For nearly 75 years, the family-owned Masse?s Fresh Seafood Market has distributed everything from Maine lobster to wild-caught Atlantic salmon to more than 350 New England restaurants and colleges. Lately, however, the HAACP- and kosher-certified market has added one more stop to its delivery route??its own restaurant. At Masse?s Bar & Grille, fresh-off-the-boat morsels of shrimp, oysters, and clams grace an 8-foot-long raw bar, while the other catches head to the kitchen. There, cooks whip up classic and inventive seafood dishes, from mushroom caps stuffed with crabmeat to risotto tossed with lobster, shrimp, and scallops.
The culinary team doesn?t just stick to seafood?other options include pulled pork flavored with tequila-spiked barbecue sauce and paired with jalape?o cornbread. To complement each sea- or land-sourced feast, bartenders pour more than 25 beers by the bottle and tap, as well as plenty of spirits. Flat-screens behind the bar show the day?s biggest games, and a recent renovation has left the rest of the interior looking like a nautical wonderland, complete with porthole lights, 6-foot chandeliers, and all the bathing suits Steven Spielberg wore while filming Jaws.
Years ago, the building now occupied by O'Porto Restaurant built bicycles. Today, the converted factory still carries an industrial-themed appearance and echoes with the distant dings of ghost bikes. But the space now churns out traditional Portuguese cuisine—a service that earned O'Porto the honor of "Best Portuguese Restaurant" from CT.com for 2013. Executive chef Adelino de Sousa relies on many of the ingredients from Portugal's former colonies: rice from Asia, hot peppers from Africa, and cinnamon from India, just to name a few. He transforms those elements into artfully presented dishes, including seafood-based entrees, such as baked salmon stuffed with shrimp and crab and grilled filet of sole.
When The Saybrook Fish House Restaurant first opened in 1978, its chefs would scrawl their menu on brown paper bags each day, constantly updating dishes according to the freshest catch available. Today the menu is printed, but the chefs continue to follow in their predecessors' footsteps by serving only freshly caught seafood from New England waters.
Amid the wooden panels and hanging lanterns of the restaurant’s four cozy dining rooms, baskets of fried seafood meet with iced clams and oysters from the raw bar. The staff provides full meals complete with warm bread, salad, and fresh fruit, along with a hot towel and an original poem written by the busboy.
Confetti's Mediterranean cuisine reflects the local area's coastal geography. The culinary team whips up a lot of fish dishes, like baked salmon, mussels over linguini, and steaming bowls of lobster bisque, to name a few. But seafood isn't the only draw here. Other gourmet dishes include filet mignon with gorgonzola fondue and the house chicken Confetti with spinach and cheese. The eatery also hosts a Sunday Brunch buffet with egg and omelet stations, a carving station, Mediterranean salads, Belgium waffles, peel and eat shrimp and more.
Pumpkin-orange walls radiate cozy, autumnal vibes at Fiore’s IV Italian Restaurant as servers deliver warm bowls of mussels and comforting slices of lasagna. As crisp as a freshly ironed lettuce leaf, white linens lend tables an air of elegance, which extends to signature dishes such as lobster ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes and pink vodka sauce. Salads and house-baked rolls accompany each entree, accenting chicken, veal, and sole with verdant hues and crunchy textures.
The old-fashioned photography lining the wood-paneled walls at The Tributary Restaurant sets the mood for modern camaraderie. Waiters emerge from the kitchen with arms laden with clams and mussels, bearing large portions of veal and filet mignon to tables. After spooling pasta layered with fresh seafood and leeks around forks, patrons can hug friends who let them finish their leftovers, or hug stuffed animals while drifting into contented postmeal slumber.