The formal setting is unusually attractive, particularly a large, gallerylike room bright with sunlight streaming through picture windows on three sides and reflected in a rear wall paneled with mirrors. A serene, all- white motif is repeated in virtually everything - walls, woodwork, supporting pillars hung with pierced lights, ceiling fans, planters filled with white stones nestled amid potted plants, white tablecloths and napkins and an oil-fed wick in white, long-stemmed holder.
Splashes of color come from fresh magenta carnations on each table; black chairs with gold-colored padded seats and backs; a bold red, blue and yellow carpet and an ornate pedestal table (white, naturally) dressed with a colorful spray of fresh gladioluses, purple liatris and pink carnations, and pots of pink begonias and ivy that hang over the picture windows.
The eclectic menu offers a good variety of dishes at relatively moderate price, particularly for a summer shore restaurant. Johan's "famous" (according to the menu) shore chowder ($3.75) was a subtly herbed, heavy cream delight filled with plump, well-scrubbed mussels, tender whole clams, cubes of potato and carrot, beautifully flavored with sherry. Piping-hot Jersey tomato soup ($2.25), the day's special, was a thin, intense tomato broth touched with celery and carrots.
A handful of ethereally delicate sea scallops in the coquilles St. Jacques appetizer ($4.25) were baked in a lovely cream sauce touched with white wine and assertively flavored with oregano, finished with a veneer of cheese and a whole scallion stalk.
The salad was a colorful festival of Belgian endive, red-tipped lettuce, radicchio, curly endive and ripe Jersey tomatoes in a mild, sour cream-based ranch dressing. Scrumptious sourdough bread was slightly warmed, but came with foil-wrapped butter pats, a mundane touch Johan would never have permitted in his own place.
Grilled pork sate ($15.50), an excellent main dish, was chunks of pork in a moderately spicy peanut sauce, colorfully draped with strips of red, green and orange bell pepper and served on crunchy wild rice. It was garnished with a firm fried banana and a scallion with split ends.
Garlic shrimp (also $15.50), unexpectedly disappointing, was six overcooked jumbo shrimp in the same basic heavy cream sauce used with the other dishes, tossed with Jersey tomatoes, black olives and spinach noodles; surprisingly, there was barely a hint of garlic.
From a dessert tray heaped with irresistible delights ($3.25) came a monumental chocolate hazelnut cake - triple layers of feather-light cake with silk-smooth butter cream, dusted with finely grated chocolate. Mile-high green apple chiffon torte had a base of genoise, topped by layers of vanilla and green chiffon folded with crescents of Granny Smith apples and finished with real whipped cream.
Service was good.
Longport-Somers Point Boulevard, Somers Point, 927-8131
Open: Lunch noon-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; dinner 4-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., until 11 p.m. Fri. & Sat.
Price range: Appetizers average $6, entrees $18
Credit cards: Major cards
Nonsmoking section: No
Facilities for handicapped: Yes
Atmosphere: Symphony in white