A Breakfast and Lunch Spot Adds Dinner Deliciously

The Buttered Biscuit Cafe in Bradley Beach delivers with top-notch service and mouthwatering cuisine.

I cannot stop smiling about The Buttered Biscuit Cafe. The food, the atmosphere, the staff, the whole attitude about the place had me thinking: Spot on! and Nailed it! the entire night. We sat there happy, sated and enjoying the company of our servers. We left thinking that sometimes a well-planned expansion happens exactly as it should.

So I’ve cut to the chase and now will backtrack to tell you exactly what has me so excited.

The smoked butter, for starters.

This comes with the revered flaky Southern-style biscuits that begat the name of the original Buttered Biscuit in Bradley Beach, a destination for breakfast and lunch, which earlier this spring tip-toed into dinner service Wednesday through Saturday nights in an adjacent cafe space. The biscuits come not only with the butter that cops a ‘tude of bacon with all that sultry smokiness, but pickled carrots, cukes, mushrooms and beets. And, no kidding, there’s also a petite cup of berry jam on the plate!

Biscuits and accompaniments

Then there’s a house-made soft, fat pretzel with dabs of grainy mustard and chunky souped-up cheese. As if the savory-pastry portion of the small-plate menu isn’t embraceable enough, there’s a ready-for-its-close-up beet tart. It is a rectangle of puff pastry smeared with whipped goat cheese and topped with slices of magenta beets, sunny citrus sections and a tangle of micro greens. It’s a veritable starlet, enough to make Louis B. Mayer rise from his grave.

Beet tart.

The arugula salad is a mighty pretty second banana. I loved the little touches, the extras that showed both TLC and precision: cherry tomatoes that are roasted to entice sweetness and button mushrooms that are shaved so their thickness matches the leaves of arugula. There are shavings, too, of Parmigiana-Reggiano and riffs of lemon that dovetail with the pepperiness of the greens.

We know the headlining starter is supposed to be the pork belly—and it is. (But you won’t forget the others, either.) Crisped-till-crackling skin, succulent meat-to-fat interior. However, the Buttered Biscuit adds crunchy curls of potato to the plate and piles it all atop tart chowchow that cuts the fat and freshens the plate. Smart and delicious.

Pork Belly.

You could order all the small plates (we almost did) and forego entrees. But unless I was being kidnapped at gunpoint from my seat here, I wouldn’t miss entrees or dessert.

The fried chicken is textbook Southern style, served on this night with a side of mac-and-cheese, collards and rich brown gravy. The mussels, a seafood special, are juicy pouches that squirt lemony, chile-licked liquid into every bite. The shrimp and grits are an unusual take, topped as they are with a thin tomato gravy that does right by the main elements of the dish.

Southern-fried chicken.

We enjoyed the humongous chocolate chip cookie smothered in chocolate sauce and creams of all sorts as well as the pretzel bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. But we love-loved the pavlova of lemon meringue surrounded by raspberries and blueberries and topped with a torpedo of freshly whipped cream. So homey, so embraceable.

Lemon Pavlova.

So very Buttered Biscuit.

Its owners, Liz and Dave McAllister, guiding stars of breakfast and lunch, have found a dinner chef in Shannon Phillips who holds true to their passion and prowess in the kitchen. Call it hitting the trifecta, a Triple Crown winner—whatever your pleasure. There’s reason to smile three meals a day at The Buttered Biscuit.

The Buttered Biscuit Cafe, 700 Main Street in Bradley Beach. 732-807-4069. BYO. thebutteredbiscuitcafe.com. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 pm for dinner. (Breakfast and lunch served daily.)

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