Through the years, more than a half dozen eateries have come and gone at the Docks, but since 1999, Real Seafood Co. has proved to be a mainstay at the city's premier restaurant location.
We visited the restaurant for both lunch and dinner and were impressed with how the restaurant has maintained its commitment to excellent service. During both visits, our waitresses were attentive and accommodating. The interior of the restaurant is impeccable, with oversized leather chairs for seating and beautiful glass artwork throughout.
Some diners were casual in shorts and jeans; however, the environment called for a more dressy look, especially at dinner.
MENU: Real Seafood Co.
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During our lunch visit, the restaurant had a steady crowd of people visiting. We ordered fish and chips ($13.95), beer-battered scrod with french fries. At first glance, the portions looked a bit skimpy, but proved to be quite filling. The two pieces of fish were thick cuts covered with a thin layer of batter and were deep fried. The batter was a nice mix of salty and crunchy, with the slightest hint of sweetness.
We also ordered the shrimp wrap ($10.95); ginger fried shrimp tossed in a sweet sesame sauce, rice, red onions and lettuce rolled in a flour tortilla. Despite being loaded down with rice, the wrap was quite tasty. The shrimp were a good size, and the sweet and tangy sauce mixed well with the peppery ginger flavor and crispy batter on the shrimp.
Like the fish and chips, the block island swordfish ($13.95) was small, but packed a gut-busting punch. The fillet had the consistency of a much thicker meat, such as chicken or pork. We ordered ours grilled, but couldn't decide if it was under-cooked or moist and tender. We'll let you figure that one out.
Also tried, was the seafood jambalaya ($4.95 cup/$6.95 bowl), a thick tomato based soup, filled with onions, peppers and cajun spices. The soup didn't contain the shell fish that is traditionally used, but instead was filled with small chunks of swordfish and mahi mahi. The soup was delicious, but we were a bit confused by the choice of fish.
At $50 a serving, the steamed Alaskan King crab legs were a disappointment. The shells were too soft to crack and the meat was almost dripping wet. They were served cut and partially open, which made a for cold meat.
For dinner, the restaurant was even more crowded and filled with families with children, couples and small groups. Our waitress took the time to explain the menu and gave us a brief background on the restaurant, noting that it receives its seafood from purveyors in the New England area about every three days. The restaurant cuts the fish in-house and makes everything from scratch (except the bread), including all sauces.
We ordered the Lake Superior whitefish ($22.95), served blackened. The fish was seasoned with a blend of cajun spices, seared, and served with cilantro aioli, but we nixed the sauce. The seasoning went only as far as the first bite and didn't permeate the fish as we'd hoped. We also weren't impressed with how wet the fish was, but that could be the result of plastic plate covers that trap in steam and moisture. It could also be how the dish is served at the restaurant.
The stuffed Atlantic salmon ($25.95) was much better. The thick, flaky fish was rich in oil, lightly seasoned and filled with a creamy stuffing that was loaded with crab meat, shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, and drizzled with a lemon butter sauce.
The side dishes were pretty standard — baked potato, french fries, broccoli, rice and bleu cheese coleslaw vinaigrette — and at times were inconsistent. Our broccoli with lunch, was steamed perfectly and tossed in a warm buttery sauce. At dinner, the vegetable chunks were under cooked and unseasoned. The rice, served with crab legs at dinner was mushy and over cooked, almost taking on the consistency of mashed potatoes, but at lunch, however, it was perfect.