The warm and sunny forecast last Friday spurred Mom and me to Monterey for a bayside lunch. Reports on this board of great cioppino lured me to Domenico’s. The hostess who was escorting us to our window table pointed to an incoming craft saying, “Look, our boat’s coming in.” Our waiter soon came by for our beverage order and to share the day’s lunch specials. The significance of the boat sighting became clearer when he returned to the table with the news that Monterey Bay spot prawns had just been delivered and were now offered as a special. He said these were the huge ones and described the two preps --- first, in a lime-garlic-butter sauce with linguine, or grilled with barbecue sauce accompanied by mashed cauliflower-potatoes and sautéed vegetables. No question that I’d put off ordering cioppino for another day.
The sea lions were sunning and swimming right in front of the view of the working harbor. Whereas the dining rooms of Old Fisherman’s Grotto and Abalonetti, our previous two wharf excursions, are in the shadows during lunch hour, Domenico’s is filled with natural light.
A delicious herb-garlic butter accompanied the warm ciabatta bread from Palermo Bakery. My mother liked this so much, she had two slices slathered with the soft butter. She had a bowl of clam chowder, $6.95, and opted for the freshly ground black pepper.
White and chunky with a boatload of clams, this was even more savory and intense with clams than last year’s sampling, and not as salty. This beats out Massaro & Santos chowder, which was a letdown a few months ago. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/885720
Our waiter tied a bib on me. The spot prawn linguine featured five enormous head-on prawns.
The large heads were so juicy and full of fat, it was easy to scrape off the sweet innards with the cocktail fork. Indeed these were big enough that I could carefully extract a line of sweet meat out of the antennae!
Incredibly sweet and gently firm of flesh, the prawns were fecund with crunchy roe. The butter sauce hewed closer to Creole style bordelaise with the addition of fragrant scallions.
Once I was done, our waiter brought out a moist, hot towel with lemon to freshen up.
We were too full to indulge in the desserts displayed on the counter. Both of us were very happy with our meal. The one surprise was the $38.95 price tag for the spot prawns, as I had asked how much ahead of time and thought I heard $28. Hmm, guess I’d say this dish would be a bargain at $28 but a luxury at $39. I don’t regret the investment though.
Slideshow with more photos from Domenico’s
Domenico’s on the Wharf
50 Fishermans Wharf #1
Monterey, California 93940
Complimentary appetizer coupon
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