Traditionally, Super Bowl Sunday is a slow day in the restaurant business, so I’m usually off. The game is one of my favorite events (I’ve even been to a few!) filled with camaraderie and celebration, and, of course, great food.

This year I plan on watching at Nauti Bar in Sea Bright, and there’s no better place to enjoy it on the Jersey Shore literally on the beach, with sights and sounds of the ocean surrounding. I can watch from anywhere inside the bar on five big screen TVs, and we’re planning game day food and drink specials, too (as well as at the bar at Drift house, which is just steps away and with four big screen TVs of its own).

But, if you’re planning to throw your own event, here are some seasoned tips:

A general principle: you don’t want people to have to ask for food or drinks, so set up a buffet and bar with a few dishes from the teams’ home states and a special cocktail or craft beer from the rival regions. From New England to Texas, oysters are always a favorite snack, and are particularly good during the colder months. Opening them takes practice, mind you (in my kitchens, we teach how to shuck by offering to newbies, “If there was money in there, you’d learn how to do it”), and be sure to use an oyster shucking glove and knife. They even come in their own container! Serve with a lemon wedge, Tabasco, or mignonette (a sauce made with red wine vinegar, shallots, and cracked pepper).

And if you love to tailgate, why not do it at home? Set up a TV in your garage, ask your friends over, and have them pull up their cars and bring sports chairs. Make it a block party! If it’s a really cold day, rent a construction heater for the garage and set up a chiminea or two outside for halftime. (Be sure to have a couple of fire extinguishers around).

For game day, I also love taking familiar foods and kicking them up a notch or two. My Angry Shrimp Cocktail reinvents this traditional appetizer. It’s easy to make, the spiciness is unexpected, and the taste is delicious. It’ll be on your game menu for years to come.

Cellini Spread

Main Imge

(Makes four to six servings.)
½ cup sweet chili sauce
½ Tbsp. horseradish
Zest and juice of ½ lemon, plus ½ Tbsp.
Zest and ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Tabasco Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup Wondra Flour
½ tsp. cayenne pepper powder
½ Tbsp. chili powder
½ Tbsp. paprika
1 lb. (16/20) shrimp, peeled
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ small shallot, minced Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. butter

In a small bowl, mix the sweet chili sauce, horseradish, zest and juice of ½ lemon, and Tabasco. Season the angry sauce with salt and pepper and refrigerate.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cayenne, chili powder, and paprika. Set aside. Toss the shrimp in the angry flour. 3. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add shrimp and sear until just cooked through (about two minutes on each side). Add the garlic, shallots, ½ Tbsp. juice zest, ½ Tbsp. lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, and butter. Toss to coat and season with additional salt, if needed. Serve with reserved angry sauce.

Info Box

Drifthouse & Nauti Bar by David Burke
1485 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright / 732.530.9760,,