Occasionally, you can smell the ocean from outside my office near the North End. Maybe it's just a nearby fountain or open hydrant or the aquarium, but it serves to remind me that Boston has a seafaring heritage. That said, if you're not careful buying your seafood here, you can get scrod.
We all know that Anthony Bourdain warns against ordering fish on a Monday, but as it turns out, Monday is my go-to double header fish day with two quality establishments: lunch at Captain Marden's Cod Squad Food Truck followed by a trip to Red's Best Seafood at the Boston City Hall Farmers Market to pick up something to cook for dinner.
I've praised Captain Marden before, so I'll be brief today. I was on the fence between fish n chips and the tuna melt. I asked for the chef's choice and ended up with the haddock sandwich. $11 got me the sandwich, a ton of fries, cole slaw, onion, lettuce and tomato, and a nice touch, a lemon wedge. I was offered cheese, too, but declined. The haddock was delicate and flaky, and was neither overwhelmed nor cheated by the crust. Delightful if a bit much for a lunch, maybe they can offer a "just the sandwich" version sans fries in the future. Cod Squad also offers a range of salads topped with seafood.
At Red's Best, you can get a variety of fresh - not frozen - seafood, all caught by local fisherman and monitored all the way along the chain to make sure that you're getting the kind of fish you think you're getting. There's a good variety of fin fish and shellfish, but if you don't get here on the early side, things have a way of selling out. I scooped up some scallops ($22/lb) that were super sweet and went very well with the kale from a nearby farm stand. If you're concerned about the source and sustainability of your seafood, I recommend a Red's highly. The hardest thing for me is remembering to bring the fish home after stowing it in the fridge at the office for the afternoon.