Friday, May 15, 2009


My last article began a whirlwind of excitement over all you can eat lobster (I guess, I really should say all you "care" to eat lobster). Not so long ago I could have pointed you to a reasonably priced restaurant for unlimited whole (well, half) lobsters but everyone asked, "How can they do it?" and for under $25 per person they could not. That buffet is still around but the lobster is now limited to the usual Asian buffet tray of lobster pieces in ginger. Yet, one of my readers travels almost 600 miles from Virginia to still go there just for the lobster. That is passion! I certainly hope he has other reasons to make the trip.

Back when the Showboat Casino first opened in Atlantic City, New Jersey they offered unlimited whole lobsters on their buffet. This is many years ago - and this was discontinued after about three years. They couldn't afford to do it any longer as well.

While it seems that snow crab may be had in quantity at a reasonable cost to restaurants, lobsters are at a premium. This is why those buffet restaurants that do offer unlimited whole lobster are pricing the buffet at the $5o and over point. Yet, it you crave lobster and want more than the usual twin small lobsters for $30 then $50 does not seem that high. An average size lobster does not offer that much eating - there is meat in the tail, meat in the claws, and then you have to fight the carcass to pick and suck minuscule pieces of meat from the rest of the body. Some love the tamale which is the green slime inside the body - which is actually the lobster's liver. And some like the red roe (eggs) found inside some female lobsters. Many just like dipping anything in melted butter and eating it.

"All right, all ready! Enough with the chit chat - you were going to tell us more places to to for all you can eat lobster!"

Yes, I am. I promised a second location in New Jersey that has a Lobster Buffet. The restaurant that I wrote about in the last article was located in northern New Jersey. This restaurant is located in southern New Jersey in a region known as the Jersey Shore. The restaurant is The Quay Restaurant and Marina and it is located at 280 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright, New Jersey (732 741-7755). Again, I have to say that I have not been to this restaurant and report it to you on the recommendation of one of our readers. If you look up this restaurant do not confuse it with another restaurant in New Jersey in Hoboken (where Frank Sinatra came from) called the Quays with an S.

The Quay Restaurant and Marina - get that last part - marina. It tells you right away that this restaurant is on the water - and you could go there by boat if you are so inclined. This restaurant has a private beach and also will rent you a yacht. Aside from menu and buffet dining (on the specified nights) they do catering and private parties. The restauant has views of the water - though it is not the Atlantic Ocean but the shore of the Shrewsbury River that the restaurant is located on. Never the less, it is not your usual buffet.

The lobster buffet is served at The Quay on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:00 to 9:00 and Sundays from 4;00 to 9:00. The price of the buffet is $46.95 for each adult and children 10 and under are 24.95. The serving is catering style with drapped serving tables filled with hot and cold chafing dishes.

The buffet includes whole steamed lobsters, cold shrimp, fried shrimp, fried calamari, tossed green salad, seafood salad, pasta salad, chaffing dishes with entree selections and side dishes, a carving station, a pasta station with two pastas with sauces, and a selection of homemade desserts. I am told it is all fabulous. And of couse, as I said in part one, if it is lobster that you want then this is what you are there for and the rest does not matter that much - though there is a nice assortment of other than lobster here.

There is a focus on entertainment here, along with the lobster, and there is music accompanying some dinners here, apparently on Saturday nights and holidays. There is a schedule on thier website of who and when.

When I wrote about The Manor Restaurant last week I wrote about the elegance that came across in both the descriptions of diners and what could be seen on the website. I do not get that same ambiance here at The Quays. It appears less formal. There is no mention of a dress code. They do take reservations but there is no indication that reservations are a necessity - as they are at The Manor. This may be a more comfortable restauant for the average buffet goer. At this restaurant, and at The Manor, alcholic beverages and wine are available. One thing that you can be certain of at both restauants is that due to their location the seafood is fresh.

While The Manor restaurant did not detail the offerings on the buffet other than the lobster, I suspect from the photographs of that buffet that there is more offered at The Manor than at The Quay. The price is lower at the Quay by nine dollars, but at this level of commitment in laying out the money for a meal you may want to go for the oppulence in presentation and the additional (we suspect) offerings. Do not get the impression that I am recommending one over the other - I have a received a very high recommendation to go to the Quay - as I did to try the Manor.

So which am I going to? If I were inclined to go to a lobster buffet I would want to try them both. My regular readers know that I am married to a non-seafood eating wife. She will eat shrimp. She will not eat lobster. This poses a conflict in my sense of value and my budget to spend $50 + each (don't forget the additional tax and tip making dinner for two easily over $120.00) when I will be the only one eating the lobster which is why the buffet is costing twice what other very good and just as fancy seafood buffets cost (Capt. George's Seafood Buffet - several locations in Virginia). Don't get me wrong - if she ate lobster we would go - once, for the experience. I have had all you care to eat whole lobster - way back at the Showboat and at that local Asain buffet. I like lobster. Do I like it so much that I would pay whatever it takes to get it? I am not anywhere near the income level to know. Do I only eat cheap? No, I think those who read this all the way back to the start of the site know that I have reported on a good share of restaurants that cost more than the usual. But I do always look at value. Is there value at the lobster buffets - for those who would order lobster off a menu at similar prices the answer is absolutely yes. For those who could take the lobster or leave it - or don't care for lobster - then the answer is no.

You can find a link to The Quay Restaurant and Marina at the side of this page.

So there you have it. If you crave lobster and are willing to travel whatever miles it will take to get you to either end of the State of New Jersey, you now have TWO treats awaiting you!

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