Vol. 10, No.4
As we wandered down lower Thames Street, the delicious aroma of spicy garlic tomato sauce lured us to this storefront restaurant. Andy Ackerman artfully directs his staff in a culinary performance on eighteen burners in full view of his casually attired patrons. The overhead racks of frying pans, charcoal grill, deep-fry area, and piles of fresh seafood along one wall of the restaurant likewise offered clear testimony to the no-nonsense dining found here.
You'll see no written menu, just a large blackboard that lists an enticing array of offerings-with nary a choice for the non-seafood lover (a fact that didn't bother us at all). Here is high-quality seafood without any pretension. Lobster fra diavolo, thick spicy tomato sauce peppered with clams, mussels, squid, and lobster is served on a bed of linguine and comes to your table in a steaming hot pan. We had this dish here eight years ago and today it's still a top favorite. Littlenecks Roberto, Sicilian clams and mussels, scampi, calamari, scallops Marsala, mesquite-grilled swordfish, salmon, and monkfish were some of the other choices the day we visited. Marinated grilled toro tuna, the fatty underbelly of the fish and an expensive delicacy in sushi bars, is a specialty of this restaurant. In fact, we've never seen it on a menu served grilled.
On a crowded night the noise level can be annoying, as the bar, kitchen, and dining areas are all in one room. The lines are long on summer weekends so get here early or be prepared to wait. But even with this drawback, we rank Scales and Shells high on our list for the seafood aficionado.
The second floor houses UpSclaes which has its own entrance. Here the atmosphere is more serene, the tables are covered with linen, and reservations are taken. The menu is still all seafood but he dishes are all served on plates except for the shrimp fra diavolo which comes in a frying pan. The open kitchen is presided over by Debra Ackerman, the other half of this husband wife team.