The Jersey Shore has long been famous for its fresh seafood as much as for the ocean that provides it. The picturesque town of Spring Lake is a crown jewel at the Jersey Shore, smack in the center of pristine beaches, and also known for its quaint restaurants and shops that line Main Street. Now this idyllic shore town has recently added a new and exciting establishment to the mix in “Spring Lake Seafood”.
When you speak to Chef/Owner Bradley Rodriguez his energy is catchy and exciting. Chef Rodriguez has almost 25 years of experience in the food industry, working with respected chefs all over the world, and bringing that level of expertise and quality to the Jersey Shore that we are always hungry for.
Since he and his wife Lula bought what is now Spring Lake Seafood last Memorial Day, they went through a major renovation inside and out. Repurposing materials and bringing to life such architectural treasures like original terrazzo flooring and decorative tin ceilings, as well as repurposing wood beams into partitions, which left little to waste and reintroduced architectural treasures often found hidden in older buildings that line the Jersey Shore.
The walls of the restaurant hold up nautical artwork, including a mural drawn by well know Maine artist Ty Williams, and dinnerware and coffee mugs beautifully crafted by local outfit Point Pleasant Pottery.
On these unique dishes are some beautiful plates of food. Chef Rodriguez loves quality, he only uses Grade 1 ahi tuna, preferring yellowtail, and sources local seafood as often as he can. The restaurant even has a seafood case offering local and fresh catches, oysters, and other shellfish for sale to the public.
Excitingly, Chef Rodriguez also works with Long Branch famed restaurant Butcher Block to bring their high quality meats to his menu for delicious steak dinners that he serves with flavorful sides and sauces.
From pasture-raised eggs in Pennsylvania, organic chickens from West Virginia, to local farm-fresh produce from Harvest Drop, and fresh mushrooms sourced from a mushroom farm in Long Branch to daily house-made pastas and gnocchi, there is no detail on this menu not thoughtfully cared for by this fresh-driven chef.
Chef Rodriguez’s dishes are inspired by his heritage, which is both Cuban and Spanish, and with that he brings to his menu his love of flavors around the world as well to create an array of dishes such as Ahi Tuna Pizza with several delectable sauces on a crispy sushi rice cake that makes eating it both pleasurable and easy, to Rigatoni Fra Diablo with freshly made pasta and sauce.
Chef Rodriguez also loves to take fish like Porgies that are often underwhelming, and butterfly, season and sear them to create a flavorful and surprising dish. Bringing everything from super decadent Uni pasta, made with uni butter and 30 grams of sustainable farm caviar, to local seared scallops, and mussels topped with fries, the diverse menu seeks to draw you in as much as the atmosphere does from your first step.
There is a true vibe here of a great restaurant in the making and the message is clear; local, sustainable, community, delicious, all wrapped up in a great time. It all comes together at Spring Lake Seafood.