After a grueling first day of corporate PF training, followed by late complimentary "boxed wine" at the hotel, we were starving and I was craving local seafood and linens. The GM at the Hampton Inn Portsmouth had a ton of recommendations for fish but when I insisted on "hip, casual and delicious," he called out Jumpin' Jay's but warned us of no lobster.Oysters 3 Ways: Blue Point from CT, Cape May Salts from NJ, Point Norris from NJ, $12/doz. Lucky us—it was "A Shuck for a Buck!" every Tuesday night. Very few things in life can be more gratifying than an ice cold, wet, slippery, meaty, silky slurp of oyster right off a crusty shucked shell. The Cape May Salts were the best—big, meaty, plump, supple.
Snow Crab Claws, $16 for half doz. Cold, crabby, sweet, barely salty and terribly addicting. We should have ordered a few dozen of these!Pan Seared Cod from Casco Bay, ME, $25. All the fishes come with russet mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, caramelized shallots and a choice of sauce. Predictably, I chose a super Asian topping, "Mandarin Sesame Glaze with Wasabi Aioli" which was just so-so, not nearly as good as the "Sweet Garlic & Herb Butter." Can't ever go wrong with cod—thick, rich, buttery and melty.
Pan Seared Halibut from Sitka, Alaska, $28. Since halibut was flown in that day and extra fresh, Mary and Brian couldn't resist. They also picked the insanely good and super garlicky "Sweet Garlic & Herb Butter" sauce.
—Rogan's Bakery, Shain's of Maine ice cream.
Jumpin' Jay's Fish Cafe
150 Congress Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801