Restaurant Review #298: On the Deck (Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

Despite working in Atlantic Highlands in one form or another for 10 years, a couple of weeks ago was my first visit to On the Deck. I went with my friend Patty who is a regular. They have both inside and outside bars and seating areas which overlook the bay and marina. I had been to their sister restaurant Off the Hook a few years ago and it was decent enough. Their menus are nearly identical.

It was a Wednesday night, but the place was absolutely packed with a 30 minute wait for a table. We snagged the last two seats at the outside bar and grabbed a drink (a Tito’s vodka martini for me, and a Stoli Razberi martini for her). It was nice to be part of a rocking crowd again. The soon-to-come sunset views would be spectacular. When we were called for a table, it ended up being inside but right at the windows with a perfect view of the harbor (and air conditioning).

We shared the lobster stuffed avocado which is one of their house specialties. Both halves of the avocado were loaded with lobster meat, and thankfully not too much mayo and celery. This could have been a meal in itself, with the presentation being kind of epic. The side of tortilla chips were a nice touch, providing some much-needed crunch.

Much like my visit to Off the Hook, the entrees were serviceable, though not spectacular. My crab cake sandwich was fine, but just lacked a pop of flavor that maybe some Old Bay Seasoning could have provided. Patty had the fried flounder sandwich which was enormous and she could not finish it. She enjoyed hers.

When you come to On the Deck, you are there more for drinks and a view than food, but the food at least was above average. That lobster avocado is the real centerpiece of the menu. The rest of the appetizers would probably qualify as pub grub, and the sandwiches/entrees are run-of-the-mill for a waterfront restaurant on the bay. I would probably return. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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