One of the most highly-anticipated openings this spring was the Crab & Mermaid Fish Shop. This recent addition to the downtown Scottsdale culinary scene debuted on March 24th and I was able to get a sneak peek at a media preview and ribbon-cutting. Barrett Rinzler, founder of Square One Concepts, Inc. (other restaurants include Cold Beers & Cheeseburgers and Wasted Grain), told us their vision was for "great seafood in a casual setting, a little bit of an oasis in the desert." The decor fit the theme, with an inviting patio, airy dining room, and L-shaped bar welcoming guests with a comfortable and colorful nautical vibe.
The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Isaac Carter who has worked at acclaimed restaurants in Massachusetts, New York City, and Las Vegas, including a a 12-year tenure with renowned Chef Todd English. He tells us that to traditionally-rooted seafood dishes, he is bringing his own unique "twists from experiences I’ve had all over the country, from the east coast to the west coast." On the menu, you'll find po'boys, seafood gumbo and oysters Rockefeller; New England lobster rolls, clam "chowda" and steam pot; and classic raw bar fare such as shrimp cocktail, littleneck clams, and crab legs.
Chef Carter tells us his philosophy is the "history of food, where does it come from, and how we can translate that to what we do today. Maybe a little more modern, maybe using Japanese spices or Chinese spices." You'll see this in dishes such as tuna poke with sambal and ginger, or scallop ceviche with coconut milk and lemongrass. "But you're still getting your crab cakes, Maine lobster, or king crab too."
Cocktail expert extraordinaire Richie Moe brings his skills to the libations with easy-sipping creations designed to pair with the menu. Try the Tsunami Sake-Tini with sake, gin, yuzu-ade and cucumber, the refreshing Layered Sangria Red, or his signature Riptide Margarita with pomegranate, blackberry, charred lime and black salt.
Richie told me one of his favorites is the Elyx'n Vixen, made with Absolut Elyx vodka, watermelon, bitter lemon soda, salt, and mint. Now it's one of mine too.
As a native New Englander, I know where I'll be returning to spend summer evenings with craft cocktails and a taste of home - Crab & Mermaid.