The List: The Optimist
I love eating at The Optimist, but it's such a thoroughly seafood restaurant that I dare not take anyone who hasn't fully bought into eating food that swims. Of course, the kitchen will play along with the steak/pork/chicken set, but it seems like such a waste when the fish is so amazing! Fortunately, I married a man who loves him some seafood! This was his first visit (my earlier review is here) and we were hunting down items from The List which I hadn't already hit.
This first items, and part of an earlier dining experience, were the raw oysters. The Optimist always has a healthy selection from both East and West Coasts, so if you're into raw oysters (I am, but I lose Billy at this point), ask your server to describe your assorted options!
Next up, the Shee Crab soup with a whipped, frothy top.
There's no escaping the rich taste of Shee Crab, so manage to order other dishes lighter in flavor if you start with this. The pure cream in the soup and the shrimp toast on the side are divine, but powerfully rich.
Next up, the Swordfish poached in duck fat. If this isn't a feast for the eyes, you need to see a doctor! Good Grief! What goodness. The List and earlier reviews were for the dish with sweet peppers and crispy pancetta. My version was with peaches (thanks for clarifying Diego!!) and utterly divine. Seasonal flavors so perfectly balanced I can hardly describe. Easily one of the best pieces of fish I've ever had. SO list worthy!!
Though not on the list, Billy enjoyed the whole bass. Delicious, smokey flavor, plus cute too! If you're not into working for your food, skip this dish. However, the smokey flavor is so unusual in fish, I think it's worth the effort!
I seriously can't wait to go back. When I do, what should I order that you've tried?