Monday, February 02, 2009

Informal dining off the beaten tracks - Eastman's Docks

The citizens of Seabrook NH would not automatically agree with my title, but as a Norwegian pedestrian dependent on a pair of legs and with a restricted budgets on taxi, Eastman's Docks is off the beaten tracks - or rather would be, if it did not happen to be a walk away from my cousins house, where I am a frequent guest. The food though is seriously good, so accessibility is one small drawback.

Location: BBB+

I want to apologize to the owners of Eastmans, as they are relations. The low score is due to accessibility rather than location.

The restaurant is located between Newburyport MA and Portsmouth NH, and you need a car to get there. This is an area where there are practically no public transportation.

The nearest train or bus is either at Newburyport (suburban line to Boston / Bus) or Portsmouth NH (Bus). If you rent a car, you drive along 1A towards Portsmouth. and stop just as you leave the barrier island at Seabrook NH Once you are there you experience an area of beauty.

The restaurant face the salt marshes that separates the barrier island on which the communities of Seabrook N.H., and Salisbury MA rests from the mainland.

The restaurant is located away from the ocean, sheltering it from the sea and you can enjoy a view to Hampton Beach and the marshes, that flood during high tide.

Interior & atmosphere: BBBB

This is certainly not the posh refined dinner, rather the interior of Eastman's Docks reflects the relaxed atmosphere at the beach. During peak season, it is packed with people. I usually visit around the labour day weekend, when Eastman's Docks close for the season, and most of the guests have left.

Eastman's has a rustic wooden interior. I usually prefer to sit outside with a view to the water. Here you can sit with the salt marsh as your nearest neighbour.

The are plenty of room around the table, and you are seated comfortably. This is however a place for informal dining. No table cloth, cutlery, or napkin. The table is stripped down to bare necessity. Here you get what is necessary when served.

Service: BBBBB-

As this is relations, I might get even better service than others, but friends that I have brought to Eastmans have loved the place.

This time I was the only person there, as this was the first weekend after end of peak season, and it was just around opening time. The staff here are genuinely clever, good at small talk, professional, and food is served quickly. Service at Eastmans is terrific.

Food: BBBB+

Eastman's Docks is a place I know very well, better than most other places, as I have dined during many vacations. They serve excellent steamers, fried scallops, and other specialties.

As my cousin was doing some of here work, I just ordered one starter, scallops with bacon with teryiaki sauce. Separately each one of these ingredients are scrumptious, crispy bacon, the discreet delicious scallops and the smoky sweetness of the teriyaki.

Presentation: The scallops arrived in a small heat resistant bowl, three medium sized scallops rolled in one slice of bacon on skewers.

Texture: Secret is not to overcook the mussels, and here by the sea, they certainly know how to prepare them perfectly, crisp on the surface, slightly under cooked in the middle. The bacon could have been a little more crispy, but I know how difficult this may be, particularly when you add a sauce as main seasoning.

Balance and taste: There are no great need of seasoning on a dish like this. The salt is provided by the bacon, and this is balanced by the delicate sweetness of the scallops and the teriyaki sauce. Teriyaki is one of interesting sauces good to provide sweetness to salted floods, as well as a characteristic smokey aroma that adds another interesting element to the food.

Beverage: BBBB+

What better to enjoy than a delicious cold Sam Adams to such a dish. The sweetness of the teriyaki may be difficult to match with a dry or semi-dry white wine. The mild bitterness of a beer is more suitable for a dish like this.

Rating the Eastman's Docks experience: BBBB (4,13 points)

Great food off the beaten tracks in New Hampshire. If you happen to drive along the 1A from Newburyport MA to Portsmouth NH during the summer season, a stop at River street is recommended.

Eastman's Docks
7 River St, Seabrook, NH 03874
Phone: +1 (603) 474-7063
See restaurant website here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't eat here, it sucks and is WAY overpriced.