Tisha’s Fine Dining (BYO) – Cape May, NJ
Score: 94/100 – $$$$ (see rating guides below)
Meal: Arugula salad with Burrata cheese and red Beets, Pepper crusted Prime Filet medium rare with mash potatoes, green beans and fried onion strings. The shared desert was profiteroles layered with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce.
Wine Pairing: Stags’ Leap 2017 Petit Sirah Napa Valley – Score: 94/100. Wine paired well with Dish: Yes.
Stag’s Leap 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – Score: 91/100. Wine paired well with Dish: Yes.
My wife grew up in Cape May on the Jersey Shore and her family has owned a beach house there for a couple of generations. She visits for a week, or two, in the Summer every year and I usually join her. We always make sure to arrange our reservation for Tisha’s and it is always the culinary highlight of the trip.
Restaurant Menu and Ambiance
The menu rotates every week with as much local in-season produce as possible. The choices are typically American style seafood and meats, with a few other items such as pasta dishes. My wife and I have been visiting Tisha’s for near 20 years now and have never had a mediocre dish. Although, I would suggest the seafood and meats, over the other dishes. The veggies are always in-season and fresh. There is good reason why Jersey is called the Garden State!
The ambiance includes indoor and patio dining with a small, upscale white tablecloth feel. Reservation availability is limited in the Summer. The servers are always friendly and attentive, but the premises can get very busy. Patience is needed for both the kitchen and servers in the Summer – to enjoy the experience. The restaurant staff requires your entire order upon arrival and paces the service for you. It seems a little odd for fine dining, but I have never had a bad experience.
The salad had great flavors and textures. The Arugula was peppery, the Burrata cheese was creamy and fresh and the beets were fresh and sweet… tasted almost like fruit. Nine times out of ten, the beef is out of this world and this was one of those nights. The Filet is on the menu with a bleu cheese flavored butter sauce, but my wife and I prefer the beef without it. The medium-rare steak was a touch towards the medium side, but the beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender and very tasty. The sides were fresh and accompanied the beef well. The desert was very tasty, not too sweet and the pastry was light and airy, but not quite fresh enough to be perfect.
My wife and I enjoy Stags’ Leap wines. Please note, this is NOT Stag’s Leap. If you weren’t aware, the two wineries settled a law suit years ago by agreeing to move the apostrophe. Christophe Paubert (Stags’ Leap winemaker) is French trained and produces wonderfully balanced wines. In contrast, the other Stag’s Leap produces the more typical Napa fruit-tannin bombs.
The Petit Sirah is not a typical U.S. product for this variety. This had a typical fruit driven profile, but was much lighter, structured and balanced. Red and blue fruits were on the nose and palate. The wine was dry with medium tannin, medium+ acidity and a nice long finish. The texture was a bit silky with fine-grained tannin. As a comparison, this was nothing like the very common Michael David Petit Sirah. The wine actually paired well with the Burrata cheese and beets in the salad.
The Cab had a huge fruit-bomb nose, but the palate was not quite as concentrated. Still more fruity than I would prefer, with plum and blackberry on the attack. A rather simple taste profile, but with good balance and excellent structure. The wine was dry with medium tannins, medium+ acidity and a long fruity finish. This cab had the signature Stags’ Leap fine grained tannin. It paired very well with the Filet we had for the main course.
Rating Charts Used in this Review
(Common industry comparative data used with detailed scoring templates)
|97 – 100||Exceptional|
|92 – 96||Excellent|
|89 – 91||Enjoyable|
|85 – 88||Passable|
|80 – 84||Barely Acceptable|
|74 – 79||Choke it Down|
|50 – 73||Flawed|
Restaurant / Food
|97 – 100||Exceptional||3 Star Equivalent|
|92 – 96||Excellent||2 Star Equivalent|
|88 – 91||Enjoyable||1 Star Equivalent|
|82 – 87||Passable||Diner Quality|
|77 – 81||Barely Acceptable||Poor Diner Quality|
|72 – 76||Dump||Dive|
|50 – 71||Should Close||Nuf Said|
|$||$20 and under|
|$$||$20 to $30|
|$$$||$30 – $50|
|$$$$||$50 and over|