Been wanting to try this “fresh not frozen” little gem since opening and finally got around to it with friends who were in from New Jersey. Sean, the chef/owner is also from the Cape in Joisey, so he knows his fish, mollusks and seafood!
First off, the interior is sweet and very Cape Codish modern. I felt at “home” since I hail from the North east and spent many a summer up and down the East coast with my family traveling from NYC northward.
Upon arriving, there was some confusion between staff members. A waitress who was so eager to serve and seat me and the maitre’d were at cross purposes. Never mind, they’re new and need some more training time. Once my party of 5 arrived 10 minutes later, we were seated at a fine table in the back against the wall, near the shell and wood hangings which function as a room divider.
We ordered, for appetizers, the special of the day – snapper cheeks lightly battered and flash fried. They were unbelievably tasty, crispy and delicious. We were fortunate enough to taste some of Sean’s catch of the day: clean white steamers with a side of dipping briny broth and hot butter. I’ve never had steamers in Austin and nor will I because a) people do not know what they are and b) they wouldn’t know how to choose the right ones because of a. These were the best steamers I’ve had ever! Take that Oyster Bar!
I ordered the razor clams as my entree. This was the only dish I was underwhelmed about. The clams are a delicacy that I’ve revered since trying them first in Barcelona in the 80s. You’ll find them on the west coast, in China and Spain and not too often in other parts of the USA. They were a bit overcooked and were not gutted. Our kind waiter whisked them away without a blink and returned with my second choice fish and chips.
Friends had the lobster roll, the scallops, fish and chips and shrimp and grits. All the dishes were done to perfection. We ordered a Chianti Classico, so glad to see that on the menu (another rarity in Austin) however our waiter was not too knowledgeable about wine. He needs further training.
I’d give this a 5 star however I’d love to see Sean and team ramp it up a bit more just for the challenge. They deserve to be voted one of the best REAL unpretentious great restaurant finds in a sea of wannabe restauranteurs who just don’t get it.
2401 E Cesar Chavez
Austin, TX 78702
Business website Mongers Fish & Market Restaurant