Some time in the ’90s it became cool (kewl?) to replace the letter “S” with the letter “Z.” Finz in Salem, Massachusetts arrived at the tail end (get it?!) of that decade, so they still get a pass. And while the ambiance could not be further from the divey lunch that day, the them was the same – seafood.
Thus, we started with Crab Irish Nachos, which is like the most Boston thing ever because it combines Irish and Seafoodish in one.The potato chips were housemade, the nacho sauce was spicy and the pico de gallo was…unnecessary. Yet, these were about as good as you could expect a combination of crab and fried potatoes to be.
We also started with an order of the Finz Crispy Calamari, which was said to be served Rhode Island style. As someone not from the northeast, I had no idea what that meant, but learned that it simply meant the squid was tossed with pickled banana peppers. Strange that that is all it takes to be called your “style,” but then Rhode Island is quite small. In the end, it tasted like…wait for it…calamari that just happened to have banana peppers nearby. So, you know, pretty good.
Now Finz is one of those places with tanks of lobsters just waiting to be grabbed and dropped into a boiling pot of water. This is not uncommon, but we were seated right by those doomed lobsters and this in no way prevented me from ordering the Lobster Mac and Cheese. It turned out that was really more like Lobster Penne and Cheese, but I still liked it. Plus, the truffled asiago bread crumbs added a nice crunchy texture to the dish. The centerpiece, though, was the lobster itself. It was quite plentiful and the chunks were massive. Pus, the cheese sauce tasted like it was made just for lobster.
In the more upscale side of the lobster world, Salem delivered the goods once again. There’s something about lobster done right that elevates it above the lesser foods from the sea. And when you’re in Massachusetts and don’t need to pay an arm and a leg (and a pincer) to get that crustacean in your belly it’s all the better.