732 River Dr
Many years ago, a friend of mine invited me to a place called DP’s Pub in Garfield, NJ after raving about their fresh seafood dishes that they obtain daily from the Fulton Street Fish Market in New York City. I was expecting an upscale modern Gastro Pub with extravagant prices to match their extensive menu. I was wrong. When I first drove up to DP’s that night, I thought I might have looked up the wrong address on the interwebs. As I meandered closer to the building, I thought to myself, this two story multi-colored suburban house could not be the seafood haven that my friend was speaking so highly of. Again, I was wrong.
Upon entering the building, I half expected the inside to not match the outside, in some mysterious Dr. Who like way, but yet again, I was wrong. As I walked into DP’s, the wood paneling that covers damn near everything, reminded me of the folly of 1970’s design. At first sight, DP’s is the type of bar that you would be nervous ordering a draught beer from, none the less sit down for a three course meal. Never the less, I trusted my friend’s foodie knowledge and sat down expecting the worst. What I got was a much needed lesson in; don’t judge a book by its cover.
DP’s décor might be stuck in the 1970’s but much to my delight, so are their prices. Their regular menu features amazing dishes that are so inexpensive that you really feel like you just got out of your DeLorean and stopped for a bite to eat before you have to go, Back to the Future. Appetizers, such as Fried Clams for $1.75 a dozen, Clams on the Half Shell for $6.75, and Shrimp Scampi for $4.95 are just a few of the great choices. Their entrees are equally as amazing, for example you can dine on Chicken Parmigiana for $7.95, Broiled Twin Lobster Tails for $13.95 or Sliced Steak with Butter Sauce for $8.95. Even though these items always sound tempting, and my fellow diners seem to order these items more often than not, when I go to DP’s I only order off one menu, the daily specials.
The daily specials are equivalent to a five-star seafood restaurants, except that DP’s menu is on the wall, made out of wood, of course, instead of an ornate menu that is handed to you by a server in white gloves. On any given day the specials differ and that is just how I like it. From Broiled Cajun Catfish for $7.95 to Shark Steak for $8.95 you never quite know what sea fare you will be dining on when you walk into DP’s, but I can guarantee it will be fresh, delicious, and inexpensive.
DP’s was my initial choice for the first review because I feel it epitomizes the idea of the Blue Collar Foodie Blog, so off to Garfield, NJ we went. We drove around the block to find parking, which is scarce but can usually be found on one of the adjacent streets, and located a parking spot about a block away. When we arrived, there was a short wait, approximately 15 minutes which is to be expected on a Friday or Saturday night. To pass the time, I suggest procuring a drink from the bar and watching whatever sport is on the televisions that are strewn about the dining area.
Within minutes we were seated and the waitresses took our order promptly. I was very excited to see a new item on the Daily Specials that I have never encountered before, Lobster Mac and Cheese for only $6.95, which I ordered as an appetizer with the Broiled Stuffed Flounder for $8.95 as my entrée. My wife, Kat, who does not eat seafood by the way, ordered Fried Clams for her appetizer, which shows how good these are, and Chicken Parmigiana for her entrée. The guest foodie that accompanied us, could not resist ordering the Lobster Mac and Cheese as well, and went with the Stuffed Shrimp as her main course. Every entrée at DP’s comes with a salad and a side dish, which by the way, should never be anything other than garlic fries, unless of course you ordered an Italian dish, which should be accompanied by their pasta. The pasta is topped with a homemade tangy pasta sauce that is truly a welcome treat.
While we waited for our food to arrive we decided to have another round of drinks. DP’s serves a selection of bottled and draught beers, as well as wine and cocktails. To be expected though, you are not going to find $50 dollar bottles of wine or obscure micro brews at this establishment, the wine comes in small single serve plastic bottles and the beer is mostly domestic brews that can be found at any local tavern. But to be honest I am not at DP’s to get a fancy drink and discuss politics, I am there for the seafood and to relax after a hard day’s work.
Our appetizers arrived first and the Lobster Mac and Cheese was out of this world! I have had this dish before at other, self proclaimed, foodie spots and have always been disappointed with the amount of lobster they put in this dish. Not DP’s, every bite I took had Lobster in it and it was swimming in a delectable cheese sauce that was just salty enough. Both our friend and I devoured this wondrous appetizer and did not leave as much as one noodle in the bottom of the dish. As for Kat’s Clam Strips, there is not much to say about these delightfully fried morsels of yumminess, other than they never fail to make me smile. They are fried to perfection every time and served with a side of tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.
The salad was then served, which comes with a choice of dressings. This is not an endive salad with raisons and gouda cheese, this is a basic salad to cleanse your palate and get your taste buds ready for the insane amount of flavor that is about to rock your world when the real food hits the table. It consists of lettuce and 2 tomatoes, nothing more, nothing less.
As far as the main courses go at DP’s, I have never been disappointed and this outing was no different. The portion size is always absurd compared to the pricing and I have not once left this eatery hungry. With that said, some places promise large portions and deliver tasteless, bland, albeit huge dishes. Not DP’s, every bit of food that is served on your plate is not only of the highest quality but it is cooked and seasoned with precision. The Broiled Stuffed Flounder was a mouthwatering delicious piece of fish that was busting at the seams with crab meat, scallops, and more. Sitting beside my flounder was a generous portion of Garlic Fries, which are a perfect companion to this dish. Sure you can get rice or vegetables to be healthy, but I can be healthy any day of the week, I go to DP’s to eat!
The best part of the dining experience at DP’s pub is that when the meal is over and the check hits the table you don’t gasp for air. The damage for this awe inspiring meal and libations that I just described was $66.00 with the tip included. I must also mention that at DP’s cash is king and no other form of payment is accepted, so stop at the bank before you head over. Reasonably priced fresh amazing food is why DP’s is a must for all Blue Collar Foodies from near and far.
The Blue Collar Foodie Says:
Overall: 4 out of 5 Lunch Boxes
Taste: 4 out of 5 Lunch Boxes
Presentation: 3 out of 5 Lunch Boxes
Value: 5 out of 5 Lunch Boxes
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That lobster mac and cheese looks incredible. If I can get there by train, This will be on my list next time I’m stateside.