When my family first purchased a summer house in South Jersey back in 1989, one of the first places we went to get fresh fish was Bob’s Seafood in Absecon. I was only 11 years old at the time, but I have distinct memories of loving pretty much anything my parents brought back from Bob’s. A few months ago when I was deciding what shacks to include in this column, it dawned on me that I had not featured Bob’s Seafood. This had to change.
Bob’s originally had two locations, one in Northfield and another in Absecon. Both still exist, but they now have different owners and offer different products, making them essentially two completely different businesses.
For this story I visited the Bob’s Seafood in Absecon, and, in a reversal of roles, headed straight to my parents’ house in Galloway with a bounty of delicious seafood for dinner.
Keep ItFried Shrimp: Before I even tasted these, I was blown away by the price. Seven large shrimp plus sides of cole slaw and macaroni salad and homemade cocktail and tartar sauces for $11.99 is a great deal. What made it an even better deal was that the shrimp were awesome. Coated in a medium-thick breading with a nice crunch, these were perfectly cooked to a golden brown and were as good or better than those that I have paid double the price for. And the sides were both quite good, particularly the cole slaw, which was listed as their “famous” cole slaw, so apparently that’s a thing.
Fried Scallops: It’s taken me a while to come around to eating scallops. As a child I was not a fan, and neither were most of the kids I knew, including my friend Christopher Sheerin, who at age 12 stared in sheer terror at a bowl of seafood pasta he was presented with, eventually shouting in a panic, “I don’t like scallops – what do I do???” … much to the amusement of everyone at the table.
Anyway, the fried scallops weren’t bad overall, and the breading was crunchy and delicious, but I thought the scallops themselves were slightly chewy for my taste. Everyone else seemed to really enjoy them though, so I’m going to chalk this up to me still not being 100 percent sold on scallops in general.
Broiled crab cakes: A delightful break from the parade of fried items, the broiled crab cakes were a standout among the standouts. I have a habit of reaching for dipping sauces as often as I can, but the delicate flavor of the crabmeat in these was better on its own, without being overpowered by tartar or any other type of sauce. And again, at under $8 per crab cake, it’s a hell of a deal.
Fried clam strips: Always a great addition to any seafood feast, the fried clams did not disappoint. Sure, you could argue that they are mostly breading and that the whole belly fried clams you find in New England are the only true version of this dish, but with a squeeze of lemon and a dunk of tartar, boy did these hit the spot.
Throw It BackFrench fries: The only side dish that was a disappointment was the french fries, which were bland and not to my liking. A great steak fry or something along those lines would be ideal, but these missed the mark.
Trophy WinnersFried Shrimp
Broiled Crab Cakes
Bob’s Seafood is located at 606 Mill Road in Absecon. Go to Bob’s Seafood.net.