Sunday, May 9, 2010

Where seafood lovers gather

NJ - Newark - Ironbound DistrictImage by wallyg via Flickr

The Seabras are an enterprising Portuguese family in Newark with a supermarket and restaurants in the Ironbound section, including Seabra's Marisquiera, where seafood is king. With the word "sea" in their name, how could they miss?

To avoid the Mother's Day rush today, I took my wife and son there Saturday night for a bountiful meal of lobster, shrimp and cod. We watched other families digging into platters of octopus salad, fried squid and whole fish.

 My wife and son started with a briny, pureed seafood soup that had shrimp, pieces of lobster in the shell and some elbow macaroni floating in it. One portion ($8.50) yielded two bowls of soup. I was very happy with a crisp watercress, tomato and onion salad ($4.50) that came on a large metal platter and was perfectly dressed in just enough oil and vinegar, good for sopping up with soft Portuguese bread.

My wife and son shared an entree -- twin lobsters stuffed with crab and accompanied by those addictive, homemade potato chips ($34). The waiter grabbed two live lobsters from a tank and brought them over. Did we want a single big one or two small ones? When I said two small, the eye of the junior crustacean seemed to swivel in my direction.

The lobster meat was tender, but I ended up eating must of the chips after my wife and son asked for some rice.

The waiter tried to talk me out of my selection -- salted cod boiled with potato and onion  ($21) -- and steer me to grilled fish. But I wanted to try the cod. A long, thick fillet of the snowy fish came on a platter with crisp broccoli and carrot, black olives, potato and onion -- a classic boiled dinner. This was the tenderest salted cod I had ever tasted, but it could have used a simple sauce. It wasn't salty at all, so I sprinkled on fresh lemon juice. It also was a big portion; I took a lot home.

A small bottle of Portuguese green wine (two to two and a half glasses) was $10. I finished with an espresso.

Seating is in a front room and bar and a rear dining room, where tables are lined up family style, so another group might be seated next to you. The two rooms are split by an open kitchen and a display of beautifully iced whole red snapper, sections of larger fish such as grouper and hake, enormous shrimp that looked to be five to six inches long and tanks of live lobsters.

The menu is extensive and offers cold and hot seafood combinations for four ($45). When we left, waiting customers were lined up in the corridor connecting the two seating areas.

The cod dish had a happy ending this morning, when my wife incorporated the leftover fish and potato into her Jamaican ackee and saltfish breakfast. Delicious.

Seabra's Marisquiera, 87 Madison St., Newark; 
973-491-6634. Open seven days. Off-street parking. 
rdison ax: (973) 491-633087 Madison Street, Newark, N
Fax: (973) 491-6330
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  1. wow! this place sounds like a gem!

  2. Yes. We would have returned a long time ago, but we eat out only once a week and like to try new places.


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