When I unexpectedly ran into one of my favorite chefs—and people, for that matter—Chef Michael d’Ennery, and learned that he had just taken a position as executive chef at Remington’s in Manasquan, I was beyond excited. First, Remington’s is about a five-minute drive from my house and second, Michael has been one of my favorite chefs since I first came across his globally inspired, locally sourced, often bacon-infused fare at Trinity in Keyport (now closed). I distinctly remember him scolding me for removing the skin from the salmon he had cooked so beautifully. I obediently returned it to its proper place and devoured the perfectly cooked fish with the crispy coating. (That was about seven years ago and I remain a salmon skin lover to this day.) I also remember his soft-shell crabs, which he would patiently hand pick from the fish monger and saute to the point of melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
Remington’s offers an elegant yet casual ambiance. The service is very good, even though many of the busboys are sporting the bedhead look. (Hey, it’s the beach; long-haired surfer boys is what we grow here.)
We started our evening at the bar where bartenders Jessica and Kristen were cheerfully tending to a group of both regulars and new faces, ours belonging to the latter group. We arrived at 5:30 with a half hour left to happy hour, which was a nice surprise on a Saturday night. I started with a honey peach cosmopolitan and Peter went with Riverhorse Belgian Freeze.
The couple next to us was enjoying their dinner at the bar. They had just recently started coming to Remington’s and told us they were extremely pleased with the food—always nice to hear before you sit down for a meal.
Chef d’Ennery is known for his love of pork. You will almost always find pork belly on his menus in some form or fashion, and on our trip to Remington’s, he did not disappoint.
If you are lucky enough to find Michael’s escargot special on the menu, do not pass it up. This decadent, butter-laden dish, which included 10 snails, mushrooms, lardons, garlic, herbs, white wine and fermented garlic on ciabatta bread is one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. I’m not a big bread eater, but the sauce was too good to waste. We raided the bread basket to sop up every last drop.
That could have been our whole meal, but since we were on a Jersey Bites mission, we soldiered on. Next up were the braised short ribs and potato-crusted sea bass. The short ribs were tender and smoky and gone in what seemed like minutes. After all the pork, beef and buttery snails, the lighter sea bass was a welcome change of pace.
As we finished our dinner, we struck up a conversation with our cheerful dining room companions. As you can see in the picture below, we wrangled three different parties into our Jersey Bites shenanigans.
Our new friends raved about the pork chop (there’s that pork again!) with apple and bacon braised cabbage, cheddar – garlic grits and applesauce made from bourbon, apples and of course, bacon. We were also told the shrimp spring rolls were a must try. We’re putting those items on our list for the next visit. And mark my words: there will be a next visit!
142 Main Street