Thursday, January 21, 2010

Seaglass Restaurant- North Salisbury Beach, MA

4 Oceanfront
North Salisbury, MA

Located in the Pavilion at Salisbury Beach, the Sea Glass Restaurant and Lounge seems a bit out of place. The panoramic ocean views are phenomenal. I can't think of another seacoast dining spot that can match them. Large windows on the oceanside of the dining room seem to put you right on top of the waves. The decor is classy contemporary. A large mantled fireplace is the focal point of the dining room. The lounge area features a horseshoe shaped bar that is surrounded by smaller tables and seems to catch a fairly nice little crowd in the evenings. Sea Glass Oceanside offers a well rounded wine list as well. I enjoyed the house Jacob's Creek Cabernet ($5).
Beware, Sea Glass can be pricey, The menu is a la carte, but has a great selection of fresh seafood, farm to table vegetables, and a nice selection of steaks and meat dishes as well. There are a few vegetarian options as well. Even the most finicky of eaters can find something on the menu and Sea Glass is very accommodating in preparing your selection as you would like.
My companion and I could not pass up the Chilled Seafood Platter appetizer (market price $32). It had a selection of lobster meat (half a tail, half a claw), raw oysters(3), raw mussels(3), shrimp( 2), crab meat (a decent serving) and calamari (it does change depending on what the chef has in house that day). It was delicious, but the platter is much larger than the portions served on it which makes it seem like more than it is. I noticed several diners enjoying sharing this appetizer on their tables as well.
The specials' menu does not list prices and when I asked, my waitress said the Executive Chefs, Richard Lambiase and Scott Brandolini do not like to list the prices because they do not want your decision to be based on price. I don't know how I feel about that. Seems a little haughty. They will gladly quote prices if you ask. I always ask. I once was at a restaurant that didn't list the specials pricing and went with a surf and turf. It cost me $75! It wasn't worth it, but that taught me to always ask. My dining companion reminded me to mention the bread basket (you know who you are). The rolls were warm and the accompanying garlic & herb butter was amazing. They change the butter flavor almost weekly. A nice extra I thought. The menu at first seems a bit scattered, but the waitstaff will walk you through it if need be. I chose the fresh catch of Salmon ($17) for my entree and opted to have it grilled topping it with the red onion plum chutney (an additional $2). All fish and steak choices can be prepared grilled, blackened, pan-seared or baked. You can add a sauce to any fish or steak dish for the $2 upcharge. The salmon did not disappoint. I sampled my friend's Icelandic Haddock that had the honey balsamic glaze and that too was very fresh and perfectly cooked. ($18 + $2 for the sauce). An entree comes with choice of 1 side, but the sides are definitely large enough for 2, so you can easily enjoy a starch and a vegetable sharing both. We shared a baked sweet potato and creamed spinach. Post dinner we entertained ourselves by reading the dessert menu, but neither of us had the room, but I will say the selection will make your mouth water a bit, hahahaha.
The service was prompt and very knowledgeable about the menu. We never felt rushed which always enhances my dining experience.
This is an excellent restaurant for a great date, dinner with good friends or a special evening with family when you are looking for a little extra something, the great ocean view, and are willing to pay for it.
They also offer a Sunday Buffet Brunch By The Sea for $25 from 10:30am to 2:00pm. I will definitely return to Sea Glass and try the Sunday Brunch. I want to enjoy the view during the day.
Despite the enjoyable meal and setting I'm not sure that Sea Glass will be able to carry based on location. Although this area of Salisbury Beach is improving, it still has a long way to go to before it reaches upscale. It's a work in progress. It would be nice to see Sea Glass last though because it was a truly enjoyable dining experience.
Sea Glass is open Sunday thru Thursday, 11am-10pm and Friday & Saturday, 11:30am to 11:00pm.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mission Oak Grill- Newburyport, MA

26 Green St
Let me ask you this, when you are craving a perfectly grilled, juicy steak, where do you go? Do you know of a steakhouse on the Seacoast that hasn't let you down? I do. It's Mission Oak Grill in Newburyport, MA. Located up from the harbor a bit on Green St, Mission Oak Grill is my favorite Seacoast steakhouse. It's in an old church space which formally was the Kiwi Grill. It's open 7 nights a week and serves up hand cut meats that are perfectly grilled time and time again. As soon as you walk through the inner set of large wooden doors here, you will feel you have come to the right restaurant for your meal. The decor is simple, but exactly what I seek in a steakhouse atmosphere with its rich leather seating and dark woods. There is a long bar area to the side of the main dining that is always busy and they serve up a great bar menu that is half off - Sunday thru Friday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. The dinner menu covers you from Kansas City Sirloin (to die for at $28) to Alder planked Salmon ($23). I even indulge from time to time in their Bistro Cheeseburger ($12) which is 12 ounces of what a burger SHOULD be and often isn't. Another highlight for me with this restaurant is that they use a lot of local ingredients which I always like to see happening on menus. Time and time again, the service here at Mission Oak Grill has been top notch. I have not had any bad or disappointing dining experiences ever and I have been enjoying this restaurant for a few years now. This is where I often will take friends for special occasions or guests that are in town for a visit because I know how impressed and satisfied they will be with their meals. Thurs-Sun the restaurant is really bustling for dinner so reservations are highly recommended. The extensive international wine list is very impressive (and you know I am a huge wine fan) and the waitstaff is trained and prepared to answer any questions you might have about their wines and pairing options. They use to offer a really nice 3 course prix fixe menu that included a glass of wine, Mondays-Wednesdays I think it was that was an amazing bargain at around $29 and I was sad to see that they don't have that anymore, but would love to see them bring it back.
Upstairs from the main dining room, they do offer the Mission Oak Room for private functions and are often hosting comedy nights and special musical acts.
If you crave a great steak and a truly enjoyable dining experience, make your next stop here.
You can't teach taste and you can't teach style and Mission Oak Grill has both.