Almost anywhere down the Shore it’s easy to drop $20 on a cheesesteak, fries, soda, and a sundae. But just three blocks from the roar of the roller coaster, there’s a great alternative: Café jonpaul.
For that same $20, you can get an arugula salad with goat cheese, pears, and artichokes; pulled pork with fresh mango over puff pastry; and a slice of moist, raspberry-orange Bundt cake.
This cool oasis opened last October offering meal-sized salads, paninis, wraps, and small entrees, all made fresh for under $13. The pistachio-crusted snapper in my sandwich was paired with mango, spinach, and vanilla Brie. Tortellini salad with smoked bacon, turkey, and sun-dried tomatoes on baby spinach, was perfectly dressed in a pesto vinaigrette.
On Tuesdays, the 43-seat cafe (named for its owner, JonPaul Paxton, who owns two other places in town) adds sushi, prepared in house by chef James Wasilewski. We liked the tuna “3-way” platter: seven pieces of spicy tuna roll, three pieces of crunchy crab roll wrapped in tuna, and a sizable mound of tuna sashimi for $15.
Chef “Wazz,” 36, says he is “trying to put a healthier spin on modern American food. Everyone’s going that route these days.”
Not that Café jonpaul is prim. The biggest bargain is desserts—slices of Bundt cake or rich German chocolate cake are only $2.25. The café offers something for everyone, as shown by the mother and two sons who sat at a table near ours. While she ate a Greek salad topped with two large falafels, her older son worked his way through a sushi platter and her younger son devoured his peanut butter and jelly pizza. All healthy…and all delicious.
2501 New Jersey Avenue
Open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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