A Successful Fish Tale: Gloucester’s New Fish Festival

Posted: June 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Event, Gloucester, Seafood, The Lunch Counter | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments »


Seafood lovers, including us, were in heaven at last week’s New Fish Festival at Gloucester House. For $30, we sampled from a huge array of appetizers and entrees featuring fish and shellfish. The idea behind this event, now in its 24th year, is to introduce people to new types of seafood and new ways to prepare already familiar fish. It was created and is co-sponsored by the Gloucester Fisherman’s Wives Association (GFWA), a non-profit promoting the New England fishing industry.

The main room at the all-you-can-eat extravaganza was crowded, but everyone was in good spirits, and we found a spot at the bar away from the noise. (The weather prevented people from sitting outside, which would have eased the seating arrangements.)

We made frequent trips to the buffet for appetizers from Gloucester House and GFWA.  The seafood pizza was a winner, and we enjoyed the monk fish soup and the sicilian shrimp and orange salad.

Our favorite entrée was GFWA’s sicilian baked fish, a wonderful mixture of cod, bread crumbs, grated cheese, tomato, onion, garlic, and oregano. A close second was the grilled salmon fillet from Lobsta Land. It had a lush lemon sauce and was served with creamy five-onion risotto.

Not everything was a hit; we were underwhelmed by Gloucester House’s seafood mac and cheese, and the cinnamon chili dry rub on the butterfish from Passports was interesting but not entirely successful.

But with 12 entrees, there was truly something for everyone, and the event provides the perfect setting to try fish dishes you might not usually order, including skate wing in garlic sauce and a wonderful trip back to old New England with Gloucester House’s fish cakes and beans.

One of the simplest looking dishes, the filet of sole with spinach in a mornay sauce from Emerson Inn by the Sea, turned out to be flavorful and perfectly cooked. As a bonus, sheets with the recipe were there for the taking.

We’re not surprised this event was well attended—for the price of one seafood entrée at most restaurants, diners can fill their plates with a variety of fish and experience cuisines from around the world.