There is nothing more quintessentially New England than a seafood feast in the summer. In early June, restaurateur Kathy Sidell teamed with Kyle McClelland to open a seafood bar next to her MET Bar Restaurant right off of Newbury Street. The space is very cozy with capacity at 30 seats spread among 4 tables and the bar. You can count on a bit of a wait during peak times because this place is first come first serve.
I tend to avoid most Back Bay restaurants because of the onslaught of tourists and really just prefer my comfort zone otherwise known as the South End. I surprised myself when I suggested this to Mr. E for lunch one weekend, but felt I was grasping at the straws of the fleeting summer heat.
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. The place is cozy. We got lucky and arrived to an open booth near the entrance. It took some maneuvering, but I was able to hoist myself into my seat. The decor in this place is incredibly lively and bright. The bar is adorned with the most beautiful aquamarine tile that look like the scales of a fish.
Behind the bar was one of the most magnificent collections of tinned seafood I’ve ever seen. I’m talking mussels, oysters, tuna, octopus! I think canned seafood gets a little bit of a bum rap. Instead of thinking of your childhood tuna, think chic Europeans sipping on vintage wines and eating canapes topped with seafood canned with the purpose of capturing that pure seafood essence. Without a doubt, it reminded me of our trip to Barcelona earlier this year.
For this trip however, I was on a mission to eat raw things… lots of raw things.
OYSTERS – local, briny and beautiful. I could have easily put down another half dozen of these fresh, plump babies.
TORCHED SALMON BELLY avocado / cucumber / green apple / miso glaze – we got this flavor packed dish right after the oysters came out. It was an overwhelming burst to the senses after eating delicate raw oysters. While it was delicious and had very deep flavors, it totally downplayed the flavors of our next few dishes.
HAMACHI LOIN pineapple & cucumber water / meyer lemon & shiso oil / blood orange gelee – on paper this sounded so refreshing. In real life, this was pretty tasteless. I can’t , say for sure whether it was completely overtaken by the salmon belly right before but this one was pretty bland. Maybe it is just something I should make a mental note for next time not to order the salmon belly until later in the meal.
SMOKED ATLANTIC SALMON pumpernickel everything bagelette / green onion cream cheese / trout roe / yolk – by the time Mr. E ordered this, they’d run out of pumpernickel everything and only had plain bagels left. It came out with smoked salmon piled high, speckled with small dollops of roe all around. He got quiet and ate it swiftly, which can only mean it was good.
ORANGE CLAM – We ordered this because it was a special for the day. This was quite the mound of chopped clam, which arrived to the table quite a bit later than the other items. At first, I thought they’d forgotten about this completely and would have been ok with it given how full I was feeling after my eating sprint with the occasional Veuve Cliquot hydration breaks. When it came, I gave myself a mental groan, knowing full well that Mr. E would not be eating this with me. The texture of the clam varied based on what body part I was working with, but I loved the pieces that had the nice crunch. It was so subtle and sweet that I nearly shed a tear at the thought of wasting what I couldn’t finish it.
Next trip, my goal is to drink wine and eat a healthy sample of their tinned goods. I will be reporting back!
281 Dartmouth St
Boston, MA 02116