March 12 – Baked Scallops Day

I love seafood days 😀 New York is such a metropolitan, highly urban city that we forget sometimes we started hundreds of years ago as a small trading port. And all the bridges and tunnels (what, you mean you actually leave Manhattan?? Preposterous!) sometimes help you forget that New York City is made up of islands, surrounded by rivers and beaches and an ocean full of sea life. I grew up in the southern end of Brooklyn, in Sheepshead Bay, where little fishing boats still take people out past the Rockaways for bluefish and skate, and places like Randazzo’s and my local fish markets had the freshest stuff available. Maybe this is why I get so excited when I see a seafood-related national food holiday (and it also means a break from all the sweets–sheesh!)

Scallops don’t look much like a seafood out of their natural, easily recognizable shellf: their bodies consist of a squishy cylinder of muscle devoid of color when we find it in the fish market. But that little bite holds a lot of flavor: not too fishy, it gives the subtle tastes of the sea without being bland. You always want a subtle taste, as a stronger flavor may mean they’re not fresh. Scallops, like a lot of seafood, are served in a number of ways: the most popular is seared, but you can also deep-dry, boil, bake, or serve them raw. Today’s national food holiday calls for them baked, which isn’t as popular as searing or frying them, but still makes for a delicious seafood meal.

You can get your scallops–served any which way you like them!–at Upstate. I’m not telling you to hop onto Amtrak and head to the Adirondacks, haha! Upstate is a new seafood restaurant in the East Village that showcases fresh scallops on a daily basis. They pick up their seafood fresh from the market every morning, so you know you’re getting the best meat they can find. Every week the scallops are prepared differently–seared, fried, even baked–so if you stop in today, perhaps the chef caught wind of the national food holiday and decided to commemorate it with some delicately baked scallops 🙂

95 1st Ave

“They seem to be prepared differently each week, but the scallops are picked fresh everyday from the local seafood market and, when we had them most recently, were served over a farmers market zucchini and squash salad. Refreshing and delicious.”–Immaculate Infatuation

Some reviews from

“The chef buys the oysters (and scallops, fish, clams, etc.) fresh from the market every day. There isn’t a single freezer in the joint (they threw them out when they renovated the space). Just a lot of ice, a lot of shucked goodness, and a lot of love.”–Britton B.

“I’m still obsessed with the scallop over rice and kale squid salad. Can’t. Get. Enough. Also tried the scallop special–just the right amount of spicy kick to set my heart aflutter…”–Tammi S.