I tried this new place in Berkeley (on Telegraph Avenue, in the spot where, most recently, Zax Tavern was), the other night, with my mom and sister, and we were all generally pleased. There had been a few previous reports about this place that commented on the slow service, so I was a little nervous about that, and while the service wasn't great, it was clear that they're trying to work on it.
First the food: we ordered the seafood chowder to start and then for our meals, the burger, the fish and chips (though they're not called that on the menu, it's French Fried [Whatever that day's fish is] with fried potatoes and lemon), and the "Deviled" Dungeness crab linguini with a poached egg. The chowder was good, though I think after having the chowder at Bar Crudo earlier this year that I'm spoiled for chowder forever. This chowder had lots of great stuff in it that was cooked well, but it was a little too thin and not quite flavored enough, but I'd definitely order it again. The only downside was that we ordered the chowder to warm up, since it was a very cold night, but it arrived with our entrees, which was a little disappointing. I'm not sure if this is a service issue, or if the chef is just backed up in the kitchen (though the restaurant was not busy). Our entrees, though, were uniformly good, though again, with a few caveats. The burger was really excellent, great meat, perfectly cooked, and the french fries were excellent. The pasta (this was my entree) was good, but I didn't really taste any of the promised meyer lemon confit. The texture of the pasta was great, though, and there was a good bit of big chunks of crab in there. The fish and chips, though, was the star of the night -- the fish was excellent, perfectly fried, really great flavor, with the fried lemon really coming through, just delicious. The fries weren't as good as the fries for the burger, since they were not quite as hot as they should be, but otherwise the texture was good (maybe the chef needs some help in the kitchen to get everything out in time? He looked pretty lonely back there). The fried lemon was great, and unexpectedly, the tartar sauce on the side was really good and echoed the great flavors in the fish.
We shared one dessert, the coconut cream pie. It was good, though cream pies aren't generally my favorite kind of dessert, so I'm not sure how good of a judge I am. I liked it, though, and the crust was particularly good. The coconut flavor wasn't particularly pronounced, so if you're a huge coconut fan, you might be a little disappointed.
Our server seemed pretty green, but also eager to please and she came back to update us and check on us a number of times. I"m not sure if she was that well versed on the menu, but maybe that will come if they're open longer. The manager though, seemed very competent, and I heard him answering a number of questions from other tables.
One nice thing about the place is that since it's new and there hasn't been much buzz, it's very easy to get a table, so in a night where we drove by Pizzaiolo and saw it packed to the gills, it was good to just be able to go right in and sit down.
I also like that the website is pretty complete: http://www.maritimeeast.com/
2826 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA
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