Barnacle Bill’s fried zucchini with tangy dipping sauce is a perennial favorite, while deep fried pickle spears (below) from the Globe are a newer menu addition. (Photos By Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Eat your vegetables, you were told as a child. They’re good for you. But your mama probably didn’t mean the deep-fried veggies that have been popping up on tavern menus all around the Green.
Belly up to the bar, boys and girls, to try a less healthy but way more fun way to fill your pie hole with roughage. PieHole leads the tour…
With brew, wine or cocktail in hand, sometimes you just want to nibble your way through a conversation sans knife and fork. An order of something hot and crunchy with appropriate dipping sauce offers the perfect go-with.
In Rumson, Barnacle Bills has been slicing and frying up zucchini for years. For $7.95, you get a great big wooden bowlful of non-greasy produce, but remember to ask for extra horseradish sauce, because it is delicious, and the ratio of zucchini to sauce needs to be adjusted.
Shown at right, a small galvanized metal bucket, filled with deep-fried stuffed olives, or ascolini, is a special at the newly opened Birravino in Red Bank. Crisp, crunchy, salty nuggets with a hint of cheese and tomato inside, you can pop these tidbits into your mouth like popcorn.
The Globe in Red Bank has been serving fried pickles that can only be ordered from their menu board. For those new to the concept of a pickle spear that has been breaded and fried, you really need to get with the program. This treat is at the same time, crispy, salty, tangy, with a unique, almost slippery mouth-feel. It’s also food that begs to be washed down by a cold beverage.
Sea Bright’s colorful Dive Bar is tempting palates with corn fritters. Corn cut fresh from the cob is dipped in a green onion and red pepper batter. Fried to crisp nuggets and dusted with cheese, these morsels are served with a jalapeno cheese sauce and an in-house pickled crudite salad, all for $9. A fancy, fried way to eat your veggies, maybe calling for a cocktail or glass of cold white wine.
Staying in Red Bank, PieHole would be remiss if we didn’t include Jamian’s Food and Drink in this deep fried veggiepalooza. The addictive house-made potato chips can be ordered with a side of pico de gallo or cheese sauce. Or you can make your own dip by ordering both, and combining for a tangy complement to the crunch of the chips.