Out of Town: Whispers at Spring Lake, NJ

Total Bill: $112.35 for two

Our four day trip to Spring Lake was highlighted by two very quaint yet very different meals. The first was at Whispers — a beautiful Victorian-themed restaurant inside the Hewitt Wellington bed and breakfast.

From the baby chandeliers to gold-rimmed china, you’ll be able to enjoy all the opulence of the British mid-1800s with the modernity of fresh, local cuisine.

The restaurant, as with all other eateries in town, is bring-your-own-wine. So, don’t forget to pick up a bottle at one of the several wine and liquor shops around the area.

They’re start you off with a chilled passion fruit and melon puree. Be warned that the smell is a bit pungent, but don’t get put off. The shot of fruity emulsion may be a nice kick to jump start your meal if you don’t mind the sweetness.

To start, Jay and I ordered the lobster gnocchi, which we read plenty of raving reviews on. The portion is perfect to share, although by no means light, with solid chucks of plump lobster and a handful of fluffy gnocchi. While a bit more on the starchy side, the gnocchi were still juicy in the sauce and obviously handmade.

If they made the portions a bit larger, I would say I’d even prefer this as a main course.

We also tried one of the starter specials — grilled calamari stuffed with lump crab. This is definitely lighter and more appropriate as an appetizer. The calamari was tender and not too chewy, while the grilling left a wonderful smokey aftertaste. That contrasted really well with the nicely salted lump crab and side of greens.

Then came the incredibly filling main entrees. We shared a pork chop and their hallmark lobster wonton bowl.

The lobster dish came with a pound and a half of claw and tail poached to buttery perfection. It rested on top of a juicy mound of crabcake and rich spinach, all held within a dual-layered fried wonton bowl. The whole showcase sat on a heap of chunky mashed potatoes surrounded by flavorful pesto and drops of balsamic reduction.

That was a mouthful! But overall, while delicious, it may have all been a tad overwhelming. You’ll undoubtedly get full, so focus your attention on the fresh lobster and crab dipped in the pesto.

And just to be excessive, we also had the grilled pork chop topped with corn salsa. The slab of meat was juicy, but fell victim to the heavy mayo-based sauce to the side. The whole thing might have been overshadowed by our lobster dish too, but the dish would work wonders for anyone who can appreciate a solid, nicely cooked piece of pork.

After all that, too bad there was absolutely no room for dessert. But it offered up the perfect reason to stroll through town to walk it all off.

If you’re in Spring Lake for a couple of days and need a change from the main street cafes and pizzeria, Whispers provides that charming upscale alternative.


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