Battle of the Brew Pubs – Part 1. Moby Dick Brewing Co.
The smell of steamed mussels played the perfect aromatic welcome for a friend and I as we sought food and shelter from a stormy coastal evening. The newly opened Moby Dick Brewing Co. on Water Street functioned as a well-oiled machine pumping out pints and entrees at a rhythmic pace. But if you find yourself in the same wet shoes, don’t expect any white whales.
We pulled up a couple of stools, and my buddy didn’t hesitate to order a beer sampler. I went straight for the nitro stout. The beers were distinct enough to differentiate between varieties of IPAs and lagers. My Stove Boat Stout was smooth and creamy, with some roasted flavor, but too soft to award any boldness to. This is what the beers had in common. Moby D’s also produces a Double IPA, and it is by trait strong and bold, but only if it’s never held against another Double IPA. The flavors are there, and the colors and beautiful. Some tannins, the citrus, a little nuttiness, and bitters, but in a cutthroat whaling town named after one of the tallest tales of all, I like to be able to chew on my grog!
The aforementioned steamed mussels were enticing enough to order, and ended up being the highlight. The fresh mollusks basked in a rich broth, so we asked for rolls to soak some up. There were only eight mussels, but they were worth it. An order of tangy and mildly spicy wings accompanied the mussels, but nothing to write home about.
The Main Dish
For an entrée I ordered monkfish. My partner in dine had the classic fish & chips. Monkfish shrinks tremendously when cooked, and is best prepared when its high water content is taken into consideration. At Moby D’s, it was grilled. Leaving the monkfish to sear only caused it to soak up char flavor while drying out. Beneath the fish was a bed of sautéed greens and smashed potatoes with capers and pink peppercorns. My buddy’s fish & chips had their own surprise.
Unbeknown to me at the time, my friend had some extensive experience identifying fish. So when his fish & chips arrived at the counter, he was supremely disappointed with the previously frozen Pacific Cod sitting in front of him instead of the beer batter haddock still advertised on their website. When the friendly and attentive bartender checked on us, my friend requested they ask the chef if it was Pacific Cod. When she returned to confirm my buddy’s claim, the news seemed to travel down the bar like loose lips on a ship.
To Be Continued…
My friend’s fish filets reduced to mush before he could get to them all, as I reconstituted my monkfish with the juice of my sautéed greens. Our location less than 1000 feet from one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the world magnified our let down. Declining the dessert offer marked the end of a visit to Moby D’s, but there’s still hope on the horizon as I look to another New Bedford brewery.
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