Mariner’s Delight: Inside a Celebratory Dinner Party at Seaworthy
Plus, two mouthwatering recipes, from the restaurant, you won't want to miss!
Published Dec 30, 2016 6:00 AM
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When the crew behind Seaworthy, a new oyster bar in New Orleans, hosts a celebratory get-together, seafood is the star ingredient.
Photography by Roland Bello Text by Alex Redgrave Produced by Kate Berry
Flowers by Mitch’s Flowers mitchsflowersnola.com
In a city that’s equal parts Southern charm, French finesse, and scrappy eccentric, Seaworthy is a welcome newcomer. The cozy oyster bar, housed in an old town house that’s part of the new Ace Hotel New Orleans a few doors down, feels like a sea captain might return home at any moment. The mantel in the upstairs dining room is artfully covered with candle wax and leafy greenery, while the navy leather booths and emerald-hued marble café tables in the downstairs bar add a modern touch to the sailor’s clubhouse vibe.
Homemade saltines and a seafood tower take appetizers to the next level.
The founding crew behind the space are worth their salt when it comes to entertaining. Brothers Alex and Miles Pincus grew up in New Orleans and learned to sail on Lake Pontchartrain as kids before moving to New York. In 2014, they launched Grand Banks, an oyster bar on a historic schooner docked on the Hudson River, along with their partner, Adrien Gallo.
Miles Pincus, Anne Pincus, and Adrien Gallo catch up before dinner.
To toast the recent Seaworthy opening, the trio assembled a group of their Big Easy–based friends and family. From a kitchen small enough to fit in a ship’s hull came seafood towers straight out of a still life; smoked blue fish pâté with buttery toasted ficelles; and perfectly crisped shrimp and mirliton dressing, a local favorite. Guests passed around a lemon-studded salad of winter greens as Gallo circled the table, topping up champagne coupes. Executive chef Kerry Heffernan, who came down from his post at Grand Banks for the party, swiftly added a steaming saffron-laced broth to the seafood fricassee sitting at the center of the table.
Designing the space to feel warm and layered took the expert eye of New York’s Home Studios—as well as a few final touches from Miles and Alex’s mom, Anne Pincus. She scoured her favorite antiques shops for oversize brass ice buckets and vintage nautical prints and paintings to round out the decor. All that was left was to shuck some oysters and pop the bubbly.
One of the oversize brass ice buckets Anne found at a local antiques shop (read on to see her picks).
Executive chef Kerry Heffernan and chef de cuisine Daniel Causgrove kick back before the dinner rush.
Mismatched vintage plateware and colorful cocktails create a festive vibe.
Anne Pincus shares her favorite spots beyond the French Quarter
As You Like It Silver Shop
3033 Magazine Street, asyoulikeitsilvershop.com Come for the beautiful antique and vintage sterling silverware at affordable prices.
2727 Edenborn Avenue, yourrenaissance.com This is my favorite treasure-hunting shop for antique European paintings, mirrors, and furnishings.
1400 St Charles Avenue, heirloomfurnishings.com I frequently find a variety of interesting vintage china and crystal here.
Miles Pincus and fiancée Julie Tolivar take in the scene.
Smoked Blue Fish Pâté
- 1 small bunch dill
- 1 small bunch chives, minced
- 1 lemon
- 1 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 small shallot, peeled and minced
- ½ lb skinless, boneless smoked bluefish
1. Rinse dill and remove stems. Chop and divide into two piles, then do the same with the chives, chopping and dividing into two piles.
2. Juice and zest the lemon.
3. Combine butter, cream cheese, shallot, and lemon zest in the container of a food processor (not blender). Blend well for 30 seconds, then add bluefish and half of each of the dill and chives. Blend by pulsing briefly, just to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
4. Remove mixture from processor and place into an attractive ceramic or glass bowl. Garnish with remaining chive and dill. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ficelle.
Negus Napkins by Bole Road $65 boleroadtextiles.com
Shrimp & Mirliton Dressing
- 2.5 lbs gulf shrimp (heads on)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups white wine
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 bell peppers
- 2 yellow onions
- 4 celery stalks
- 6 mirlitons
- 2 to 4 cups crumbled leftover cornbread
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped sage
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt, pepper, hot sauce as needed
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ cup bread crumbs
1. Separate heads and tails of the shrimp. Peel and devein the tails, cutting them into bite-size pieces, and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté heads until lightly pink, about two minutes. Add tomato paste and stir until evenly distributed and lightly caramelized, about 30 seconds. Deglaze with one cup of the wine. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Add two cloves of garlic and the thyme. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes. Strain, and reserve stock.
3. Meanwhile, cut bell peppers, yellow onions, and celery into a medium dice. Mince the remaining 4 cloves of garlic. Add any scraps from cutting the vegetables to the pot of stock.
4. Peel the mirlitons. Cut them into four pieces lengthwise. Remove core. Cut into ½-inch pieces.
5. Place a large pot over medium heat. Add diced bell pepper, onion, and celery. Sauté until lightly caramelized. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is fragrant and brown bits are appearing on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with the rest of the wine.
6. Add mirlitons and reserved stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mirlitons are completely soft and beginning to break apart, about one hour. Add more water if needed. When the mixture is thick, add cornbread crumbs and stir constantly until they’re absorbed. If needed, add a little more water or wine. The consistency should be like grits. Add reserved shrimp and parsley, sage, and mint. Season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer mixture to a baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan and bread crumbs evenly over the surface. Bake until golden brown and crusty on top, and serve from the oven.
There’s nothing like digging into a seafood dinner to bring a table together. Family-style dishes and servingware in various heights, shapes, and colors add to the fun.
Josephine Napkins by Juliska $20 domino.com/winter16.