.”  After his initial start as a dishwasher, Brandl graduated to busboy by the age of 14, eventually moving on to salad making.

Upon leaving the Farmingdale House, Brandl worked in several pizzerias along with the former Old Mill Inn, bussing and working banquets. Although gaining valuable knowledge during his formative restaurant years, Brandl went on to the prestigious Johnson and Wales University, graduating in 1991.

Over the course of the next ten years, Brandl was a mainstay at Redington’s Fine Seafood restaurant in Point Pleasant, helping to procure, in his opinion, it’s position as the “number one destination in Point Pleasant for seafood.”  At Redington’s, Brandl did everything from working the line as a cook, filleting fish, shucking clams, oysters, and sautéing. During this time, he established many a relationship with the fisherman with whom the restaurant acquired their bounty.

Eventually, Brandl came to a “fork in the road,” choosing to leave the restaurant life to set sail on seafaring adventures.  For seven months, Brandl worked on a two-man commercial deep sea fishing boat, as mate to the captain.  There, he learned to “man-up,” leaving from Glimmer Glass to the canyons, 100 miles from the Jersey shoreline. Later on they set sail from Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, in search of larger fish.

In 2001, Brandl was enticed to return to his first passion, when an offer came to help upstart a new restaurant in Manasquan.  Brandl did so, helping to design the layout of both the kitchen and dining areas, hire staff and create the menu. The Mahogany Grille came to life in June 2001.

In 2002,  Brandl was ready to live his own dream.  Upon hearing of availability of a Belmar location, he decided to take a leap of faith by purchasing the then successful Bella Luna Italian restaurant and opening Brandl.  Brandl literally turned the sign over, revising its name in bold and beautiful letters to his namesake, Brandl.,with a period at the end of the title.  When asked what it stands for, Brandl explains, “The period represents people who spell the name wrong, trying to add an additional vowel.”

Brandl takes pride in his offerings, experimenting with the menu, developing recipes, working with local farmers and purveyors to insure both unique and delectable ingredients.  Bringing all of his knowledge and experience together to provide his guests with the ultimate dining experience from the moment they walk through the door until the moment they leave, Brandl offers “Innovative American Cuisine.”

Crispy Black Fish with watermelon, spring pea, & feta salad, basil butter over Roasted Garlic Potato Puree

Recipe: Serves 8


(2) 3 lbs. whole blackfish (scaled & gutted)

4 oz blended oil

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

orange dust

Roasted Garlic Potato Puree

5 Idaho Potato (peeled & quartered)

pint cream

4 ounces butter

6 cloves of roasted garlic

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

Watermelon, spring pea, & feta salad

6 oz watermelon (½ inch dice)

6 oz spring peas (blanched & set aside)

6 oz feta cheese (½ in dice)

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

Basil Butter

1 lb.  unsalted butter

2 cloves fresh garlic

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches of picked fresh basil

1 shallot (peeled)

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

* (Basil butter made be made ahead of time & keep refrigerated for up to a week)

To Prepare: First cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, drain water right away, put through ricer. Reduce cream &  melt butter, add garlic, salt & pepper. Puree mixture, add mixture to cooked potatoes, season, set aside. Filet fish and portion into 8 equal pieces.Heat two large sautee pans with oil, dust both sides of fish with salt, pepper, orange dust, skin side down for 2-3 minutes, flip over for 2-3 minutes and remove from pans. Toss the watermelon, spring peas, feta in sautee pan, season and add 6 ounces basil butter.

To Plate: Scoop 3 ounces of potato in the center of each bowl, place Black Fish filet on top of potatoes, equal portions of watermelon salad on top and falling down the sides of the fish spoon basil butter around each bowl.

703 Belmar Plaza 9th & Main
Belmar, NJ