Saturday, November 10, 2007

Atlantic Fish Co. a Second Chance

My regular hang out is a place called Cigar Masters in Boston's Back Bay on Boylston St. There are a few of us that are regulars there and I recently met this one guy who works at Atlantic Fish Co. as a bartender. I went on my usual rant about the mediocre time I had at Atlantic Fish when I last dined there. So the guy, his name is Joe (but I don't think it is spelled that way but that's irrelevant to this) tells me I should come in a give it another try, especially because he claims to make a killer Manhattan which is my mixed drink of choice. He also informed me that they were running a skate wing special, which has turned out to be one of my favorite fish. So I decided to give the place a second shot and the results were very different from my last trip.

I sat at the bar, unlike last time where I sat at a table in the back of the dining room. Some of you may recall me commenting on the ridiculous floppy touqes that all the cooks wear in the kitchen and sitting at the bar avoided me having to look at what ends up looking like a kitchen full of culinary students, but I digress. The bar is a great place to sit at and have a meal, especially when you have great service. Both Joe and his female compatriot are the epitome of what bartenders should be, friendly, skilled knowledgeable and great sales people for the menu.

As it is a seafood restaurant and I really wanted oysters, I had to go for a half dozen oysters. Last time I went for the fried oysters and they came in this down folded paper bag which was greasy and very informal for such a formal restaurant. I hope someone from the restaurant reads this and gets the hint, the bags are absurd in a restaurant like this. The fresh oysters I got this time were great, fresh one of them wasn't the best looking oyster I ever had, I feel they shouldn't of served it in its torn up condition but it was fine nonetheless.

I then went with the shrimp saute. About 4-5 shrimp sauteed with sun dried tomatoes, olives and topped with shaved ricotta salata. One of the best shrimp dishes I have eaten. Very simple, but properly cooked and nice clean simple flavors that went well together and the dish was seasoned well.

For an entree, I went with the skate wing which is what I had come in for. Really, really, really good. The skate wing was sauteed with a nice lemon butter sauce and topped with a thinly julienned salad of raw sugar snap peas. Evidence of someone with pretty good knife skills in the kitchen. It was served with a very tasty celeriac and potato puree which one rarely finds when dining out.

For dessert I went with the peanut butter pie, very simple ice cream with a chocolate crumb crust and some peanut butter in it. Honestly this was the only thing I wasn't excited about. Too simplistic, but this may be what the patrons go for here. The Grand Marnier at the end was much more important as was the perfect espresso, which when it come out of a machine like they have there I would hope it would be perfect The machine must've cost them a fortune.

The wine list is a bit limited, in that it features mostly American wines with some Old World wines tossed in for when guys like me show up and don't want a New World wine all the time. The list does have a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, but for those of you that don't know, you pretty much get the first level by mailing in the processing fee and having a wine list, perhaps you need to have a restaurant as well, not sure if that is necessary (I'm kidding). There was a Guy Saget Sancerre at 8.00/glass and a Puilly Fume at 8.75/glass which is UNHEARD of in Boston. Getting a glass of wine for $8.00 in Boston is like hitting the lotto, and a good glass at that. So this is one of the hidden secrets I feel at Atlantic Fish Co., if you want to go out and have a few drinks without even having dinner, you have to go here because it is a bargain.

So after this trip obviously I am a reformed man. All of my friends at Cigar Masters were telling me I must of had a bad experience the prior visit and I am convinced that they were correct. The menu is not cheap, but the portions are worth the expense as you are getting what you pay for. I suggest going for some of the inventive dishes on the right side of the menu, I would stay away from what I had last time which was the Chilean Sea Bass with lobster ravioli. The fish was great, but the raviolis are mediocre at best, tough, little flavor and obviously purchased frozen. All in all though I would say I will be returning here again soon.

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