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RESTAURANT REVIEW

The Real Seafood Place for Locals

If You’re Sick of Legal and Low on Cash, Try Village Fish

By Ruby Lam

Village Fish

22 Harvard Ave., Brookline, Mass.

(617) 566-3474

Lunch: Mon.-Fri., 11:30-2:30

Dinner: Mon., 4:30-9:30; Tue.-Thu., 4:30-10; Fri.-Sat., 4:30-11

Many of my out-of-town friends always ask me, “Where is the best place to have seafood in Boston? Is Boston the seafood capital of the United States?” I am not so sure, but many think so. I wish I could give them more recommendations than just telling them to go to Legal Sea Foods.

I like Legal Sea Foods, but going there too often could break the bank. For the locals who dine on a budget, I think Village Fish in Brookline is probably the best.

Freshness is key. With fresh ingredients, seasonings and cooking methods need not be fancy to create a great meal. And this is exactly how Village Fish distinguishes itself from other seafood restaurants.

The best way to start at Village Fish is at their raw bar. Half a dozen of littlenecks, half a dozen of cherrystones, and half a dozen of oysters is always the way to go. They are all freshly chucked and you can still smell the freshness from the sea on each of them when they are served.

In addition to the raw bar, the fried calamari is another great starter on the menu. They are crisp and freshly fried and go very well with lemon juice and cocktail sauce. You also get a very nice portion for the price you pay. These starters go best with a nicely chilled beer and there is a wide variety of beer, draft and bottle, from which you can choose on the list. When we were done with the starters, we were already half full.

For entrees, the diavlo is their signature dish. Diavlo is a linguini dish topped with spicy red sauce, and it comes with lobster (for two), seafood, or crab (special, not on regular menu). The lobster diavlo for two is a classic. Its portion is large enough to feed at least four people. I tried the crab diavolo this time for a change. It was delicious, but it would be even better if the crab had been cleaned more properly and had had the inedible parts removed before cooking.

On the fish menu, you can find a wide variety of fish to choose from: swordfish, shrimp, lobster, monkfish, salmon, bluefish, trout, etc.

Many special items were written on the chalkboard as well. Grilled or broiled, all these fish entrees come with salad or pasta. I am a big fan of flaky fish, so I like to order scrod. Scrod is so flaky that it can only be broiled, and can’t be grilled. I am a bit disappointed that they don’t have Chilean seabass, though I do understand that many restaurants have already banned Chilean seabass from their menu because of extinction threats.

The dessert menu is a little weak, so we went to LA Burdicks for hot chocolate instead. Nonetheless, Village Fish is a great place to bring your out-of-town friends for authentic New England-style seafood at a great price.