By Mark McNease

They call New Jersey ‘the garden state’ for a reason: it’s beautiful and lush, and the Delaware River Valley is one of the most scenic and lovely river valleys in the country. The jokes about Jersey are only made by people who’ve never spent any time there and who rely on easy – and false – stereotypes.

Not only will you find some of the most gorgeous landscapes on the east coast, but you’ll find some of the best dining as well. This past weekend we went with our friends Kathi and Kaye to Milford Oyster House, easily one of the best restaurants for twenty miles around. The Oyster House boasts the outstanding food of Chef Ed Coss, who has been in the restaurant business since he was 16 years old. It shows: every dish is prepared to perfection and delivered by a crew of the most professional, and friendliest, wait staff you’ll likely ever meet. This includes the chef’s sister Amy, who co-owns the restaurant with him and whose signature cheesecake is a staple of the dessert menu, and Amy’s husband, who seats customers and welcomes them into this rustic setting.

It’s not called the oyster house for nothing: our meal started with a selection from their fresh, daily offerings of oysters. There were six different kinds on the menu Saturday night and I selected two of them. Frank tried four for a total of eight – he’s big on oysters. I had their spinach salad, tossed with sesame dressing, diced tomatoes, & enoki mushrooms (unlike, and better than, most spinach salads I’ve had). The others had their ‘Great Garlic Salad,’ which is their version of a Caesar salad only better. For entrees Kaye had the Oyster House Shellfish Stew, Kathi had the succulent fried clams, and Frank and I both had the Crab Norfolk. Everything was superb, cooked exactly as it should be, and served in an atmosphere of relaxation and comfort.

The place was packed when we got there at 6:30 pm so don’t risk arriving without a reservation. The house itself has the feel of, well, a house! There’s a bar, and beyond it a bar-food area, but the main dining room is where the action is. A full staff circulates at warp speed, gliding skillfully through the tables to deliver just what you ordered, just when you expect it. Amy herself works the crowd like a very amiable pro and stopped by our table for a lengthy chat before dessert. Meeting her would be reason enough to eat here. But trust me, this is an exquisite dining experiences and easily gets five not-easy-to-get yums. (That’s two in a row now, I expect something not quite so fantastic soon.)

92 Water Street Milford, NJ 08848
(908) 995-9411

Ratings are based on a 5 yum system, with 1 being don’t waste your time and 5 being this as good as you’ll likely find in this life.

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