A Winter’s Tale: Daymark on Long Beach Island

The stylish and light-filled seafood restaurant at Barnegat Light offers fetching cocktails and a raw bar.

The dining room at Daymark restaurant on Long Beach Island, in Barnegat Light, New Jersey
The dining room at Daymark on Long Beach Island.

Today’s restaurant report is by contributor John Howard-Fusco. I’ll be back tomorrow.—Andrea Clurfeld

Taking advantage of a warm weekend in winter, I drove the short distance from my house, over the causeway to Long Beach Island. Before taking a stroll by the lighthouse, I visited the new Daymark Bar & Restaurant in Barnegat Light.

Paul and Brian Sabarese—the brothers who transformed the faded Bayberry Inn in Ship Bottom into the beer-centric gastropub The Arlington—have turned what for many years was Rick’s American Café into Daymark, a bright, modern-looking restaurant with a nautical theme. It’s a welcome change from the diners and comfort food joints all too common on the island.

The playful interior features stressed whitewashed walls and brassy marine lighting at each booth. Large windows let in plenty of light. The white-tiled floor and weathered wood give the bar a bit of a fish-market feel, minus the packed ice. Yet it isn’t a total ilusion—there’s a raw bar with daily specials.

At Daymark restaurant on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, a crabcake sandwich.

Crabcake sandwich. Photo: John Howard-Fusco

The centerpiece of the menu was the lively selection of cocktails, which fits our mixology-mad times. The list will not overload you with choices, but what is there will be worth considering. The Barrel-Aged Manhattan was a smooth operator, while gin and sparkling wine gave the Rhubarb Sparkler finesse without being overly sweet.

At Daymark restaurant on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, a Rhubarb Sparkler cocktail, left, and a barrel-aged Manhattan.

Daymark’s Rhubarb Sparkler, left, and barrel-aged Manhattan. Photo: John Howard-Fusco

I found the appetizers just slightly off the mark. Calabrian chili-glazed wings were fried to a delectable crispness, but the glaze itself was barely present. Our colorful plate of steamed mussels with potatoes and generous slathering of saffron cream needed a hint of salt to bring it together.

Entrees met with greater success. The obligatory crabcake sandwich, with a healthy pile of house-made potato chips, was quite respectable. But the surprise was the ramen bowl with shrimp, pork belly and a poached egg. It made for a hearty meal, one you could almost imagine a fisherman slurping down to warm his bones after a chilling day at sea.

At Daymark restaurant on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, Ramen bowl with pork belly and vegetables.

Ramen bowl with pork belly and vegetables. Photo: John Howard-Fusco

Daymark provides an inviting space where people can enjoy nibbles and drinks while admiring the views of Barnegat Light. Even in the waning weeks of winter.

Daymark Bar & Restaurant, 404 Broadway, Barnegat Light. 609-494-2100. daymarklbi.com. Open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, brunch Saturday and Sunday.

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