In 1772, soldier, scholar, and businessman Andrew McMinn saw the need for a way station for travelers, so he opened his home to those with coin. The building served as a base for General Francis Murray during the Revolutionary War, and has passed through the hands of generations of owners, ultimately taking on the name The Temperance House. Whatever its title or whoever its proprietors are, the location has provided a place to meet, eat, and plot against the British throughout its 200-year lifespan. The current managing couple, Carlene and Pasquale Deon, enhances the building's rustic charm with fully restored décor to preserve the historically rich interior. Their chefs craft menus that blend culinary styles from France, Asia, and Italy into an international menu of fine eats that includes everything from kimchi rolls to gnocchi with buffalo mozzarella. :m]]
Blue Water Seafood Company’s expansive menu satisfies the deepest desires of seafaring appetites. Appetizers such as oysters on the half shell ($16/dozen) launch the stomach on a seafaring journey, continued by jumbo lump crab cakes ($17 lunch; $23 dinner) and fried clam strips ($15 lunch; $18 dinner). Blue Water's live Maine lobster ($26/lb., dinner only) is steamed and served with roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables upon order, bringing forth celestial flavors from the abyssopelagic depths. The maritime menu is bordered by an assortment of terra firma tasties including lemon chicken with artichoke hearts and crispy garlic ($14 lunch; $18 dinner) and New Zealand lamb chops ($35, dinner only).
Fine Italian Cuisine | Handmade Pasta | Raw Bar | Colossal Wine List | Award-Winning Restaurateur
The Chef: Wisconsin native Michael White has built his career on crafting authentic and innovative Italian cuisine. The eateries in his Altamarea Group have received heaps of praise, including the title of Best New Restaurant from GQ magazine and the James Beard Foundation.
While You're Waiting: Settle by the circular bar near Due Mari's front entrance for a pour from its 15-page list of wines and spirits.
What's in a Name? In Italian, due mari translates to "two seas." It's an apt moniker for Chef White's eatery, which specializes in Italian seafood such as local swordfish and daily selections of oysters.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Trace earth's geological journey with minerals, fossils, and specimens at Rutgers Geology Museum (85 Somerset Street).
After: Yuk it up with emerging and veteran jokesters at Stress Factory Comedy Club (90 Church Street).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Sample more of Chef White's Italian cuisine at his other New Jersey eatery, Osteria Morini (107 Morristown Road, Bernardsville).
Steak 38 founder Joe DiAmore and fellow restaurateur Ben Blumberg began working together as teenagers, waiting tables at Chubby’s Restaurant in Collingswood. The two later opened their own establishments, with Joe manning the grill at Steak 38 and Ben dishing out undersea treats at Barnacle Ben’s. After more than 40 years, the epicurean duo has once again joined forces to combine their surf 'n' turf experience into a full menu of entrees seasoned with the world's most popular spice—fire. Many of Steak 38's signature dishes include tableside preparation, as waiters carve meats, debone fish, and ignite flaming desserts such as bananas foster before ringing the dinner bell. The restaurant’s intimate bar stocks its bins with toast-ready spirits, filling glasses with effervescent champagne, bracing scotch, and a selection of timeless after-dinner cordials.
When it comes to Italian food, the culinary team at Cafe 34 Bistro draws equally from tradition and its own creativity. From seasoning housemade gnocchi with ground beef to tossing fettuccine with bacon-wrapped scallions and creamy wild-mushroom sauce, the cooks prove they have classic Italian flavors mastered. On the flip side, they lend fried calamari an extra zest by tossing the rings in mandarin-orange sauce. Cafe 34's culinary wizards likewise expand the flavorful potential of the burger by crowning beef patties with Cajun seasoning and mango-crabmeat salsa.
An extensive selection of wine by the glass and bottle, as well as cocktails, such as chocolate martinis, complements Cafe 34's edibles. Meals, in turn, complement the cafe's entertainment lineup, which bounces between flat-screen TVs showing the night's biggest games and live music performed three nights a week.
For more than 35 years, Sea-Lect Seafood has curated an ample selection of fresh wild Alaskan salmon, sushi-grade tuna, wild-caught shrimp, and other sea-caught treasures. Each day, the staff crowds a case with crab cakes and prepares other foods—homemade soups and creamy chowders—to be savored at home. At the Maple Shade location, chefs craft hot dishes for diners who devour steaming meals in the cozy dining space rather than at home to avoid offending the family goldfish. Owner George Gladden first started working at Sea-Lect Seafood at the age of 15 as a dishwasher, then climbed his way to the top through his love of cooking fresh seafood, desire to please customers, and ability to speak lobster.