Still not sure where to eat in Monmouth or Ocean County?

After three weeks of hearty competitions among the best of the best, it is time to crown the winner of Restaurant Madness 2013!

2013’s Best Restaurant at the Jersey Shore is:

Restaurant Madness 2013 winner Drew's Bayshore Bistro!

Drew’s Bayshore Bistro is one of my favorite restaurants, and has been for years. James Beard-nominated chef and owner Drew Araneo and his wife, manager Tracy, first opened Drew’s on Broad Street in downtown Keyport in 2005.

Drew and Tracy Araneo of Drew's Bayshore Bistro
Drew and Tracy Araneo (Laurie Cataldo)

They moved to a larger location a few blocks down on Front St. in July 2011. A couple months later, it was a close call with Hurricane Irene, but they made it through. In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy wasn’t as kind.

Drew’s Bayshore Bistro was flooded with 5 ½ feet of water, and forced to close for four months. Unable to reopen the space they were in, they moved again, and reopened on March 5, 2013 at the corner of East Front and Church St. in Keyport.

The new location is incredible, beautifully decorated by Grace Sharpe, of Grace Your Space, who donated her time and work. The entire staff had a hand in building the new place. Sous Chef Joe Armenti even worked on the space’s construction, literally building the new Drew’s Bayshore Bistro from the ground up.

Drew's Bayshore Bistro
Hard to tell in this photo, but this view is gorgeous at night...perfect place to watch the sunset! (Laurie Cataldo)

There’s a gorgeous water view, the staff, which have been with Drew’s for years, are awesomely friendly, but when it comes down to it, what makes a restaurant really spectacular is the food.

Drew says his food is ‘New American with a New Orleans accent.’ You can get some Cajun and Creole staples like crawfish etouffee (one of my faves), jambalaya, and shrimp and grits (also amazing, and Chef Drew’s favorite.) They also do an excellent braised short rib, crab cake, a scallop dish, and the super popular pork du jour, a daily pork special (and Tracy’s favorite.)

The most popular dish at Drew’s though, is not an entrée, but an appetizer, and is my absolute favorite dish at the Jersey Shore: VooDoo Shrimp. (The Lazy Lobster at Restaurant Madness runner-up Brandl. is a VERY close second when it comes to favorites.)

VooDoo Shrimp at Drew's Bayshore Bistro
VooDoo Shrimp! (Laurie Cataldo)

It’s a spicy combination of shrimp, worcestershire cream sauce, jalapeno cornbread, and magic (VooDoo!). It’s lick-the-bowl good. (Seriously, I had to hold Duzzy back last time we were there.)

My favorite desserts? The salty pretzel chocolate-caramel tart and Irish car bomb sundae.

The best part? Everything except the bread is homemade…even the ice cream. It’s a seasonal menu with daily specials, and they offer gluten-free and vegetarian entrees.

Drew's Bayshore Bistro
Laurie Cataldo

Drew’s is open at 25 Church St. in Keyport 7 days a week: Sunday-Wednesday 5p – 9p; Thursday – Saturday 5p-10p.

Reservations are strongly recommended, (especially now) at 732-739-9219. (It's a BYO, so stop and pick up a bottle of Gewurtztraminer or a good local craft beer before you stop in!)

Congratulations to the entire crew at Drew’s Bayshore Bistro on being named the Best Restaurant at the Jersey Shore! Special thanks to everyone who played along and voted in Restaurant Madness 2013!

Restaurant Madness gift cards
Tom Dunphy

Don't forget, there is still time to win $50 gift certificates to some of our incredible Restaurant Madness participants (including Drew's!) by clicking HERE. Time to enjoy Jersey Shore Restaurant Week!

More From 94.3 The Point