[Portsmouth] Jumpin' Jays
The place was packed at 8pm on a wet Wednesday evening, which must have gladdened the heart of the owners. We were glad we’d made a reservation. About half the menu is devoted to “standards”, like crab cakes. But the other half offers their “catch of the day” – entirely dependent on what has been delivered that day (with the menu noting where each fish had been landed).
Clam chowder is obviously a standard and was excellent. The various elements – clams, broth, cream, bacon, celery – were all separately identifiable, but the whole melded all the flavours together. Steamed mussels are a house speciality and, without doubt, they have this dish bang-on. There’s a good start with particularly large and juicy mussels. They’re cooked in a creamy broth, livened yo considerably with scallions, jalapenos, garlic and ginger.
The “catch of the day” fish are all treated very simply – just pan fried. I picked monkfish, landed in Gloucester, Massachusetts. It was atad overdone, but only a tad and the flavour was not impaired. There was some mashed spuds, sprouting broccoli and roasted cauliflower. You also get a choice from one of several sauces. I took the server’s suggestion of a lobster veloute and it certainly worked well.
My partner ordered one of the two “specials”. Pan seared cod – perfect in texture and taste, accompanied by fingerling potatoes, green beans and a tomato and basil sauce. The basil element was very muted and the sauce would have benefitted by a more predominant flavour.
So, in spite of a couple of trivial gripes, we’d eaten four good plates of food. Thoroughly recommended.
I've really been enjoying your reviews, and they're so helpful. I was sitting here reading and thinking "man this person's voice sounds familiar, so does the name..." then I realized, you're the primary person who helped me find traditional fish and chips in York two years ago! I'm so glad you had some lovely meals over here, you helped us have some lovely meals over there! :)