Ok. This is the Real Deal. I’ve been about ten times since I discovered this Gem in Newburyport about a month ago. The first few times I always thought “why has it taken so long for someone to open a Proper Raw Bar in Newburyport?”
Well, someone did. On each of my visits I have found on offer no fewer than four and many as 8 varieties of oysters. Each variety was a pristine example of their respective species and all were shucked perfectly, not a broken belly, dry cup or shell shard in sight. Well done.
I have also sampled most all of their Crudo and Small plates on their regularly changing menu. On my first visit I was wowed by a halibut crudo with actual shaved black truffle and crushed hazelnuts, just amazing in taste and texture. Another amazing small plate was a Carpaccio of tuna with a lemon sabayon that was so light as to almost be weightless, a great take on a classic.
I have had so many more wonderful things at Brine that I wish I had kept my itemized receipts to detail each one. But I can say with some certainty that there wasn’t a clunker in the bunch.
They do have a full bar with a decent wine list and selection of beers that the bar staff will be more than happy to assist with or offer pairing suggestions. They also have a blossoming cocktail program and if you’re lucky enough to have Nick as your bartender chat him up about you’re preferences in this area. He’s competent and eager to learn from those of us that have been on the Cocktail bandwagon for a while.
I have not had any of their land based offerings with the exception of a special app of meaty, thick sliced grilled oyster mushrooms that were locally sourced that afternoon, but from what I saw emerging from this small kitchen looked very good.
So if like me you had given up on Newburyport as a dining destination please give Brine a shot, but leave me a bar seat please.