Review: Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchangeby jmaloni
by Jude the Foodie
I have this theory I call the "Disney World theory." That's when your favorite thing is the last thing you did. When you just get off Space Mountain that's your favorite ride until you get off of the Rock and the Rollercoaster and that becomes your favorite ride.
When I drove my son from Chicago to D.C. to Boston, his favorite school was the one we just visited (with a few exceptions, but that's not what this post is about).
Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange at 184 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda, is my new favorite seafood spot. So much so I have been there three times in the past month.
It has a very cool vibe and the tables in front by the canal are fun, too. The building is a late 1800s power house on the Erie Canal built by International Railway. The restoration really began in 2007, and it is the current site of this fine restaurant, and a few other businesses.
The bar is located in the middle of the seating area, so you are never very far from friends and diners. They have a seasonal bar menu (don't you just love that?) and I started my evening last week with a "Cucumber Cooler." It was Hendricks gin, fresh lime juice, fresh cucumber and grapefruit bitters all in a highball glass. I liked it both because it had fresh lime and because it was not too sweet.
Our bartender also gave us a primer on the fresh oyster selection. That day they had several from Prince Edward Island and other northern climates. On our tasting plate were oysters called "Rocky Shore," "Malpeque," "Beach Blonds" and "Wallace Bay." The "Beach Blonds" were the mildest of the bunch. Some were a little briny and others were sweet. They were all better with the two sauces. I loved the cocktail sauce with shaved horseradish on top. It was not as hot as I would have expected.
We ordered an appetizer from the specials menu. The stuffed spicy banana peppers were filled with ricotta cheese, extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. The filling was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of seeds remaining for the kick. If we have a criticism, it would be the plate and presentation. The plate was too small, because the peppers slid around, which made them difficult to cut. Maybe that lettuce garnish has a purpose, after all? Also, a piece or two of bread would have been helpful, too, as a way to cut the heat for those who do not prefer it. Overall, though, they were delicious.
I asked about the white wine selection and Melanie suggested a glass of Chateau Fantin Bordeaux Blanc from Bordeaux, France. She had me at France since I will be testing French wine in the French countryside next week. It was a smooth wine and a good value at $25 a bottle. I had never tried a white Bordeaux before and was happy for the experience.
We each tried a different entree. The sirloin steak sandwich ($16) with portobello, grilled onion and mozzarella was, as one companion said, cooked to perfection. The grilled chicken breast sandwich ($11) was served the same as the steak sandwich. She loved the caramelized onions and the fresh roll. They were both served with french fries, which had the right amount of crisp.
The grilled barbecue St. Louis ribs ($16 half/$28 full) were spicy and the sauce was generous. The fries were served with a vinegar aioli, which was one of my favorite bites of the evening. I love french fries with vinegar and this was a cool take on that.
I had one of the dinner specials: seared diver scallops served with a sun-dried tomato cous cous and arugula salad. The scallops were seared with some spice. They were perfectly cooked. My other favorite bite of the evening was the cous cous salad. It was room temperature, which was surprising. What a great idea on a sunny summer day!
When our server offered dessert, I forced my friends to go to the dark side with me. I think they are glad they did. We had an almond lace cookie cup ($8) with whipped cream and fresh berries and a hot fudge brownie sundae ($8) with peppermint stick ice cream. I burned my mouth on the brownie, but was able to sooth it with the creamy ice cream. The lace cookie cup had a lovely brown sugar flavor and the caramel sauce was a nice balance with the fresh fruit (blueberry, mango and strawberry).
If you go, know they do not accept reservations, so you should be ready to enjoy hanging at the bar. The vibe is very cool and I look forward to my next visit.