Lighthouse Tavern, Barnegat NJ

Tonight my friend and music editor for this site, are dining together. He is in town for a visit and wants a steak dinner but I draw a blank to where we can find a good steak. On our way up rte 9 I spot the Lighthouse and remember in years past, having a good meal there.  If you have ever been to the Lighthouse, it is hard to determine if it is a restaurant with a bar or a bar with a restaurant. Tonight sadly, it is a bar with a restaurant.

It is a very busy night for the Lighthouse crew. People are lined up at 6pm for tables. We happen to get lucky and land a deuce without wait which is great because we are hungry. Our waiter, who never told us his name, brings us menus and promises a return for a drink order.  Tonight’s specials include, what else,  but a steak dinner.  Ny strip steak with mushrooms, bacon and crumbled bleu cheese, served with jumbo grilled shrimp, vegetables and a choice of potatoes or onion rings. The description makes us immediately opt for two orders.

While waiting for the meal, we are served our salads. Mine although a little warm, is the best of the two. My friends salad looked like half had slid off the plate before it reached our table.  Where’s the bread we ask and the waiter returns with a warm basket of french style bread.

The salads go down and the bread disappears but the entre’s are now in front of us. To both our surprise, the steak is buried beneath a layer of bleu cheese sauce, which is extremely thick and overflowing the plate. In this sauce are my mushrooms and bacon, both of which a very hard to find. A very disappointing start when your really craving a steak. I proceed to scrape off the sauce to look for my hopefully, buried treasure below. The steak is done medium rare which is how I ordered it, so that is one for the plus side. The steak is also tender and flavorful as it is dredged in a Cajun sprinkle. Proceeding to the onion rings brings more sorrow than glee. They are cold and mushy, which are a very bad combination for such a great side to a steak dinner. The vegetables are over seasoned with salt and can not be eaten.

Grilled jumbo shrimp sounds great to me, if in fact you GET grilled jumbo shrimp!!!! If you know shrimp, they are sold in increments of size ( amount) per pound. Shrimp that are considered under 15 or U15, are in the jumbo category, although closer to U12’s are really nice for jumbo shrimp. In fact at my wedding I insisted on U12’s for the shrimp cocktail bar which was the hit of the event. My friends still comment on how great the shrimp were.  If you want to leave a lasting impression with shrimp, serve  U 12’s, or don’t do it at all.

Our shrimp were probably in the 16-21 range. Good for those shrimp rings in the supermarket that you see in the freezer sections, but bad for a steak and shrimp dish.  Serve me 4  jumbo shrimp instead of 6 or 7 smaller ones. The bigger ones always taste better and make a much nicer presentation. I eat most of my steak and leave the rest on my plate.

Upon clearing our dishes the waiter asks if everything was okay and we hesitate and reply it was “alright I guess”. The waiter takes our plates  and leaves without question about our reply. Too bad because this is the only way a kitchen gets feedback for its hard work.

Price for both steaks, a diet soda and a Corona beer $52.00. Add a $10 tip for mediocre service and there you have it.

Regular Guy rating * * 1/2

Lighthouse Tavern

Rte 9 southbound side,

Barnegat New Jersey

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