Salem Loves Fall: I Love Seafood

One of Turner’s Seafood’s private dining rooms on the second floor. This one is “dressed down” while the other room is all set for a gorgeous wedding party.

Salem is a hot spot come fall, but there’s much more to it than witches and witch hunts.  We love to go to Salem for the Peabody Essex Museum, where right now you can also check out something way more powerful and intriguing than witches (well at least as intriguing): The Strandebeest. There is also Salem Willows which is so much fun, with it’s grassy area, small beach and the piece de resistance, it’s boardwalk with lots of old school video games and rides. Salem also has some great spots to eat.  We’ve had fun as a family dining at the Flying Saucer Pizza Company with it’s all things space and aliens themed dining room.  I think they even had a Star Trek version of Monopoly we could play. There are the treats and sweets being made at Harbor Sweets and I’ve heard that there are some great bakeries in town too.

I was recently invited to a tasting at Turner’s Seafood and this time I was joined by my oyster loving daughter Isabelle.  Isabelle and I headed up to Salem for a girls’ afternoon one Sunday and joined a group of fellow food bloggers at the Oyster bar.  I can’t really head up toward the North Shore without craving a little seafood.  The seafood I usually get though is the steamer, clam shack variety, I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect at a sit down restaurant “up North”.  Us city folks can get a little spoiled and snobby and although I know the North Shore has some great surprises I haven’t had a chance to discover them yet.

Turner’s Seafood was a great surprise not only was the food excellent, but the space is fabulous.  I could spend any Friday night there for a cocktail and some oysters, a lazy Sunday morning for brunch or just about any night of the week for dinner with friends.

We sat at the oyster bar, which is a fun place to dine. I love sitting at a bar. It’s more interactive. Here you overlook the oysters ready to be shucked and you can see the seafood that is being steamed as well. Turner’s Seafood serves one type of oyster at a time, so if you want a variety this is not the best place. If you just want to throw back some really fresh expertly shucked oysters than grab a seat.
We sampled some buffalo scallops. I love a good buffalo sauce but I wasn’t sure how that would work on seafood. Whatever chef did worked.  These have a great texture and the scallop doesn’t get lost at all, but you get the spiciness and vinegar bite that buffalo sauce has.
Maryland style crab cakes were on the special menu. They also serve their regular menu version of crab cakes which are Nana Turner’s cod cakes with a homemade piccalilli and Boston baked beans.
Isabelle is a clam chowder aficionado, but she has never finished a bowl for various reasons (too rich, too bland, too many potatoes, too few clams). This was a first and gets the highest honors for a chowder.
Tuna steam bun sliders. I could go for one of those right now.

This is the steamer station. It sits right behind the oyster bar. I daydreamed about a kitchen with one of these in it. I love mussels and I think I’d make them once a week if I had a steamer station. Turner’s Seafood prepares mussels in three different ways. Dijonnaise, Belgian, and Provençal.
This is the lobster pie and a parmesan risotto cake with onion rings.
The mussels Dijonnaise were delicious.
The swordfish was perfectly cooked. This generous portion was enjoyed at Turner’s Seafood and for lunch the next day.
I love how the tuna was served.


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