Saturday, August 10, 2013

Striped Bass at Native Cape Cod Seafood takes TheYearRounder's "Best Bite" Award

Native Cape Cod Seafood's simple grilled striped bass is a terrific value.
You might know I've been out nearly every night recently on my summertime search for the best striped bass in Provincetown, having had eight or nine over the past week or so, each at a different restaurant. The price has ranged from under $20 to well over $30, with the size of the bass portions also varying from smaller to larger servings, but not necessarily correlating with the cost of the dinner. More ingredients in a recipe does not always result in a better dish, just as a more renowned restaurant does not always turn out a better meal.
A higher price has sometimes brought a more complex preparation, or more elaborate side dishes, but perhaps a smaller serving of bass, and each of these dishes has also achieved a certain level of success on the proverbial scale from 1 to 10. This summer I've not been served a single plate of bass that was hugely disappointing, as has sometimes been the case in the past, and often with a $36 price tag for a hapless bass that was tragically overcooked, or for one that had been unmercifully sauced beyond the point where the taste of the fish could still be recognized. On the contrary, the stripers I've found this summer have all been well prepared, with only a couple of them leaning just slightly toward the frufru of over-complicated preparations.
My striped bass at Native Cape Cod Seafood was grilled perfectly with a little lemon, salt and pepper, served on a paper plate with a sort of rice pilaf and fresh zucchini brushed with a tiny bit of oil and a dash of sea salt and grilled until just tender. This uncomplicated plate of simple flavors let the taste of the bass shine through, and I ate it sitting in the open air of the Aquarium Marketplace deck, looking out over magnificent Provincetown Harbor. It was among the best of all the stripers I'd had during the week, the ambience was stellar, and the price of just $18.95 pushed this dish all the way to the top of the list, earning it a Best Bite award. That's two now for Andrew and the crew at Native Cape Cod Seafood. See my August 22nd post of 2012 about their fabulous Lobster Scampi, which won them TheYearRounder's Best Bite award last summer for one of PTown's greatest seafood dishes.
When the striper runs out for the season, Andrew will continue to bring in the best fish available every day, serving it blackened and a little spicy or simply grilled, along with fish pockets (kind of like a deluxe fish taco,) shrimp, fried clams, oysters, many others and, of course, the scampi. Andrew raises his own shellfish, trades throughout each week in the Boston area both buying and selling while he's delivering shellfish there, and has solid connections for the freshest and best seafood in New England, most of it from Cape Cod waters. When there is no more striped bass available, which may be any day now, I may suffer withdrawal symptoms, so I asked Andrew if he could cook me up a 4 or 5-pound lobster for my dinner one night next week and he said no problem, and I know the price will be fair as well. I can't wait.
If you've never visited Native Cape Cod Seafood, you owe yourself this treat. It's worth the effort to find this little counter service joint tucked away in the Aquarium Marketplace at 205-209 Commercial Street, in the old aquarium building. It sits kitty-corner across Commercial Street from the corner of Carver Street, at the back of the food court at the edge of the outdoor patio and the waterfront deck, where they also run the raw bar. Give them a try. The food is delicious, top quality and one of the best values in PTown.

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