Cheaper isn’t Better.
Janine: Ray’s Seafood in Little Silver is one of the first restaurants we went to when we moved to the area. We have eaten there quite a bit over the past five years. It is a small restaurant with a retail seafood store next door.
Chris: Ray’s caters to an older clientele. It reminds me of one of those no frills Seafood restaurants in Florida that retirees flock to. We suggest you go a little later if you want a good table. The peak dining time seems to be between 5:00 and 6:00 PM.
Janine: A few years back, my husband and I were regulars on Fridays during Lent. Being creatures of habit, we usually ordered the same items. Mussels served in white wine and garlic was our choice for an appetizer followed by entrees of baked or grilled seafood. The wait staff would recognize us. They remembered our drink orders and always provided extra bread for sopping up the Mussel broth. The food was nothing fancy, but it was consistent and a good value.
Chris: Lately Ray’s has been missing on all fronts. The quality of seafood has deteriorated. The preparation has been shoddy, and the service uneven.
Janine: We’ve been told the restaurant has changed chefs/owners twice in the past five years. The original, experienced wait staff has also turned over. A bunch of new faces can be seen working in front of the house. Service has suffered.
Chris: Serving the food in a reasonable amount of time seems to be a challenge when the restaurant is busy. To be fair, I do not believe it is the wait staff’s fault. They try their best but if the food isn’t ready, they can’t serve it. My hunch is the flow in the kitchen is the culprit. The workspace is very small and cramped. The dupes tend to pile up fast with a crowd. The backlog creates a bottleneck. We have literally seen guest vent their frustrations on the waitresses. I wanted to intervene by saying, “It’s not their fault, there is no food coming out of the kitchen…”
Janine: Lately, the food has been mediocre at best. We root for this place because there are not a lot of decent, reasonably priced seafood restaurants in the area (Frustrating since we are near the shore). The menu has not changed over the past several years. It’s pretty straight forward. Most of the seafood selections can be ordered baked, fried, or broiled. A few composed dishes are offered but some of the ingredient combinations are counter intuitive to us (Blackened fish with Gorgonzola Compound butter? Cioppino served over risotto?).
Chris: There is also a hand written list of daily specials tucked inside the menu. Unfortunately, these offerings haven’t changed in several years. One must ask if these are really daily specials or just a list of standard dishes that were left off the menu?
Janine: The philosophy that “Cheaper is better” keeps Ray’s in business. The older crowd seems to enjoy it, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
125 Markham Place
Little Silver, NJ 07739