AMA Sea Bright (At the Driftwood Beach Club)

This place has been on my radar for some time now. For those of you who are or aren’t familiar AMA owes it’s roots to it’s humble beginnings at the location currently occupied by Chef Ron at Christines at the Atlantic Highlands. After a few years of success at this location Chef Pat Trama owner and Chef of AMA moved to the much larger and liquor licensed location at the Driftwood Beach Club in Sea Bright NJ. Long story short, Chef Pat is unceremoniously removed from the restaurant he started and loved (don’t ask me how this happened) and AMA remains without it’s founder and Chef.

So after all that drama NotJr had to finally give this place a try…and let’s just say it was “ok”. Arrived for our 8:30pm reservation and told we had to wait a few minutes for our table, no problem proceeded to the bar. After maybe a 15 minute wait we were seated, and greeted by our waitress. First off, I really didn’t care for the menu, I don’t know if this has changes since his departure but it was a far more limited menu than I was anticipating.

Appitziers; Salumi Plate $20 - Finochietta, Salami Toscana, Hot Sopressata, Coppa, Speck, Aged Prosciutto
Fromaggio $16 - La Tur, Robiola Bosina, Quadrello di Bufala, Moliterno al Tartufo, Gorgonzola Dolce

Long story short, Italian meats and cheese platter. Both are on the small serving size, both were very good though.

There were 3 of us and our orders were as follows; 1.) Jersey Native Scallops $31. - Spring Peas, Pea Greens, Carrot Espuma, Red Pepper Marmalata 2.) Speghetti $20 - San Marzano Tomatoes, Hot House Basil, Ricotta Salata 3.) Lancaster County 16oz Veal Chop $48 Melted Buffalo Mozzarella, Sinatra Sauce, Sautéed Broccoli Rabe.

I would have to say the Scallops were the winner of the night. Extra large, nicely seared and very fresh. The peas were a little under cooked for my liking but over all it was a good dish.

My veal chop was good, I do not know what Sinatra Sauce was since it seemed to not have any sauce on it. While the veal chop was good…at $48. it wasn’t excellent or
or a bargain by any means so it only get’s a good rating. The broccoli rabe’ was bitter, as it is naturally, I prefer my at home method of blanching them in chicken stock first, taking the bitter bite out of them. To each their own.

My daughter ordered the Speghetti and it was disappointing. Mostly because it doesn’t compare to what she get’s at home (patting myself on the back) but it was just “ok”…nothing notable about it. Also have no idea what ricotta salata was either…no site of it on the dish.

Desert was some kind of greek yogurt the ladies shared I had a double espresso. They liked he desert.

Dinner for 3 $ 167. pre-tip with no alcohol. I really don’t see it for what we got, certainly far better food to be had for that price elsewhere. Also let me say the dinning room was loud, very loud and while the service wasn’t bad, I don’t appreciate having to repeatedly ask for my water to be refilled or for bread when an appetizer is served.

I wouldn’t be back, but I do want to try Trama Trattoria now and see if they have just butchered Chef Pat’s menu or if he was more hype than substance.

**Edit to add pictures. Forgot I had these…does anyone see the Sinatra Sauce on the Veal Chop? Also I we had already finished the truffle cheese, soooooo good.

NotJr.,

We had dinner once at Ama in its original location. We went with “Sockster” and his s.o. who were (and still are at Trama’s) “friends of the house.” We had a tasting menu. The problem for me was that two of the 8 courses were calamari and mussels neither of which I eat. The substitutes I received were both salads which, frankly, made me feel short-changed. Imo, Chef Trama should have come up with something less pedestrian. Overall, the food was well-prepared and tasty, but I didn’t think it was of such high caliber that it deserved the over-the-top raves from “Sockster.”

Photos from our Ama dinner

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

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