By day, Conte’s is a fish market, the kind of place you can come to get a swordfish steak for dinner or to order take-home-ready apps or meals. At night, it turns into a restaurant. A handful of tables fill the nautically themed space, and bowls of red and white chowder come and go. Wines chill in the glass display, inches from the branzino.
Conte’s menu is small; a double-sided sheet filled with specials. There’s the salt-encrusted orata, a cioppino served over linguine, cedar-planked trout, and a handful of apps. Dally over the menu and ask the waitress for advice about the whole fish, and she’ll be honest: It depends how you feel about your fish looking back at you.
A customer offers advice as she departs the restaurant: “Get the scallops; they’re like butter.” But it’s too late for this night. Within minutes, the branzino appears as was promised, head and tail still on, astride tomatoes and black olives. Pull back the skin, and the white meat steams; it’s also terrifically moist.
Catch This: The scallops, when in season, which are served over a cucumber salad.