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Great values attract tourists to Plantation on Long Beach Island

By LOIS MATTSON
Correspondent


I guess Long Beach Island is not your typical tourist trap. Over the years, I have found many very good restaurants, and Plantation is definitely one of them.

It seems the restaurateurs on the island have figured out that you can make money and actually produce a good product. Bravo.

Plantation, situated on the main road in Harvey Cedars, has a wonderful island theme going on with the decor.

One side of the restaurant has a tin ceiling, the other wooden slats. Plantation shutters cover the windows, tables and chairs are rattan.

We dined there on a Sunday evening and found a full crowd in the bar and dining room, even before the season opened. Take this as a caution. Make reservations.

Plantation features a large exotic drink menu (try the mojito) and a very user-friendly wine list. But the real deal here is the food.

Start with the scallop appetizer ($13), three large pan-seared scallops served over a tantalizing bacon-mustard hash. Brilliant!

Off the bone short ribs ($10) are another must. How about the grilled chicken quesadilla ($7.75) served with a roasted corn and black bean salad, guacamole and an ancho-lime crema? Definitely.

One of my favorite retro salads appears on this menu. It's a wedge of iceberg lettuce with bacon, tomato and blue cheese ($6.50). This version is so decadent that even splitting it two ways was a daunting task.

The evening steak special was a Delmonico steak ($26), an enormous portion, topped with a port wine reduction and, on the side, a lush serving of potatoes mashed with cheddar, bacon and chives.

The pan-roasted free-range chicken ($17.75), was served with a lemon thyme sauce. The side on this plate was a brie, bacon and pinenut risotto, perfect in texture and a party to the palate. The shitake salsa wasn't too shabby either.

We finished the evening with the "extremely creamy cheesecake" ($7), which it was, but the deep, rich fig sauce that accompanied it made it.

Since there were only two of us, we returned for lunch the next day to dig into the "award winning" New England clam chowder ($5.75), an outstanding crab cake sandwich ($11.95) served with a house-made spicy remoulade sauce and a delicious cheeseburger ($8.50).

If you can't make it down this summer, Plantation is open year round.

Those off-season beach days can be the absolute best with a treat waiting at the end of the day.

Kudos to owners Marty Grimes and Brian Sabarese, and chefs Allan Vanesko and Jeff Alberti for not taking our presence on the island for granted. Plantation is the real deal.
from the Courier News website www.c-n.com