New England Dining>>> Fisherman Restaurant, Noank, Conn.
The Fisherman Restaurant, Noank, Conn., Ranks High for Seafood on a "Scale" of One to Ten
Article and photos by Eric H.
Seafood restaurants generally go one way or another: offering fresh seafood expertly prepared or fish that's drowning in butter and breadcrumbs.
The Fisherman Restaurant, in the quaint Groton, Conn., village of Noank, is, happily, the former. On a recent trip to the southeastern Connecticut coast, we came across this pleasant-looking restaurant ideally located between a cove and Fishers Island and Western Fishers Island Sound.
The Fisherman seemed like a pefect antidote to our original intent to dine in neighboring Mystic. When we drove through Mystic later in the afternoon, the traffic congestion was beyond description, people seemed hurried and stressed, and some knucklehead walked in front of our moving car without notice -- and then with that all-too-familiar patented gesture of self-entitlement looked at us like it was our fault. Fortunately, I stopped the car in time, but after he crossed the street with the utmost self-importance, I then proceeded to accelerate the vehicle with us both of thinking "Let's get out of here and find someplace more quiet."
Driving a few miles south, we ended up in Noank with a country store, historic old homes, a neighborhood bakery, country store and grocery shop, and few people, anywhere -- strange because the ocean views were wonderfully scenic and refreshing. We instantly fell in love with the place, with the Fisherman restaurant soon to be added into that genuine affinity for our newly discovered part of New England.
With no laptop or other piece of technology to tell us whether the Fisherman was a top-notch seafood place -- or the aforementioned butter and breadcrumb emporium -- we checked out the menu and atmosphere. After browsing the extensive and sometimes creative menu selections and gazing at the panoramic water view, we had no doubt that the Fisherman was our dining destiny for the day. (Article continued after photo below...)
View of Palmer's Cove from our seat at the Fisherman Restaurant
A pleasant older lady in a long dress seated us, and our younger waitress welcomed us with a heartwarming down-to-earth personality and frank, forthright suggestions on what to order -- and why. After taking our order, we enjoyed the beautiful sunset views at Palmer's Cove. Delicious, hard crusty bread, a hearty, full-bodied sherried lobster bisque and phenonemal just-caught-from-the-sea steamers soon followed. If dinner ended at this point, we would have been more than content!
In between food, we enjoyed the relaxing restaurant surroundings with the few levels of carpeted dining, a cozy, dimly-lit bar area with plenty of seating, and lots of nautical art work and memorabilia lining the walls (in a soothing way, not tacky at all).
The dinners were absolutely fabulous. The sweet Indian curry Stonington sea scallops proved that turmeric has many different uses -- in this case, enhancing the perfectly tender scallops (caught fresh, a few towns away). Mango, dried fruits, cilantro, tiny grapes and angel hair pasta made the dish even that much better. The baked Stonington sea scallops and shrimp with lobster cream and seasoned crumbs provided a fine version of two common shellfish -- not too overwhelmed by the sauce and seasonings. (Article continued after photo below...)
Sweet Indian curry Stonington sea scallops with mango, dried fruits, cilantro, tiny grapes and angel hair pasta
The Fisherman not only specializes in the creative but also the familiar like fish and chips, steamed native lobster, fresh atlantic salmon and codfish, whole belly clams, clam chowder and calamari from Point Judith, R.I. The Fisherman also has steak and chicken dishes, but when by the coast, we think sticking with seafood is most appropriate.
After dinner, we walked the small beach across the street and eventually headed back to Mystic where things quieted down significantly (the Mystic we like). But, all in all, Noank and the Fisherman Restaurant will be what we remember most about this special day. In New England, after all, you can never go wrong with great seafood in a classic coastal community!
The Fisherman Restaurant
937 Groton Long Point Rd.
Groton, CT 06340
Reservations: (860) 536-1717
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