Sunday, August 7, 2011

Moonstruck Asbury Park, New Jersey

Moonstruck: Affected by, or as if by, the moon; romantically dreamy; lost in fantasy or reverie...The definition by Merriam Webster and sited on their website describes this establishment best.

     When looking for an elegant and intimate atmosphere there is no place better than Moonstruck in Asbury Park. Located on Lake Avenue across from the Wesley Lake Moonstruck is a three story quaint Victorian house that offers American-Mediterranean cuisine. I had not been to Moonstruck in some time and I was always meaning to get back there. The perfect night landed myself and a companion there. Since it was such a beautiful night there was a wait for outdoor seating so we opted to dine inside. We were seated up on the third floor and placed at a cozy table by the window, perfect for viewing the lake and the swan boat rides. We decided to start off with a bottle of the Mark West Pinot Noir, one of my favorite Pinot Noirs might I mention, so I was extremely happy. It has a hint of blackberry and flavorful fruits with earthy undertones, warm and relaxing. While we enjoyed our wine the server announced the specials, but we already knew what we were interested in.
     We were both so hungry so we decided to start off with appetizers. The list was extensive offering things like fried oysters, white bean bruschetta, and shrimp quesadillas. Having reviewed the menu before we came I knew I wanted the Portuguese Clams. The clams came out in abundance and were sauteed in a mix of onions, garlic, zesty chorizo and chilies in a white wine tomato broth. DELISH! And more than enough to share! My friend decided on the Mussels Mariniere, a French dish filled with succulent mussels bathing in a garlic, white wine, crushed tomato sauce topped with white beans. It was so delicious and the mussels were great to scoop up the tomatoes and beans simultaneously.
     Dinner was a big question mark for me, as there are so many delectable choices I could not decide.  My toss up was between the Baked Seafood Combination and the Filet Mignon. Two completely different dishes but both excellent in their own right. Once the server came back we decided...We'll get both and share, and thank goodness we did because they were both excellent! My Baked Seafood Combination included shrimp, scallops and cod lightly encrusted in a walnut bread crumb crust resting atop a white wine dill sauce and served with rice pilaf. The seafood was broiled to perfection and the topping added the ever so perfect crunch and flavor that you almost didn't even need the sauce.. But the sauce was AMAZING..Similar to that of a Bernaise. The Filet Mignon came out topped with a Maitre d'butter and served over a mound of garlic mashed potatoes and vegetable. The beef  was cooked to a searing medium rare and the butter added the perfect accent to it. The potatoes were enjoyable and the mixed vegetables were lightly sauteed in garlic and olive oil cooked to a tender al dente.
     Having enjoyed an excellent dinner we decided to take a look at the dessert menu. As soon as I saw the black and white creme brulee I was intrigued. We were confused with the black and white part and the server informed us that there lies a layer of chocolate on the bottom. YUM! Since we both are fans of creme brulee, and rather full at this time, we decided to share. The dessert came out, rather large, and caramelized to perfection! Once you dive in with the spoon the sugary crust crackles and gives way to the velvety custard below. But that's not all, then your surprised by the smooth layer of delicate chocolate waiting at the bottom. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
     Moonstruck is a magical dining experience. Whether you stop in and enjoy a quick bite at one of their bars, dine outside overlooking the lake or sit at a romantic table indoors you are not to be disappointed. Each dish has a personality all its own and the ambiance makes you feel as though your on a vacation somewhere enjoyable far away. With elegant atmosphere, reasonable prices and friendly service you can see why Moonstruck has been around for as long as it has. I will definitely be back soon and this time I plan on riding the swan boats!

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