The Hotel Tides Asbury Park
Mar 01, 2018

Hotel Tides

By Lori Draz

The Hotel Tides Asbury Park

This month, the Journal is proud to be the Founding Sponsor of the Garden State Film Festival as it celebrates its 16th year by returning to its original home in Asbury Park. We were getting excited for the big weekend to come, March 22 to 25, and decided to venture to the Hotel Tides in Asbury Park to see what their version of fine dining was all about. It was a trip worth making.

The Hotel Tides is a true amalgam of old Asbury and its new cosmopolitan spirit. The Hotel pre-dates 1876 when it was the St. Laurent. In those days it was considered a luxury hotel and in 1915 the swanky St. Laurent was charging a high-end price of $2.50 to $3.00 for an overnight stay and between $12 and $16 dollars for a week. Lesson? Next time, book early. You enter up a short flight of steps onto a wrap- around porch which is alive with cocktail-sippers on nice days and enter the lobby with a sleek bar with a South Beach kind of look. There are two water walls, a fireplace, couches, and a long cool bar; it’s all very urbane. Then you walk into the dining room and you realize you are in an historic building. The ceiling and walls are covered in ornate tin, which you can see had been painted over many times and then later power-stripped. The tiny remaining flecks of paint on the dark tin give it more depth and actually reinforce the story of its historic past. Above are the rooms which are also very modern and elegant, and there is a pool (open in season) which you can enjoy even if you’re not a hotel guest. The Hotel Tides really delivers the variety of moods that is today’s Asbury Park …old and new, elegant and fun.

Now something you should know is that The Hotel Tides changes their menu about four times a year, and the one on the website is often not the one you’ll find. Even the dishes we chose may not be there on your visit. Don’t worry, just roll with the tides. Fortunately the servers are wonderful. They are your cheerful companion through the meal and never grow weary of repeating selections or answering questions. We ordered up some delicious cocktails and our appetizers.

We chose two. A crab leg special which was so good we ordered two. We also selected a Tides salad which came with a healthy serving of arugula, sliced grape tomato, and a light vinaigrette. Flavor Flash Find! – every so often we come across something we’ve never seen before. Our appetizer had these dots of a raspberry colored puree; but it wasn’t raspberry. It was a combination of pureed feta cheese and beet powder. I never heard of beet powder, but this tasty surprise was so good, we bought the ingredients that night to try it ourselves. We have yet to come close to mastering this sweet, tangy salty delight, so leave it to the pros and ask for it when you go.

Now for the entrees. Diner one selected the Sea Bass which came with a hypnotic companion of risotto-inspired wild rice cake. Delicious! He also complimented the chef’s cook on the Sea Bass, which was moist and not a minute overcooked. Diner two was so enticed by the crab cake appetizer that we took it off our list so she could have it as a dinner portion. The offering included two quite large crab cakes and a side of mashed potatoes, some grilled Brussel sprouts, and she thought it was very tasty, with a pronounced crab flavor; not overly spiced. Diner three made a great pick for the cold evening of our visit – the veal shank, which came with grilled Brussel sprouts and gnocchi. It was fall off the bone tender and the gnocchi were light and cooked very well. She was pleased with this earthy offering. I went with an item I was told was always on the menu, the cabernet braised short rib though the current menu says it comes with whipped golden potatoes, creamy leeks, and peas, mine came served with a potato in a purse and a puree of celery root and I was glad it did. You don’t often find that puree and I thought it paired beautifully with the rich chunk of slow-cooked beef that was tender enough to cut with a fork.

For dessert, we chose a raspberry cabernet sorbet which was an icy delight. I’ll bet it flies in the summer. We also chose an apple turnover with vanilla gelato. This comes served upright in a cup. It was a little hard to cut but well worth the effort. The flaky turnover and cool creamy gelato is a classic combination and this one did not fail. The desserts change every one or two weeks, so just know that they hold up to the standards of the rest of the experience, which is quite good. In general, the portions are not overly large, but are well-displayed, and well-prepared, with punchy flavors that are still welcoming for all palettes. The Hotel Tides Restaurant is open on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday for dinner from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday for dinner from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. The stylish bar offer Happy Hour every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. There is street parking only with no meters.

Cost – Moderate to high
What we liked– The mood and sense of history including those one-of-a-kind tin walls and ceiling, the lighting, the friendly service, the sophisticated chef, the overall experience, the inviting bar with its water walls, fireplace, and comfy seating, and the nice bathrooms.
What could be better – Since the menu changes seasonally, we would appreciate a more frequently updated website.

We give it 4 and three quarter J’s

Hotel Tides is located at 408 Seventh Avenue in Asbury Park. (732) 897-7744 www.thehoteltides.com