Locals, rejoice. We are now on the ebb of tourist season. Oceanfront parking meters have shut down for the winter and our favorite waterside restaurants are finally void of the dreaded summertime waits.
While the shops and diners that line the beach are highly dependent on tourist traffic, they also enjoy the bit of reprieve. Some, like Chix Seaside Grille & Bar and Waterman’s Surfside Grille, even reward us locals by offering discounted eats during the off-season.
Eager to find out exactly what these restaurants were dishing out, we stopped in Waterman’s for a bite just after sunset. We happened to wander in on a Tuesday, which meant the grille was running a $12 special on their signature lump crab cakes. As it turns out, an assortment of popular entrees are included in this $12 locals’ special including a 6-ounce coldwater lobster tail or 10-ounce New York Strips on Mondays, broiled or fried fish on Wednesday and slow smoked ribs on Thursday. Now that’s a deal.
Our crab cakes arrived hot, fragrant and stuffed with juicy, fall-apart crabmeat. A slight brown crisp on the top of the crab cakes gave the entrée a pleasant crunch that complemented the layers of pepper, salinity and fresh lemon juice infused into the tender patty. Plated with the two generously portioned crab cakes were buttery whipped potatoes, a sautéed vegetable medley complete with zucchini, squash, mushroom, red pepper and asparagus, and a saucer filled with mild red pepper aioli.
So pleased with our locals-only experience at Waterman’s, we hopped on over to its sister location the following week.
The locals’ specials at Chix are slightly more diversified than its Atlantic Avenue neighbor’s. On Mondays, locals can enjoy appetizers and crushes for just $5, followed by beer for $4. Dinner specials begin on Tuesday with sirloin steak, lump crab cakes on Wednesday and our special of choice—shrimp steamer bags—on Thursday, all for just $11.
Don’t be fooled though, while these shrimp steamer bags sound like an ideal plate to share with friends, they’re fully loaded entrées laden with well over a dozen shrimp, baked red potatoes, zesty sliced sausage, tender vegetables, a robust layer of Old Bay seasoning and both cocktail sauce and butter for dipping. The gastronomic journey through this red, seafood sack is delicious yet messy, so be sure to take advantage of those cleaning cloths.
All weekly specials will run now through February, 4 p.m. to close at both Oceanfront locations.