Pride of the Sea [Matawan, NJ]

(Evelyn C. Leeper) #1

This is the new seafood restaurant that has taken over the location occupied by Peter’s Fishery for decades. Those expecting a similar restaurant will be disappointed.

Peter’s Fishery was a fishery. Oh, they had added some fancier dishes (I was partial to the Greek Cod myself, and Mark liked the seafood pasta dish), but it was a place where one could get fried fish (and seafood) sandwiches and platters, or a fried fish combo, or a broiled fish platter. In addition the their dinner menu, they had a lunch menu with smaller portions and smaller prices.

Pride of the Sea has no lunch menu. They do have fried fish sandwiches, but they are Po’ Boy sandwiches. These are on a brioche instead of plain white bread, but they are also $14 instead of $8 to $11. Mark got their Po’ Boy oyster sandwich and said that it was good, but small. And therein lies my main complaint.

The bowl of Crab Corn Poblano Chowder was reasonably tasty, but very thin. My expectation for a chowder is that it is a thick soup; this was thinner than even a cream soup, let alone a chowder. (Ishmael and Queequeg would have been quite disappointed.) It also had very little in the way of solids: some shreds of crab (a tablespoon or so), a couple of tablespoons of corn, and that was about it. Still, $5 did not seem outof line with what one is usually charged for soup.

The “Baked Jumbo Lump Crab Cake” is their signature dish. It is not clear to me what the “Jumbo” refers to. I got the single crab cake hot appetizer for $14. The crab cake itself was about three inches across and was topped with half a dozen lumps of crab meat obviously small enough to fit on it. (They also have crab cake sliders; I have no idea what size they are, but I would guess maybe silver-sollar size.) Yes, it was good, and yes, the chipotle remoulade tasty, but $14 for this just seemed outrageous. Maybe that’s what crab cakes cost these days, but it wasn’t what I was looking for.

Maybe my ultimate dissatisfaction is that I really liked having a "family-priced" fishery a mile from home. Now what is there is yet another upscale, yuppie seafood restaurant. For the occasional diner, that is probably fine; But Pride of the Sea is not in the price range for someone who eats out almost every day.

(Does anyone know of an eat-in fishery in the Matawan area? Keyport is take-out only, and Burlew’s and Dino’s on Route 35 closed years ago.)

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(Greg Caggiano) #2

I’ve been waiting for someone to write this place up. The Matawan Facebook pages have been exploding with reviews and pictures (mostly positive) over the last few weeks. The owner is very active online and very accessible to recommendations. They are still finalizing their menu.

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(Junior) #3

Dam shame Peter’s is gone, I have no idea how long they were there but certainly as long as I can remember.

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(Evelyn C. Leeper) #4

They were there (or in their previous location, across the intersection where Esposito’s is now) since at least the late 1970s.

In their previous location, it was all disposable plates and utensils, and the soda was cans from a refrigerated case. When they moved, they changed to china plates and metal utensils, and a soda machine instead of cans. The result of the latter was that instead of a wide choice, you had only a few sodas to choose from.

At some point, the original Peter sold it to another Peter and went back to Greece. A couple of years later, he returned and opened Pete’s Fishery in the Browntown Shopping Center, but it never caught on.

The “new” Peter’s was not quite the old one, but still close enough that this latest change truly seems like the end of an era.

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#5

I have been trying to get here for a long time. They have some interesting looking seafood dishes. That sea bass with mango salsa sounds good

http://www.salsalatinanj.com/dinner-menu.html

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(Evelyn C. Leeper) #6

Salsa Latina is a different restaurant entirely

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#7

Yes I’m well aware. I don’t think there is anything else near Matawan that will be like the spots you mentioned, but for seafood, this place looks interesting to me. Just an idea :slight_smile:

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#8

Thanks for taking one for the team on this. We went to Peter’s a couple of times over the past few years but the last time about a year ago was AWFUL. Inedible meals, terrible service.

I thought Burlew’s was still open in Keyport? Did they recently closed? We went once when we moved into the area and I can’t remember why we never went back.

As @gcaggiano has said, it is ALL over FB and honestly, I’m a bit over it before even trying it. I’m sure we will make it there eventually.

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(Roz Rappaport) #9

We’ve never been to Burlew’s. A quick Google search shows it has not closed. In addition to the usual info on its website, there is this announcement: “Burlew’s Dock & Dine Coming Spring 2019!!!”

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#10

Smart for them to offer dock and dine. I recall them being right on the water. Thanks for the info.

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(Roz Rappaport) #11

You’re welcome!

Website: burlewsseafoodsteak.com

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(Junior) #12

I have been to Burlews one time for a business lunch, I was not terribly impressed by the place. If I recall they had a large outside patio area and an outside bar and it seemed as if that was the real “draw” of the place, rather than the dining room. I’m surprised looking at the menu on the link provided, I don’t recall them having so many entree choices, but perhaps I only saw the lunch menu.

There used to be a bar/pizza place on 35 in the Old Bridge / South Amboy area called Burlews, it was in the middle of a jug handle. The building was torn down about 10 years ago and the bar / restaurant had closed a few years before that, but it was a staple in the area and I remember as a child going there on the way home from shore. I’m talking mid-70’s, I’m thinking the Burlew’s must be a large/prominent family in the area because that name is associated with several business’s over the years.

