With the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a big part of the traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration, coming up, we decided to check in with Jim Dreeben. We don’t know if he’s Italian, but we do know that, as the former owner of Peconic Paddler in Riverhead, Dreeben spends a lot of time on East End waters and dines out on seafood often. So we asked him for his picks of “seven fishes.” Here they are, with one more for good luck:
Click restaurant names (where available) to read full reviews or chef profiles.
“I usually order the same dish every time because it is delicious. For example: Jerry and the Mermaid in Riverhead makes Shinnecock Mussels Luciano Style, in white wine. I have had mussels in wine in many restaurants but Jerry makes the best. (It’s the first dish my wife ordered many years ago, the day we met. I did not even know her last name at the time.)
Edgewater in Hampton Bays cooks up outstanding Linguini with White Clam Sauce. It’s my favorite dish of all. I usually order it with Roasted Corn Salad (in season) or Pan-Seared Yellowfin Tuna. You can sit inside or outside (weather permitting) with a view of the beautiful Shinnecock Bay. You can get to Edgewater by kayak and take-out across the street.
At Buoy One in Westhampton I go for the Buckets of Steamers. They also have Baskets of Fried Oysters and Clams. Bouy One has more seafood items on the menu than most other seafood restaurants. They are open for lunch and dinner. (Buoy One also has a location in Riverhead.)
Spicy’s on West Main Street in Riverhead is an old diner converted into a take-out establishment. They have a few tables to eat-in. Spicy’s makes the best Fried Oysters east of William Floyd Parkway. They make their own collard greens that are out of this world. Try their ribs and their shrimp also, and their Roasted Half Chicken is to die for.
La Parmigiana in Southampton makes a delicious Calamari Salad that is so big you can share it with three dining companions. It’s loaded with squid rings and tentacles. All of their food is delicious, especially the Coconut Shrimp and Linguini with White Clam Sauce.
Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue offers Zuppa De Pesce, an Italian-style fish stew with monkfish, codfish, sea bass, mussels and shrimp. They also serve very tasty grilled octopus as an appetizer.
Rumba on Shinnecock Bay in Hampton Bays serves Seared Ahi Tuna, like sashimi on the inside and perfectly seared on the edges. Their drinks are awesome; they come in Mason jars, or by the pitcher. We sometimes go there by kayak or stand-up paddleboard (in season). You can sit inside or on the deck, weather permitting.
Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops is an appetizer to die for at 1 North Steakhouse in Hampton Bays. I order it every time: My meal at 1 North: Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Oysters Rockefeller and Steak Tartare, or, sometimes, an excellent burger with my scallops, and a pint.
You might have noticed I have not mentioned dishes with lobster, crab or shrimp. I’m allergic to them. Dining companions have ordered lobster, crab or shrimp in the above-mentioned restaurants; they have told me they were delicious. I envy them.”
Visit DansBOTB.com to find more excellent East End seafood restaurants.