Friday, February 15, 2013

Seafood With Sass . . . For Lenten Season

Ryan McCaskey brings back his famed lobster "pot pie" for winter at Acadia. (Photo: Acadia)

OK, so you've given up meat for Lent. Or you just need a break from all that heavy wild game and want to delve into something different.

Don't even think about consuming one of those super-dry fish sandwiches at the "golden arches." It's time to upgrade. And Acadia executive chef/partner Ryan McCaskey should certainly be able to make you happy with one of his most famous seafood dishes.

McCaskey's lobster "pot pie" first appeared on the now-shuttered Rushmore's menu when he was executive chef (now Vera). In its new life, it's more refined with locally sourced ingredients, which help the flavors pop. The Stonington lobster is surrounded by pommes Dauphine, arancini, black trumpet mushrooms and Thumbelina carrots in a rich bisque. The dish is crowned with a house-made sour cream pastry—which serves as the crust. It's $38.

If the price is a bit steep for you, McCaskey also uses the Stonington lobster in his lobster roll ($16). For ultra-freshness, the rolls are flown in daily from Maine. It comes with house-made salt/vinegar chips.

LUXBAR's sweet chili fried calamari with Nichols Farm bell peppers and hoisin-chili sauce. (Photo: LUXBAR)

Bel 50 has come up with the perfect alternative for those craving chicken and waffles: fried fish in a waffle. Chef Brad Alexander's fish and chips waffle sandwich ($7.95) features potato-crusted cod and is available through Lenten season. On the regular menu is also a smoked salmon waffle sandwich with chive cream fraiche and cucumber. It's also $7.95.

At Gold Coast newcomer Da Lobsta, former Zealous chef/owner Michael Taus acts as consultant for the crustacean-focused menu. Prices range $8.95-$12.95 for shrimp, blue crab and lobster rolls; order them with Asian, Greek, Indian or Mexican seasonings. There's also lobster chopped salad, lobster grilled cheese and lobster mac 'n' cheese ($8-$12.95).

LUXBAR's Michael McDonald has been tinkering around with the menu a lot since taking over the kitchen last summer. He's adding local ingredients whenever possible like in the sweet chili fried calamari with Nichols Farm bell peppers and hoisin-chili sauce. It's $11.75.

Pleasant House Bakery's fish and chips (Photo: Pleasant House Bakery)

To warm you up, Old Town Pour House's Paul Katz is doing his version of comfort-food fave pot pie. His seafood pot pie includes fresh scallops, snapper and cod mixed in with fresh veggies and sherry gravy in a puff pastry crust. It's $12.

The husband-and-wife team of Art Jackson and Chelsea Kalberloh Jackson have a great thing going in Bridgeport with Pleasant House Bakery. They've made a name around town for their tasty, English-inspired pies, but also for the fish and chips ($12). They're beer batter-fried cod with crispy chips with a side of home-made preserved Meyer lemon tartar sauce.

Old Town Social's new seafood tacos by chef/owner Jared Van Camp are quite tasty, but beware that you'll eat one in two bites! The fish taco comes with beer-batter tilapia, cabbage and avocado crema, while the spicy shrimp taco is cooled off with fresh cilantro, tomatoes and a lime. Both are $3.50.

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