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(Evelyn C. Leeper) #13

Different Burlew’s. The one that was a fishery was not near the water. There was also a Burlew’s Pizza, across the side road from what is now the Goodwill store on Route 35; it is also gone.

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(Greg Caggiano) #14

Well, things finally went apeshit on the Matawan Facebook pages yesterday. After WEEKS of people going back and forth over Pride of the Sea, the negative reviews finally reached a fever-pitch when someone researched the images the restaurant had been sharing and proved they were lifted off other websites. I even put up an article on my blog to capitalize on the moment.

Comments have been pretty much in favor of the owner, but he has been on the attack, even accusing someone of using their negative review to promote Keyport Fishery as superior!

I see both sides of the story: restaurants use stock photos all the time. However, you would think as the owner of restaurant either you or someone else would be taking pictures of the actual food coming out of the kitchen. @gracieggg can attest to the madness! We managed to connect on Facebook through all this hysteria. Below is my article:


Let me start out by saying that this blog is in no way affiliated with Matawan’s new Pride of the Sea Fishery. Nor is this blog affiliated with any of its competitors or has anything against the business or its owner. This blog is independent. While I focus mostly on restaurant reviews and food pictures, lately I have forayed into food news. Perhaps this post does not qualify as “news” but I cannot help but look upon what is happening on local social media with some amusement.

For weeks, I saw posts on Facebook promoting the opening of the new fishery now occupying what used to be Peter’s Fishery. The posts were from the owner (George) who seems kind enough. The information, pictures, and descriptions were written with passion and appear to be from someone who genuinely cares about his business. As someone with 10 years of social media management and consultation experience for businesses, individuals, and organizations, I cannot tell you how great it is to see an owner actively promoting his brand rather than hire an outside agency without firsthand knowledge or choose to ignore social media platforms altogether.

I live in Holmdel and am rarely in Matawan, but even I looked at these pictures with wide-eyed amazement. They were delectable, and posted during the business’s experimental/test phase. Could this fishery really be churning out these amazing-looking dishes? In time, the fishery opened and rave reviews were spotted all over Facebook. Then came the negative reviews. This is to be expected, of course, because in the food/restaurant industry, you will never see 100% of anything, positive or negative. Today, however, things seemed to reach a fever-pitch as a poster in a Matawan Facebook group accused the owner of stealing images from other websites and pages. After reviewing the evidence (which the individual provided after probably having way too much time on their hands), it does seem that picture were borrowed. Is this a huge deal? Yes and no. Businesses using stock photos is nothing new, but these images are from other restaurants’ actual pages. It is impossible for it to be known if said images have a copyright, but if so, this is not only tasteless and careless, but illegal. I highly doubt anyone would sue over such use, but the option is there.

The conversation then erupted into a string of questions and insults, opposition and defense. People on both sides were right and wrong. Comments swelled to over 200 in a matter of hours. The owner, quite active on Facebook, joined in as well. He commended those defending him, and attacked those against. Some of his posts regarding the business end of food production (he had a side conversation about the pricing of his dishes and what the actual fish costs were per pound, etc) were insightful and welcome, but as I have seen in many years of my own restaurant reviews and research based on review-hosting websites, blogs, and forums, attacking anyone publicly will bring nothing but trouble and disdain. The initial posters publicly blasting this restaurant perhaps should have shown some reserve, but so should the owner.

What is the point of this article? For me, it is to point out to other aspiring business owners to take your own pictures. If you truly are running a restaurant, it means you are there the entire day and are on-site for practically every meal coming out of the kitchen. This means you have a chance to quite literally snap (and/or stage) a photo of every single meal prepared at your restaurant and keep them on file for use at a later time. This is not a mistake any business should make, whether the owner is experienced or a novice. Also, in this day and age and in an area loaded with dining options, it would perhaps be best to be a bit more tactful. If someone is turned off by what they see online, they are likely to go elsewhere without even giving it a try.

I wish Pride of the Sea in Matawan nothing but the best, and I hope tensions ease on social media. The restaurant needs more time to get things right (including, I hope, taking their own pictures) while customers need to recognize that not everyone is perfect and a small business should have our support until they prove they do not deserve it.

Originally posted here.

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#15

I can attest to the apeshitness which erupted yesterday. Holy moly.

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(Nelki Rosario) #16

I went there with my wife and in-laws and we had a good experience. It was refreshing to finally go to to a seafood place and actually be served fresh fish. The quality is definitely there. The crab cake we had was filled with jumbo lump crab meat which again was refreshing to us because everywhere else sells crab cakes with no crab meat and all breading. Their signature appetizers are delicious especially the mango coconut Pan seared scallops. We did not try the soup so we can not comment. Portions were fine. Truth be told we can not go out to dine and expect quality and big portions and cheap prices. It’s one or the other. Quality at fare prices or garbage at Cheap prices. I think Pride of the Sea will do very well. We plan on being regulars. They do need to train the servers better. And they do need more ambiance. But overall a fine place if you enjoy eating fresh fish.

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#17

Welcome aboard! I’m glad to hear you had a nice experience and I’d like to try this place soon.

How did you find out about hungry onion? We’re always happy to see new members :slight_smile:

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#18

This “review” they posted on their FB makes me laugh “You go to Paris to see the Mona Lisa and by the same token, you go to Pride of the Sea for the Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes.”

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(Mr met) #19

slightly overboard? They must have gotten the gold package for advertising buy this month.

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(Jeff) #20

I wonder what it costs for a paid review like that?

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