boondocks1Scenes from a recent Tuesday night at Boondocks. That’s owner Kelly Ryan at upper left with Mike Harper and Megan Prenderville. At upper right is chef Chris Kelber; lower right, the blackened grouper platter. (Click to enlarge)

Think of it as waterfront access for the rest of us.

Anyone familiar with Red Bank’s northern edge knows that river access is at premium. Hotels, private residences and marinas hog most of the Navesink River shoreline. It’s inaccessible to all but the most adventurous from Riverside Gardens Park. And while one might drop a baited line or crab pot from the pier at Marine Park, there’s no getting one’s feet wet — never mind that the pier and promenade are completely off-limits now for a planned reconstruction.

Hell, there’s even a battle raging over how much access the public should have to about 50 feet of frontage at the foot of Maple Avenue.

So it’s no small thrill to find that, after a two-year interval, waterfront dining is back on the Navesink here. And for many patrons of the new Boondocks restaurant, it’s a double thrill to discover that the simple seafood menu is done with panache.

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