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Northern New England

[Portsmouth] Jumpin' Jays

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[Portsmouth] Jumpin' Jays

Harters | May 27, 2012 02:14 AM

The place was packed at 8pm on a wet Wednesday evening, which must have gladdened the heart of the owners. We were glad we’d made a reservation. About half the menu is devoted to “standards”, like crab cakes. But the other half offers their “catch of the day” – entirely dependent on what has been delivered that day (with the menu noting where each fish had been landed).

Clam chowder is obviously a standard and was excellent. The various elements – clams, broth, cream, bacon, celery – were all separately identifiable, but the whole melded all the flavours together. Steamed mussels are a house speciality and, without doubt, they have this dish bang-on. There’s a good start with particularly large and juicy mussels. They’re cooked in a creamy broth, livened yo considerably with scallions, jalapenos, garlic and ginger.

The “catch of the day” fish are all treated very simply – just pan fried. I picked monkfish, landed in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was atad overdone, but only a tad and the flavour was not impaired. There was some mashed spuds, sprouting broccoli and roasted cauliflower. You also get a choice from one of several sauces. I took the server’s suggestion of a lobster veloute and it certainly worked well.

My partner ordered one of the two “specials”. Pan seared cod – perfect in texture and taste, accompanied by fingerling potatoes, green beans and a tomato and basil sauce. The basil element was very muted and the sauce would have benefitted by a more predominant flavour.

So, in spite of a couple of trivial gripes, we’d eaten four good plates of food. Thoroughly recommended.

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