YOU KNOW you’ve found your passion when you have a saying about it. For Anthony West, new owner at 16th Street Seafood on Haven Avenue, it’s all about the food.
“I always say you eat with your eyes first. Then your nose, then your mouth,” said Anthony, as we stood in the kitchen about to prepare a couple dishes on the take out menu.
Each dish is served in a generous proportion and is a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.
“(The dishes) can feed two people or one very hungry person,” said Anthony.
16th Street Seafood has served hungry customers since 2010, but Anthony took over the place this year. The corner shop sits diagonal to the Ocean City Community Center and across from CVS.
“This used to be a laundromat before it was this place,” laughed Anthony.
16th Street Seafood’s platters — which usually come with a side of homemade pasta — are bright and colorful. The ahi tuna steak sits in a pretty salad after being seared in a cast iron skillet and covered in bright orange Seafood Magic seasoning. By searing the top and bottom of the steak until it is well done, the pink of the Ahi Tuna stands out in contrast to its well-done edges and bright greens of the salad.
Anthony uses spices and seasonings liberally on all the dishes at 16th Street Seafood. If you order the sea scallops over linguini, prepare to have your senses absolutely bombed (in a good way) with seasoning. That platter begins taking shape in the kitchen with the side of pasta.
While homemade linguini from Valentina’s in Pleasantville softens in a rolling boil, Anthony cuts scallops in half and then sends them into an overhead broiler.
To make the signature fra diavolo sauce that douses the dish, Anthony throws red pepper flakes into a frying pan, flooding them with oil and white wine over medium heat. This he says helps the pepper flakes bleed in order to really get the flavor out of them.
“It pulls the oil from the red pepper flakes,” says Anthony. “It really makes them bleed out.”
The kicker that makes this sauce shine is the pepper on top of red pepper flakes. Like a magician throwing a smoke bomb, Anthony uses pepper until the scent explodes through the kitchen and healthily sears the senses.
“You guys are not allergic to pepper are you?” he asked as he threw a handful into the pan. The effect was immediate… the red pepper flakes released their flavor while the white wine steamed. The pepper opened our senses, and the pepper flakes tickled our noses.
After the pepper incorporated, Anthony mixed it around with a little traditional red marinara sauce until it all blended to the right consistency. When the sauce was ready, it was poured on top of the broiled scallops, and the linguini; the dish was served with a soft baked bun.
16th Street Seafood’s lobster mac and cheese is made with over a pound of penne pasta covered in cheese and mixed with bite sized lobster bits. This dish will leave you full and happy as a clam, or lobster.
To cook this dish, Anthony starts off with penne pasta, and then adds steamed lobster to completely fill the dish. The lobster – firm and snack sized and not too sweet –blends perfectly with the texture of the penne. All of it gets covered with a generous amount of cheese; a creamy blend of flavor that seeps into the pasta and lobster alike.
“Parm, mozzarella, monterey jack, and a white cream,” said Anthony. “We put all of them in together, steam it to get the cheese nice and melty and gooey, and then we top it off little bit of pepper and a little bit of parsley for some color. “We actually try to make it extra cheesy and put more cheese on it – extra parm and mozzarella.”
16th Street Seafood has everything from appetizers to salads, soups, sandwiches, fried, steamed and broiled platters and more. They have chicken dishes too, and a kids menu.
Find them at 1555 Haven Avenue, 609-399-0016.
Text by Nick Matousch and Stef Godfrey. Photos by Kerri Janto.
Find this story and more in our July magazine.