Friday, August 10, 2012

TheYearRounder's "PTown Quest for the Best" Leads to the Mews for Striped Bass

Chef Laurence deFreitas' pan seared Striped Bass over a summer slaw
During the brief season for Striped Bass every summer,
I will eat out every night, ordering this wonderful fish in every restaurant where I can find it.
The commercial fishermen are very limited in the amount of Striped Bass they can land during the summer, so this beautiful, meaty, juicy white fish is found on Provincetown menus for only a short time, maybe for just 3 weeks or so every summer. So each night when the stripers are running, I go from one restaurant to the next, as long as they have the bass on the menu, and order it wherever I can find it, regardless of what other delectables might be listed as entrees that night.
On this particular night I had returned to The Mews Restaurant and Cafe, where I had found a delightful bass the week before, and I knew I would find a different preparation, equally as creative as the previous one. On this night this noble fish was pan seared and finished in the oven, served on a bed of summer slaw made from shredded red and Chinese cabbages, fennel, heirloom tomatoes and pineapple, dressed in rice wine vinegar. The slight crunchiness of the cabbage and the fennel was perfect with the fork-tender fish and its crispy skin, and that bit of sweet flavor from the pineapple balanced out the slight acidity of the tomatoes. The modest sweetness of this mild vinegar dressing pulled all these flavors together while still letting each one be distinguished, and the fish was cooked perfectly, making this a faultless dish, and a Best Bite. Chef Laurence deFreitas has the inborn ability, and a natural talent, for combining ingredients and flavors, often with a bit of an Asian influence in his dishes.
The Mews is a ten-minute walk from the center of Provincetown, in the Gallery District in the East End, at 429 Commercial Street. You'll find two waterfront dining rooms, a very welcoming, professional staff, and a wonderful bar with a collection of more than 280 vodkas from around the world. I had the delightful Pomegranate Martini this evening. Parking is sparse but occasionally possible, along Commercial Street. In the summertime you can also take the Provincetown/North Truro shuttle bus along Bradford Street and
get off the bus at Bangs Street, which will lead you south, toward the harbor and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum at the corner of Commercial Street. Spend some time there before or after your dinner at The Mews and enjoy the wonderful Motherwell exhibit, which runs through September 30th. From there you'll walk less than a block to the west, along Commercial Street, to The Mews. You'll find a bike rack there as well. In fact, chef Laurence deFreitas bikes to work. Ya gotta love a town like this.
The Mews is open yearround, with reservations recommended even in the off-season. Phone them at 508 487-1500.
Watch for another post soon about the best striper dinners I've found in PTown restaurants over the past couple of weeks.

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