By Dane Feldman
Photo by Dane Feldman.
I took a weekend trip to Cape May, New Jersey for the first time in almost 10 years. I remembered having dined at a few great places, but neither my parents nor I had been to Frescos before.
My parents and I were served a basket of warm bread on the house with a side of fresh tomato dipping sauce. It is my personal experience that there aren’t enough restaurants that serve warm bread, so already Fresco’s was off to a strong start.
For appetizers, we enjoyed the bruschetta of the day, which included cooked tuna and onions. We ordered two salads (field greens, Bosc pear slices, gorgonzola cheese, honey-glazed walnuts, and charred Vidalia onion vinaigrette) for the table, which provided a generous serving for each of us.
My mother ordered the swordfish in a lemon butter sauce, which came with rice and roasted seasonal vegetables. My father ordered one of the pasta specials: squid ink lasagna with ricotta, Maryland crab meat, and a spicy marinara sauce with calamari. I had grilled salmon encrusted with lemon and herb served with sweet corn risotto and grilled asparagus.
The food was fantastic and I would have been happy eating any of the three main courses we ordered. I thought the sweet corn risotto and the squid ink lasagna were particularly outstanding in flavor, but the flavor pairings as a whole were spot on. My only regret is that we ordered the tuna bruschetta and had I known the tuna would have been cooked, I would have ordered the other tuna appetizer (tuna tartare with avocado on some kind of house-made bread/cracker).
Frescos is BYOB, but it’s worth noting that we didn’t have to ask for a bucket of ice for our wine. Most places will do that for their patrons, but often need reminding.
Our waitress was patient, kind, and helpful as well as cheery and fairly informative. We arrived at 6:55 for a 7:00 reservation and were told it would be a 5-10 minute wait without an apology, which I found a bit strange. We were seated right at 7:00, though, so I can’t say it was annoying, just weird.
The restaurant itself is inside of a beautifully renovated historic house, like many of the buildings in Cape May and West Cape May. Frescos has a screened in porch and a generous indoor seating area split into multiple sections. The lighting was a bit too dark and the acoustics were actually pretty terrible. It was quite loud, which made it slightly difficult to keep up a conversation. Yet the food alone is well-worth the dimly lit loud rooms, and I would absolutely return to Frescos for more.