A New Personal Favorite: Dining at Windansea

June 29, 2012
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By Don Wilno

HIGHLANDS — “The Ad Lady” and “Island Gal,” sales reps at this newspaper, quizzed me on my favorite restaurants of all time.

Hmm, I thought, that’s a difficult question to answer.

“Take your time,” The Ad Lady told me.

Best five she wanted to know.

I came up with a couple right away.

In two and a half decades at another newspaper I had visited many, many great restaurants, and some very bad ones, too.

When we finished dining at the Windansea in Highlands, I had to revise my all-time
list, honest.

For sure, the Windansea quickly moved to the top of the list.

Sesame Encrusted Tuna

Owned by Bobby Higgins and Danny Shields, the 10-year-old Windansea at 56 Shrewsbury Ave., serves up quite a fabulous array of appetizers, entrees and desserts. I had to admit, “I have never had such a fantastic meal.”

Accolades don’t come easily from me.  I can be tough, very tough, on a menu if I don’t like what is served.
My reputation is well-known, I have found out. “That’s what I heard,’’ Higgins said at the end of an evening of delicious menu items created for The Ad Lady, Island Gal and “Camera Man Scott,” a 20-year employee of The Two River Times™.

The Scot-tini

Scott is such a frequent visitor to Windansea that bartender Bobby Lombardo of Highlands named Scott’s favorite drink “the Scot-tini.” It’s a mixture of Grey Goose Orange vodka shaken with muddle orange.

During my drinking days, and there were many, I would have enjoyed such a mixture. It looked wonderful and Scott enjoyed it – but just one.

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I was content to have an unsweetened ice tea because I have lost 80 pounds since last September when I was ill.

Although I don’t drink any longer, nothing prevents me from enjoying a great dinner once a week, usually Thursday nights with Carmen Scharibone and sometimes Joe Digilio at what was my favorite restaurant, Due Amici, in Brielle.

After visiting the Windansea, I broke the news to my friends at Due Amici. While still a favorite, it’s one level below Windansea.

Here’s why:

appetizer selections

Brian Burton, the manager at Windansea, selected our appetizers:

Cajun Chicken Tenders ($6.99)
Sesame Encrusted Tuna ($12.99)
Grilled Shrimp Cocktail ($10.99)
BBQ Oysters ($12.99)

Each appetizer was outstanding, and not the usual pub fare of Buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, and fried calamari. I loved the creativity, which is so, so rare in the industry.

We also let Burton select our entrees:

Pan Seared Sea Scallops ($22.99)
Sal’s Linguini with White Clam Sauce ($17.99)
Chicken Windansea ($18.79) – house special
Chicken Parmigiana ($18.99)
Lobster Stuffed with Lump Crab Meat ($52.95)

Lobster stuffed with lump crabmeat

While each was delicious, and I mean delicious, the star of the evening was the 2 pound Broiled Lobster Stuffed with Lump Crab Meat.

Don’t be scared away by the price. It’s big enough for two and a magnificent presentation.

Wow, I thought. What a creation.

I’m a lobster lover and I know on my next trip I will order the lobster dish. You can write it down.

dessert tray

And there is always room for dessert, especially the new mini-parfaits ($1.99) (you can eat just one).

Again, I couldn’t help but praise the great meal. And thanks to our wonderful hosts: manager Brian Burton, bartender Bobby Lombardo and bar-back Bob Little, 18, who just graduated from Henry Hudson Regional High School and is heading to Brookdale Community College.

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Again, WOW.

Nothing is better than Windansea.



Windansea has a Monday to Friday happy hour with half-price appetizers and drink specials…
The Tiki Bar is open for lunch and dinner…
You can dock-and-dine… Parties are welcome… There is live music seven days starting at 6 p.m.

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