A little over a week ago we celebrated my birthday "down the shore" in Wildwood Crest & Cape May. While we are lucky enough to be able to visit these shore destinations multiple times over the summer, this time was especially special as my husband had planned a beautiful and (what I learned upon arrival) private meal at The Peter Shields Inn.
Before I get too ahead of myself with dinner, I need to rant about our stop before dinner too! We drove down Beach Avenue, which parallels the ocean the entire way, seeing the beach meet the ocean while the sun reflected off the water was breath-taking!
We arrived at Congress Hall where we were greeted by beautiful white tassel sun umbrellas which lined the pool to our right, and to the left the patio was filled with rocking chairs overlooking the lawn and ocean.
We took our seat at a small bistro table a distance away from the pool & ordered our drinks. Some opted for cocktails, where as I stuck with my tried & true this summer...rosé.
A quick Uber back down Beach Avenue & we were pulling up to The Peter Shields Inn, a very patriotic view!
As you go up the front steps, the main door is straight ahead, while the restaurant is to the left. We entered the main door where the sound of a grand piano softly accompanied the sounds of silverware clinking, distant chatter of diners & the hostess' warming welcome. One great aspect of PSI (Peter Shields Inn) is that regardless if you've reserved the private chef's tasting menu on the front balcony or if you've made a reservation for a group inside, it's a BYOB! So bring your favorite wine to accompany your meal. Should you choose the chef's tasting, we recommend bringing a white wine or rosé for the beginning courses and then a bold red to finish out the evening. We were greeted with a complimentary bottle of champagne to start off the evening which was very much appreciated & a great surprise!
A little disclaimer - I was so overwhelmed by the view, the food & the company that I didn't get pictures of all the dishes however I did manage to get all the courses written down, so you'll have to use you imagination on some!
We were celebrating my 27th birthday, so what better way than 7-courses?! We started slowly, sipping on the champagne, enjoying the surroundings and simply just enjoying being together & relaxing! Once we started, the first dish brought out was the Amuse Bouche to get us started. This was a Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with Wasabi Tobiko & Pickled Red Onion. This paired really well with both the champagne & the rosé with bold fresh flavors! Next we dove into the First Course of Alaskan Halibut Crudo, Lemon Oil, Jalepeno, Compressed Cucumber & Micro Celery - this was served on a salt block (and yes we now need one for our kitchen!). This dish was a beautiful blend of spicy from the jalapeno, salt from the block & crunch. I definitely told my husband this was my favorite dish of the evening, although when saying it, it was only the first! With six more to go, it was still up there at the end of the night! Course Two: Barley Seared Wild Sockeye Salmon, Spinach, Chanterelles & White Balsamic. The dish was as visually appealing as it was delicious. I love salmon dishes and this was no different! I don't believe this is on the menu when dining in the restaurant, so if you're anything like me and love salmon...private chef's tasting! The Third Course is a Pan Roasted Local Day Boat Scallop with Summer Succotash, Baby Arugula & Herb Aioli (this was especially nice accompanied with the Miraval rosé). We both love scallops and were eagerly anticipating getting to this course and it lived up to, and exceeded our expectations! By now it was beginning to come into the "golden hour" were the sun's glow began to really glow off of the water & nearby buildings. The weather really cooled down and the up-lighting at the base of the columns on the porch began to illuminate. As if this dinner could get any more romantic...this was the peak of the ambiance. Off the shore, boats began to twinkle giving the illusion they were floating mid-air in the distance. We took in the setting sun before being served Course Four. This was a European Sea Bass, Potato Gnocchi, Melted Leeks, Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Red Wine. Wow, wow, wow! I've n
ever tasted gnocchi as fresh and as fragile as what was served with the sea bass. The pasta was nearly see-through it was that delicate. I'd expected this to be one of my favorite dishes of the evening however had not anticipated being speechless after the first bite! This is another dish I don't see on their regular menu, however you can try the potato gnocchi with the halibut dish currently on the dinner menu
Still with us?! This is where we switched from the lighter wine to the bold red to accompany the Fifth Course which was a Grilled Australian Wagyu, Roasted Fingerlins, Broccolini, Baby Carrots & Bordelaise. No picture here...but this came out as if it were the only entree I'd ordered! It was a full size plate and needless to say we were starting to feel full, so some of this came home with us to enjoy the next day! The Sixth Course lightened back up with the tasting of PSI Cheese, Tet de Moine, Mrs. Quicke's Cheddar, Toast Points & Seasonal Compote. This was a great dish to end with before indulging in a sweet dessert. By this time the sun had given way to the moon which was hovering low, reflecting over the water in the distance. Last but not least, Course Seven, a Lemon Bar with Crushed Granola, Strawberry Sorbet & Micro Mint. Anyone who knows me knows I love fruity desserts so this was quickly eaten up (luckily not before a picture!).
See the small balcony on the second floor between the columns? Yeah, that's where we had the pleasure of dining!
It was truly a special evening and I could not more grateful to my husband for being so thoughtful and planning a phenomenal dinner & some special time together.