Monmouth EatBeat - The Bonney Read
General Manager | Sebastian Walker
Executive Chef | James Avery
Opened | 2015
Seating capacity | 210
Signature items | Fresh Catch of the Day
Hours of operation | Sunday, Noon – 9 p.m.;
Monday – Thursday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.;
Friday & Saturday, Noon – 11 p.m
The experience of dining at The Bonney Read begins before you even step into the classically-designed chowder house on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park. As you approach the doors, you’ll walk past thick ropes that line wooden posts on the sidewalk, setting the scene for the distinct, nautical feel of the restaurant. Inside, General Manager Sebastian Walker and Executive Chef James Avery invite you dine on traditional fish and seafood dishes that they believe are a great catch along the shore.
“We focus on fresh, classic seafood dishes, cooked simply,” Chef Avery says. “Those dishes should be a symbol of summer and living at the shore.”
The Bonney Read’s menu reflects that simplicity, but the kitchen adds a touch of elegance to it. Seafood staples such as Linguine and Clams or Lobster Bisque are enhanced by the chefs’ use of imported pasta and ground lobster shells to thicken the soup, instead of adding other ingredients. A raw bar and fresh catches such as mako, opah or swordfish, rotated daily, help to round out the menu that has remained the same since The Bonney Read opened in August of last year.
“We have a rotating raw bar, and we operate off a chalkboard, which is what old chowder houses and seafood markets would do,” Avery says. “I’ll get a message every day from my provider what the fresh catch will be and we update it from there.” But fear not, landlubbers. Burgers and a chicken sandwich are also served, and several gluten-free dishes are available.
The atmosphere inside The Bonney Read complements the cuisine, as the rustic feel of distressed wood and metal grates give the restaurant a pirate-ship feel. It’s a fitting environment, as the eatery is named after two female pirates: Anne Bonney and Mary Read. “It’s a boatyard vibe with a pirate edge to it. It’s vintage, yet charming,” says Avery, who is also the executive chef of the Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten.
Staying with the pirate theme, The Bonney Read’s bar features a plethora of rum cocktails and after-dinner rums imported from Barbados, Jamaica, and other Caribbean nations. Various local, domestic and international beers are also available on tap or in bottles and cans.
The Bonney Read offers happy hour specials almost every day and outdoor seating right in the heart of downtown Asbury Park. If you’re looking for a classic alternative to the seafood dining scene this summer, or just looking to relax with a different type of rum cocktail, stop by and see why, as Chef Avery says, “The beauty is in simplicity.”