Where I Was
Four Winds Restaurant, Manasquan, NJ
Monday, October 22, 12:43 p.m.
Where I Sat
It seemed pretty quiet for a Monday, and I had almost any choice of bar seat. So, with my mom as my wingwoman, I took up in the corner. We sat so we could face each other and—of course—share!
Who Served Me
Adrian, “Like Rocky—Yo, Adrian,” she said. An adorable young woman working hard and clearly loving her job.
Bartender’s Favorite Bite
When I asked, she mentioned the Pilgrim wrap, saying, “If I’m ever super bummed out I order that and it’s so delicious and yummy it just makes me feel better.” I ask if it’s like Thanksgiving in a wrap and she exuberantly confirms that that’s a great description. As I scour the menu to provide the details of this famous wrap, it cannot be found. So I called Four Winds to inquire how to obtain such a sandwich. Here’s what I found: You can ask for it, even if it’s not on the special menu, on Sundays and Mondays. (That’s when they tend to have all the ingredients.)
Another fave of Adrian’s? The shrimp cocktail—large shrimp cooked and seasoned just right with homemade cocktail sauce—she’s a huge fan. So I ordered them for my dad, to go, and they were indeed a big hit!
The Vibe and My Vantage Point
Three words come to mind. Dark. Wood. Pub. It’s a nondescript bar with stools and a strange sort of pinkish/red lighting shines down on patrons seated at tables on both sides of the dining room that flank the entrance. The bar is nicely lit, complete with TV screens for those who care to watch. Ample bar seating provides regulars a place to land even on Prime Rib Tuesdays, which pack the tables lunch through dinner.
What Quenched My Thirst
Cucumber Cocktail, $10
Prairie Cucumber Vodka, St. Germain, fresh lemon, simple syrup, and a splash of lemon-lime
You may already know how I feel about cucumbers and St. Germain. This wasn’t a difficult choice. The specialty cocktail menu is thin at this beer-and-wine spot but I was thrilled that of the four cocktails featured, this one struck the perfect chord. Not mentioned were the delightful bits of muddled cucumber and seeds that floated throughout the martini glass and a nice touch of cucumber round that hung on my glass.
What Fed My Soul
Split Pea Soup, $4 (mine was included with the lunch special), bowls $6.95
Served with homemade garlic croutons
I love pea soup and my mom makes a killer homemade version. So ordering and having to review this homemade pea soup in her presence was not going to be easy! I was already planning to play it down with her, even if I intended to write its praises, but I couldn’t contain myself. The soup arrived, almost spilling over with croutons floating precariously atop the gorgeous green potage. I dove right in and to the bottom of the cup to ensure my spoonful had bits of ham—which were generous—and, in fact, I enjoyed them with every single bite. It was fabulous. Rich and a little chunky, revealing a hand blending of the peas and the bits of ham that were not quite deli thin and not quite a ham-steak thick but rather mini squares laden throughout the cup. Now let me get to those amazing little crispy garlic croutons which somehow held the right amount of crunch with every bite. The ideal proportion of ham, crouton, and split pea. I am a HUGE fan!
Sesame Chicken Salad, $14.95
Sesame-seed encrusted chicken served over crispy greens and topped with Oriental noodles, walnuts, tomatoes, dried cranberries, and mandarin oranges, then tossed in a sesame-orange-ginger dressing
I think I’ve reviewed a similar salad as I’m a big fan of the Asian-inspired sesame dressing, which comes with every variation of this frequently featured salad. This one was a pure delight. I loved the way the chicken was super tender and encrusted with black and white sesame seeds. They added an enjoyable textural crunch to the smoky flavor of the grill’s char atop an abundance of lettuce and crunchy walnuts, sweet sesame dressing, and mandarin oranges were like a carnival for the taste buds. I love contrast in my food and this offered so many delicious opposing flavors and feels. A delicious and hearty salad indeed.
Mahi-Mahi Piccata, $14.95 (on the daily specials menu)
Mahi-mahi served in a lemon butter caper sauce, served with a soup or salad and choice of vegetable or potato
My mom shot me a side-eye as I ordered fish from this meat-first restaurant (known for its prime rib and awesome burgers). It just seemed really good and I wanted something on the lighter side. So despite her judgement I went for it. The dish arrived and I was delighted with the generous portions of fish and the amazing amount of glistening caper lemon sauce. It looked incredible and tasted even more so. The sweetness and tenderness of the fish was astounding. The first bite exploded with lemony tartness, while the butter and capers really rounded it out. The side of fries was epic: super hot but not scalding, and long, crispy, and creamy on the inside. What a great meal and great choice. The next time I’m back it will be hard to go with the burger I know and love if this is offered as a daily special. It was just that good!
Beyond the Bar
Located a street behind Route 35 South near the Manasquan/Sea Girt circle, just off Meetinghouse Road. Happy Hour specials boast half-price appetizers and inexpensive wine and beer. Tuesdays are Prime Rib day and the place is packed from lunch through dinner. So if you want to take advantage of that special deal, reservations are recommended.
When to Show
Open: Daily, 11:30 a.m. to midnight
Happy Hour: Monday through Friday 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Know Before You Go!
Four Winds is open year-round. Please check the website for more information. Hours, prices, and menus are subject to change.