The dining scene in Asbury Park has a whale of a tale to share with seafood lovers. The Iron Whale is a new restaurant along the boardwalk, featuring a rustic yet contemporary design. With an inventive menu that offers both lunch and dinner options, this year-round spot is perfect for sea dogs. Though you don’t need sea legs to enjoy yourself.
Whether you’re eating indoors or outdoors, there’s always an interesting view. Of course, outdoor ocean-view dining is a strong feature of the Iron Whale, thanks to its Boardwalk location. Inside, however, the eatery features an open kitchen you can view from the bar. You’ll also find natural accents and objects, like reclaimed wood, ropes, and gas lanterns.
“We’ve created an upscale dining experience with all ages welcome,” says Rachel Koeppel Ganley, director of Marketing & Events for McLoone’s Restaurants. “The dining room is warm and inviting, and the menu lends for a culinary experience,” she adds. As part of the McLoone Group, Iron Whale marks the 11th restaurant for restaurateur Tim McLoone.
Meanwhile, Executive Chef Michael Dolan helms the kitchen. His previous executive chef roles include Rum Runner in Sea Bright and The Robinson Ale House in Red Bank. So far, he’s come up with coastal cuisine that features a fish taco bar (hence the name “Whale”); plus fresh local waterfront faves like shrimp, clams, and oyster. One the meat side (aka the “Iron” section), steak and filet mignon headline the menu. In addition, they also serve vegan and gluten-free options.
A Seafarer’s Dream
Lunch entrees include a Maine lobster roll or jerk Mahi (lettuce, tomato, jalapeno Thousand Island dressing, multigrain toast). Salads range from crushed baby beet to steak salad. For dinner, apps like avocado crab toast or Rhode Island calamari will hook you. But the main dishes will reel you in; standouts like the coffee-rubbed pork chop served with house bbq and almond-crusted swordfish will delight your taste-buds.
Finally, if your eyes are as big as that fish you swear you almost caught, we’ve got good news: Both the raw bar and fish taco bar are open during lunch and dinner. The raw bar offers oysters, clams, and jumbo shrimp. (Be on the lookout for specialties like The Asbury and The Whaler.) At the fish taco bar, you can sample Billy; seared swordfish, arugula, oranges, pickled red onions, cilantro-garlic aioli and pico de gallo. Otherwise, you can try Gump, which is grilled shrimp, lettuce, avocado, jalapeno Thousand Island dressing and pico de gallo.
Visit the Iron Whale at 1200 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, year-round. For more info, call 732-361-5185 or visit https://www.ironwhalenj.com/.