Robyn Lane

Off the Beaten Path

This Jersey Shore Restaurant Just Topped My List Of Best Places

This Jersey Shore Restaurant recently opened for the season and I fell in love with everything about it. While perusing through my favorite social media food pages, I came across a post for a place called, Caribbean Pete’s Island Grille located at  2 Point Rd, Waretown, NJ 08758.  Doug Petty, chef and part owner of the restaurant saw that I liked the post he created and reached out to me through messenger asking me when I planned on stopping by. I went online to check out the menu for selections that appealed to me. There was nothing on this menu that I wouldn’t eat. It all looked so inviting. I looked at my schedule and saw Saturday evening was open. I called my husband and let him know where we were going to dinner on Saturday night.  It’s a lovely restaurant at the Key Harbor Marina in Waretown with a gorgeous view of Barnegat Bay and fantastic food! Caribbean Pete’s is a BYOB eatery with a small mocktail menu containing refreshing tropical zero proof beverages & Sangria pitchers. Feel free to bring your own booze. We arrived just before 7pm this past Saturday and were seated inside by a window overlooking Barnegat Bay. I could see the Barnegat Lighthouse in the distance and it was breathtaking! They have a lovely outdoor patio if you choose to dine al fresco.  When you walk into the place, you can’t help feeling like you’re on a mini vacation with the Island décor and the laid-back tropical vibe. I sat down with my bottle of coconut rum and ordered a glass of pineapple juice while Bruce, who’s not much of a drinker ordered the “Bermuda Swizzle”, made with Ritual dark rum alternative, orange juice, pineapple juice, and ginger beer. Bermuda Swizzle & Pineapple Juice When we were in Bermuda a few years, we visited the famous Swizzle Inn, known for that incredibly strong adult beverage, "The Rum Swizzle." The sign outside that place reads: "Swizzle In, Stagger Out." No staggering for Bruce this time. He was driving and I was drinking. To start, we ordered the Smoked Fish Dip off the Key West Tapas menu, as well as the Ahi Tuna Plate. The fish dip is smoked Amberjack & Kingfish made into a creamy spread served with warm Pita bread triangles on a bed of greens. It was outstanding. I wanted more. Smoked Fish Dip The Ahi Tuna Plate was seared ahi tuna on a bed of greens served with a cilantro lime sauce. We really enjoyed that as well. Bruce was eating the fish spread topped with a slice of the ahi tuna. We were having a ball. Ahi Tuna with Cilantro Lime sauce Our server, Kelly was an absolute gem of a woman. Naturally friendly, attentive, and genuinely interested in our opinion of the food. For dinner, Bruce ordered a broiled Mahi Mahi filet topped with a key lime butter herb sauce, a side of coconut saffron rice, and glazed baby carrots.  He ate every last bite. Not a morsel was left on his plate. Broiled Mahi Mahi with Key Lime Butter Herb Sauce Rather than ordering a main dish, I went for a couple of appetizers for my meal. I ordered the Jerk Wings, which is a pound of wings dusted with the chef’s fabulous jerk seasoning and served with a house made jerk BBQ sauce and a side of cilantro lime sauce. Jerk Wings The wings were fantastic, with their slightly spicy, slightly sweet BBQ sauce. I even shared them with Bruce. I also ordered the Conch fritters, a Key West staple. Conch is a shellfish that is firm and white with a somewhat chewy texture and can be served in a variety of ways. I’ve had my share of conch fritters on vacation, and the fritters at Caribbean Pete’s were the best I have ever eaten. Crunchy texture on the outside and creamy on the inside. The fritters were loaded with flavor and are served with a key lime Dijon sauce. Conch Fritters with Creamy Lime Dijon The people at the next table were being served Jerk Shrimp Tacos, Mahi Mahi Tacos, a few huge burgers and other items that I made a mental note of so that I can try them on our next visit. Everything looked appealing. Chef Doug and Chef Pete came to our table to introduce themselves and to find out if we liked our meal. We showered both chefs with high praise for their fabulous food and made sure to mention how pleased we were with Kelly, our server. We weren't going to order dessert because we were stuffed but Kelly insisted that we order the famous upside down Key Lime Pie served in a Margarita glass. She even offered to wrap it up for us to take home. Then, she brought out this exquisite dessert for us to look at and all of a sudden we were no longer stuffed. I thought, "OK, just a taste, then we'll take the rest home." Not a chance! This confection was the invention of both chef Doug & chef Pete. The buttery top crust with the creamy key lime filling was a perfect balance of tangy & sweet. Attention all fisherman, after enjoying a day on the water fishing, you can bring your catch to Caribbean Pete's and the chefs will prepare your bounty blackened, broiled, or Jerk seasoned. There is a fee per person, per pound of fish. I will be back at least a few more times before they close in October for the season. I highly recommend Caribbean Pete's Island Grille, an incredible dining experience! Menu