End-of-year Dinner 2017: Jamestown Fish

IMG_8478The last dinner we share is always a little sad because we say goodbye to our graduating Seniors after this. That sadness, however, is tempered a bit by a fabulous meal–sharing good food together can only be a happy experience. This was provided by Chef Michael MacCartney of Jamestown Fish, whose menu delighted all present. It was a wonderful send-off to our two founding members, Kevin Jiang and Christine Gu, whose presence and participation will be sorely missed, along with the other Seniors: Johanna, Hannah, Amber, Anna, Matias, Jennifer, and Oliver. 


I’m sure the salty, classically Newport patrons of Jamestown Fish were confused seeing a group of twelve totally-not-related kids coming in to enjoy an afternoon meal on a Sunday afternoon. However, after sitting down with our carefully selected menus and plenty of warm bread, it felt like we were the only people on this culinary craft headed to flavor town. Sorry! That’s where we went. Surrounded by ocean-y blues and port windows, our table seemed to turn into a gently rocking schooner. Our voyage started with three fresh oysters, which were perfectly sweet and absolutely not as many as I could’ve eaten. Next, the Peekytoe crab salad arrived and took me completely by surprise. I had been expecting an overpowering crab flavor, but was instead faced with sweet shredded crab that perfectly played with the tart Meyer lemon and some biting fennel. Needless to say, this didn’t last long on any of our plates. The risotto primavera was a very aesthetic green, thanks to a subtle basil pesto and Carnaroli rice that didn’t at all suffer the biggest risotto risk: sticky gumminess, which was certainly the result of a hefty amount of stirring. After this, the black sea bass in a pleasant vegetable dashi broth was served. The morel mushroom reminded me at first of small, squishy brains, but they weren’t! The turnip was a nice balance to the strong earthiness of the morels and the fresh simplicity of the sea bass. Finally, our last stop on the journey: a smattering of desserts we reluctantly shared. My favorite by far was the chocolate cake with the ganache and vanilla ice cream, which was dessert-y but not at all cloying, and the ice cream was smooth and not your average grocery-store scoop. Sadly, we set sail back to port, and abandoned the galley for our red minibus to carry us swiftly over the Jamestown Bridge and back to Portsmouth Abbey. –Sydell Bonin ’18

Salt pond oysters were the best dish to start off the meal. I used to eat Yuzu back home frequently, but I never expected a combination of yuzu and oyster. The sweetness of yuzu made the salty and fishy smell go away. I wish I could have tried more than just three, but three were enough for other dishes were coming. Peekytoe crab was decorated nicely with green and yellow sauces on it: Meyer lemon, fennel and arugula tasted delicious with the crab. When I first got the risotto primavera, I was kind of shocked by the color. Because it was just full of green, I–who really hates vegetables–was afraid to taste it.  I never had a dish that was so tasty made just out of vegetables! The rice was really soft and went well with basil pesto. The sauce tasted amazing, and it was some kind of sauce that I have never tasted before. Morel mushrooms with the black sea bass was a new experience for me. I usually love mushrooms, but this was a new type of mushroom that I tasted. It was really delicious to take some piece of fish, the mushroom, and drink the soup together. The best part of the meal was the desserts. Even though we all had different kinds of desserts, I was glad that we all enjoyed sharing eachother’s. As we tried each other’s desserts with bright smiles, I realized that I will never forget this moment where we shared our happiness with great food and amazing people. As James Beard quotes, “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” –Jennifer Park ‘17

For what was sadly our final Culinary Arts trip of the year, we went to Jamestown Fish for a truly beautiful five-course meal, centered unsurprisingly around seafood. Though I have tried oysters in the past, those experiences were not particularly enjoyable, so honestly I was a little disappointed when I saw that the first item on the menu was “Salt Pond Oysters” with yuzu and caviar. When the oysters arrived, they were plated beautifully with ice on a sea glass dish, and I decided that there was no way that something that looked so good could taste bad. When I tried the first one I found that they tasted a bit like ocean water, but had lovely, light citrus notes from the yuzu. My second favorite part of the meal was the highly anticipated “Selection of Desserts;” as soon as we saw the menu we started speculating about what these desserts could possibly be, and when they were finally presented, they were far and above more delicious than anything that we imagined. I was given a little round golden brown cake topped with toasted almonds, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake itself had a mild almond flavor and the outside of the cake was almost crunchy with caramelized sugar like a brulée. Though the cake was dense, it was absolutely heavenly and is one of the best things I have ever eaten. Thank you so much to all the chefs who taught us and made this such a fun year, and to Mrs. Bonin and Mr. Calisto for coordinating everything and driving us to all our culinary adventures. –Hannah Banderob ‘17

I spent the past week in a fever of anticipation regarding our Sunday trip to Jamestown Fish. I visited the restaurant previously with my family, and I went into this Sunday with high expectations. Those expectations were met, and exceeded, by the work of Chef Matthew MacCartney.

After our drive into scenic Jamestown, we entered the quaint restaurant, introduced ourselves to the chef, and sat down to a five–count em’, five–course meal. Firstly, we were treated to a serving of Salt Pond Oysters on a bed of ice, topped with Sturgeon Caviar. Right from the start, I could tell that the restaurant regarded presentation of their food equal to the taste of their artistry. The dishes the oysters were served in were exquisite, to go along with the oysters themselves. The next course, Peekytoe Crab, was my personal favorite. The zesty lemon complemented fresh, springy crab to create a beautiful taste. Needless to say, that plate went back just as white as it came. Afterwards, a course of Risotto Primavera with basil pesto came out. The full flavor of the pesto covered the taste buds and left me craving more. However, my appetite was soon satiated by the main course, Black Sea Bass with morel mushrooms in dashi broth, on a bed of turnip, garnished with a sprig of sage. Everything about the dish, the perfect char on the bass to pair with the earthy mushrooms, and the pretty little sage leaves came together to exemplify everything about the restaurant, and the effort the Chef and his staff put into their craft. –Arthur Shipman ’18

The Portsmouth Abbey School’s Culinary Arts Club visited Fish restaurant in Jamestown last weekend. The food was fantastic, starting with the Salt Pond oysters, then having the Peekytoe crab followed by the Risotto Primavera, the black Sea bass, and finally an excellent selection of desserts. My favorite stood out as the Peekytoe Crab, consisting of sweet rock crab from Maine. This was absolutely delicious as it tasted incredibly fresh and had a very pungent taste of lemon. Additionally, it was served with a few pieces of decorative and tasty arugula, which is my favorite type of lettuce. The restaurant is a beautiful place and excellently located, and one that I would love to return to this coming summer. –Matias Wawro ‘17



Culinary Arts Club 2017