Seafood is quick and easy to prepare, and it’s perfect for many occasions. Try it raw, fried, grilled, sautéed, broiled, baked, smoked, or steamed. At your next cookout, ditch the burgers and hotdogs and throw some shellfish or marinated fish on the grill. Visit the many fish markets and restaurants on the Island to sample your favorite seafood, to see what the local catch is, or to try something new.
Here is a just a selection (there are many, many more) of Island markets and restaurants that make an effort to serve local seafood.
This Thursday April 18, head over to the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs for an all-you-can-eat fish fry from 5 to 8 pm. The cost is $12 for adults and $7 for children.
On Saturday, April 20, help raise funds for the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group at the Chilmark Community Center. The second annual Shellfish Extravaganza begins at 7 pm and includes a silent auction, $1 raw bar, drinks, music by Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, and a chowder contest featuring restaurants from around the Island. Tickets are $25 at the door.
Petey Berndt from Coop de Ville in Oak Bluffs:
Signature menu item: Steamed Baltimore shrimp and steamers.
Most popular menu items: Monday Madness: lobster rolls and fries. Tuesday Lobster Fest: lobster and steamed corn (the record is 225 lobsters served in one day). Thursday: whole clambake for everything but the kitchen sink for $35. Raw bar happy hour, every day from 4 to 6 pm.
New this year: Kickin’ Cajun chicken sandwich, buffalo chicken sandwich, and garden salad with chicken.
Favorite fish or seafood: Fried shrimp with cocktail sauce, or steamed Baltimore shrimp. That’s what I grew up eating.
Most overlooked fish: We use Alaskan pollock for our fish sandwich, it’s not as well-known as codfish.
Check out Coop de Ville in Oak Bluffs this Thursday, April 18, for opening day or stop by on Friday, April 19, to hang out with Shipyard Brewing Company and Long Trail Brewing Company for promotions from 4 to 6 pm. This season, owner Petey Berndt plans to feature beers from small New England breweries and offer “big beers to share.” The new kitchen is up and running and chefs Tony and Lawrence are ready to go.
The menu will continue to feature New England fare with some Baltimore flair, a tribute to Mr. Berndt’s hometown. Along with their 12 flavors of “world famous wings,” the Coop will offer meals to share including a fisherman’s platter for two and a clambake for four.
Faith Vanderhoop from Faith’s Seafood Shack in Aquinnah (opened last weekend, open every day, weather permitting, with a limited menu that expands daily):
Signature menu item: Lobster roll. On a buttered hot dog bun with lettuce, the lobster salad is made with a lemon mayo. With four ounces of lobster meat, it’s a great deal.
Most popular menu item: In the summer, the fish tacos with cilantro slaw and Baja sauce. They are made with baked fish, whatever is the local catch of the day. It could be bluefish, bass, or tuna.
Favorite fish or seafood: Lobster, if I was open every day of the year I wouldn’t be sick of it.
Most overlooked fish: Don’t knock bluefish ’til you try it.
Tip for making chowder: To open quahogs, throw them in the freezer and they will pop open. People like to steam them but that toughens the meat. Be on the lookout for clear broth chowder coming soon.
Louie Larsen from The Net Result in Vineyard Haven (closed Tuesdays):
Most popular item: Codfish
Signature item: Smoked bluefish paté is the biggest seller.
New this year: We’re still playing with it, trying to come up with another sandwich.
Favorite fish or seafood: Yellowtail flounder.
Most overlooked fish: Hake is going to be more popular and is much less expensive than haddock and codfish. It has a firm texture with a good price point and works well in chowder.
Cooking tips: You don’t want to overcook or over-spice seafood. The simpler the better. I prefer to bake fish.
Stanley Larsen from Menemsha Fish Market in Chilmark (open daily):
Most popular item: Right now bay scallops are at great prices.
Signature item: A lot of nice fresh local lobster. Lots of local seafood like wild mussels, the sweetest mussels you’ve ever tasted.
Favorite fish or seafood: Clam chowder. Every single person tells me it’s the best they’ve ever had. It’s a New England clam chowder.
New this year: Marketing local conch.
Most overlooked fish: Whiting is a very flavorful fish; there are many ways that you can cook it and it’s very affordable.
Cooking tips: I like to steam seafood in water with spices. It’s a quick cook, easy cleanup, and the fish tastes really good.
Danny Larsen from Edgartown Seafood:
Most popular item: Seasonally, bay scallops and lobster, mostly local stuff.
Signature item: Bluefish paté. We have a lot of patés and spreads.
Favorite fish or seafood: Yellowtail flounder is my all-time favorite. I’ve never met anyone that didn’t like it. I’ve been eating it since I was a baby.
Most overlooked fish: A lot of people are getting used to sea bass. Also local oysters.
Cooking tips: Yellowtail flounder is great fried or wrapped around asparagus or broccoli and baked. Large sea scallops are good on the grill, not a lot of people think to do that.
Advice: Eat more fish.
Shawn Ready from Edgartown Meat and Fish Market:
Most popular item: We do a Key West marinade on our swordfish and lemon pepper shrimp skewers. Cilantro lime scallop skewers are also really popular.
Signature item: We make our own super lump crab cakes.
New this year: This year we are doing a full raw bar with shrimp cocktail, Katama Sweet Neck oysters, and littlenecks. We will also have a new sushi bar this summer, opening Mother’s Day, and half-pound lobster rolls at the café.
Favorite fish or seafood: Atlantic swordfish.
Most overlooked fish: We’ll bring in monkfish and sea bass, if people are looking for something more creative, we always try to find local stuff.
Cooking tips: When we cut our steaks we cut them thick, so that there is a wider margin to hit for that perfectly cooked fish. Also, try littlenecks on the grill.
Sandra Healy from John’s Fish Market and Sandy’s Fish ‘n Chips (opening April 24, with daily lunch specials):
Most popular item: In the fish market it’s halibut. In Sandy’s it’s Sandy’s famous fish burger served with coleslaw, onions, cheese on a toasted sesame seed bun. Also our lobster roll.
Signature item: Homemade cole slaw and potato salad.
Favorite fish or seafood: Stuffed yellowtail rollups.
New this year: Chili glazed salmon.
Cooking tips: We give cooking tips to each customer that comes in to buy fish. One thing that we tell people to do for swordfish is coat it with mayo, lemon juice, and fresh ground black pepper and cook on grill or in the oven. It keeps it moist and helps prevent it from overcooking.
Larsen’s Fish Market in Menemsha will reopen on May 2.