Menton photograph by Anthony Tieuli
Special-occasion restaurants, which so often offer by-the-numbers fine dining, have no business delving into the waters of funky fish species and even funkier pre-parations … right? Don’t tell that to Barbara Lynch, who unapologetically sends out plates of clean-flavored local skate wing with almonds and capers, and langoustine wrapped in sweet pastry with pumpkinseed oil and pickled rhubarb — all of which serve to enhance the seafood. 354 Congress St., Boston, 617-737-0099, mentonboston.com.
Plumb the depths of (and quiz your server on) the ever-changing menu at this date-night bistro, and you’ll get an earful about precisely which local boat caught each fish. Chef Michael Leviton is an OCD sourcer, a fact that benefits both his halibut with preserved lemon and his diners. 1293 Washington st., Newton, 617-244-9199, lumiererestaurant.com.
Hard-core Chinese-food aficionados adore this place for the shredded duck with pickled veggies, while mere dabblers enjoy the pork lo mein. But true seafood lovers go straight for the fish head with ginger and scallions; the salty prawns; and the jumbo crab. It all comes out hot and fast, and disappears even faster. 4 Tyler St., Boston, 617-482-1116.
T. W. Food
Known mostly for its ultralocal menu, Huron Village’s unassuming little boîte serves fish from—and only from—New England. That results in stunners like grilled bluefish, an under-appreciated regional treasure from which chef Tim Wiechmann coaxes incredible freshness and flavor—and then serves only in midsummer (read: get some now). 377 Walden St., Cambridge, 617-864-4745, twfoodrestaurant.com.