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Critic Eats 'Stale Oyster Crackers and Bad Horseradish' on the Jersey Shore

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What's Craig LaBan up to this week?

Magrogran's Oyster House
Magrogran's Oyster House
Magrogran's Oyster House

Fitting for a holiday weekend, critic Craig LeBan travels to the Jersey Shore to test out a few seafood houses and the results are mixed. LeBan still misses the she-crab soup from long-standing seafood restaurant Busch's, but he soldiers on to find a replacement for the shuttered beach staple.

Of the all restaurants he visits, LeBan finds the most amount of problems at Doc Magrogran's Oyster House. There's no bread service, so he settles for "stale oyster crackers and bad horseradish" while waiting 90 minutes for entrees. While probably hangry at that point, LeBan finds the lobster bisque "lukewarm and gluey," the oysters not as cold as he would prefer, scallops "tepid and strangely chewy," the risotto solidified, and the seafood pot dry and unimpressive. But, oh, the fish and chips are "pretty good."

Quahog's Seafood Shack, however, is a "solid success." LeBan enjoys the Latin-influenced menu of fresh hamachi, fish cake paired with smoked trout, barbacoa surf and turf, and especially the "Brazilian moqueca, a colorful tumble of seafood and chorizo delicately poached in a gingery, yellow-tinted coconut broth topped with rice greened with garlic and parsley."

Dock's Oyster House fares pretty well. LeBan likes the "perfectly cooked big lobster" and potato-crusted flounder, but is sad that the ice holding up his raw oysters melted before it hit his table.

Local beers and "excellent" lobster salad keep Fins Bar & Grille afloat. The crab pizza and lobster-topped burger aren't so bad either.

Go to Crabby Paddy's for the crab cakes and SpongeBob jokes.

LeBan gives his go-tos on a few more here.