There’s one thing you won’t find in the kitchen of Jimmy Vastardis’ swanky new Red Bank restaurant, replete with exposed brick, matter black paint, and oversized light fixtures. It’s the one thing Vastardis says he can’t abide; something that should never find its way into a seafood restaurant: a freezer.
At Blue Water Seafood, Broad Street — a restaurant that’s been open for about two months but celebrated its grand opening in style over the weekend with a lineup of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and even a canary-yellow Rolls Royce parked just outside — it’s all about serving fresh, quality product.
“I buy fresh every day,” Vastardis said, taking a moment from a dinner conversation Friday night. “My product is the freshest that you can find and that’s what people are looking for.”
The décor says upscale dining, but the menu is a genre-bending blend of seafood dishes of multiple persuasions that includes everything from lobster rolls and clams casino to Chilean sea bass with mango slaw and a pepper crusted North Atlantic swordfish.
While you’ll find a smattering of seafood on menus around Red Bank — a lobster sushi roll here, a red snapper special there — Vastardis said no one is doing it like Blue Water does it. A bustling dinning room well into the night Friday and Saturday, just as other eateries were counting receipts and tearing down tables, is testament to the fact that seafood does play here. Even though the sample is still a relatively small one, Vastardis said the reaction thus far has been great.
“There’s no seafood restaurant in Red Bank. There’s really no place to eat fresh seafood,” he said. “I’ve always thought this would work well here.”
With apologies to The Boondocks Fishery, a seafood restaurant that only operates seasonally, Vastardis has a point. The lack of a primarily seafood-centric restaurant in the borough is one of the reasons he decided to open the Blue Water location here. The owner of Blue Water Seafood Company in East Brunswick — a hole in the wall restaurant that’s been open and continues to receive compliments nearly a decade after opening — has got a sense of what people like.
The menu supports that. Depending on your seafood tastes, it’s likely you’ll be able to find something that appeals to you on Blue Water’s menu. In addition to a number of familiar seafood items, a raw bar, and unique specialties, Blue Water also offers a variety of fresh fish and crustaceans available grilled, blackened, or broiled, depending on your taste.
Vastardis hopes the draw continues and is willing to provide the best product cooked the best way possible, because this, he said, is where he’s always wanted to be.
“I’ve always loved Red Bank. As a young man, this was always the place I wanted to be,” he said.
For a complete menu, hours of operation, and more information, visit Blue Water Seafood at www.bluewaterseafoodredbank.com.