Where I Was
Outside The Box Patio Bar, Point Pleasant, NJ
Monday, August 27, 2:09 p.m.
Where I Sat
For a Monday so close to the end of summer, it was nice to see the place still hopping, even at this late lunch hour. The tables outside were mostly full and the bar had a good crowd. I took a seat straight ahead, allowing myself to take in the rest of the bar and wonderful view.
Who Served Me
Jamie, who’s been working the space a long time now. While listening in to her conversation with other patrons I learned she owns a badass 1976 refurbished VW Bus (pictured here—thanks, Jamie!), which she uses for her wedding event business, Sea Blossoms. And if that’s not enough, Jamie also spends time teaching art therapy at Dottie’s House, which provides safe housing for women and children to become self sufficient and free from domestic violence.
Bartender’s Favorite Bite
Just after I ordered my first taste, the honey shrimp, I asked Jamie what her favorite item was. “I actually L-O-V-E the crispy honey shrimp; it really is one of my favorites,” she said. “It’s new on the menu this year and there’s something about the honey that just makes it so good.”
The Vibe and My Vantage Point
This is an easy, breezy, outdoor raw bar with the quintessential shorts-a-T-shirt-and-flip-flops kind of groove. It’s everything a summer, outdoor, waterside bar should be: paper napkins, plastic cups, and a great view of the fishing boats coming in and heading out. I sat at the bar straight on, facing the restaurant proper with the bay to my right.
What Quenched My Thirst
Sunset Aperol Spritz, $10
Brockmans gin, Aperol, grapefruit juice, La Marca prosecco, and club soda
This was a tough call as the cocktail menu was pretty stellar and it was a picturesque day. It seemed the day had been made for sitting outside and savoring a leisurely afternoon then staying for the slow transition to sunset and nightfall. The setting was ideal for capturing the magic of the sun painting its way to sleep as it dipped below the horizon, into the bay. I’m happy to report that I chose well in the cocktail department. The unique taste of the Aperol was refreshing and truly complementary to the botanic essence in the gin. The tartness of the grapefruit added another great tone, but I think the La Marca got lost in the mix. Still, this is a cocktail I’d order out again and again.
What Fed My Soul
Oysters in Mignonette, $11
Half dozen freshly shucked Blue Point oysters on the half shell with a prosecco cucumber and red onion mignonette
Gorgeously shimmery sitting in their own ocean water, this plate of oysters included a lovely variety of sizes. So whether you like ’em large or petite, the selection offered something for everyone. The mignonette was perhaps oversold: I didn’t taste a trace of cucumber or any hint of effervescence from the bubbly, but it’s entirely possible that the onion overpowered any trace of the more mellow cuke.
Flash fried with a sticky honey-lime and garlic glaze
Served with soy, wasabi cream, and seaweed salad
Delightfully fresh tuna seared to perfection and dusted with black and white sesame seeds. I never tire of this simple and totally fulfilling dish. It delivers. Every. Time. The wasabi cream was worth a pause—it was so well blended—my guess is sour cream as it was a little too viscous to be Greek yogurt but I could be wrong. The seaweed salad was also a delicious and light, if not typical, accompaniment to the generous portion of tuna. It was just the right way to close out the meal.
Beyond the Bar
The Shrimp Box & Outside the Box Patio Bar has been a staple in Point Pleasant since I was a kid. Located right on a fishing marina, it’s a fantastic spot for watching the boats. I can remember coming down with my parents and enjoying the salad bar in all of its all-you-can-eat glory! The restaurant suffered serious damage during Sandy, so was renovated in 2012-2013. There’s even dock space available for customers arriving via boat. (Note: No overnight docking is permitted.)
All Inclusive Sunset Specials
Weekdays, Noon to 6:00 p.m.
Saturdays, Noon to 5:00 p.m.
When to Show
Seven days a week, starting at noon
Know Before You Go!
Outside the Box stays open through September but check the restaurant’s website for specifics. Hours, prices, and menus are subject to change.
Outside the Box Patio Bar
The Shrimp Box
75 Inlet Drive
Point Pleasant, NJ
This article was not paid for, nor influenced by, the restaurant/bar featured in this column.