You could stand on a corner and look around until a restaurant sign draws you in. But we've got a better idea. Each week, Patch picks a great restaurant either in town or nearby that is worth checking out. Here's this week's choice:
Overview: For many years, Mansuetos Seafood shop was a landmark in Watchung. Located off Route 22, in a shopping center straddled by Somerset Street that felt cramped, brothers John and Dan Ramella, owners of the shop, moved the business to Warren in May—much to the delight of local fans.
The new location features all of the offerings you're looking for in a seafood shop, with fish brought in daily from the Fulton Street Markets for absolute freshness. Specials follow the seasons, as the fish do, and you can buy your lobster tails, shrimp or salmon at great prices.
But the new shop also offers dining space—and Mansuetos' great take-out options, if you're just passing by on Mountain Boulevard on your way home.
And the prepared seafood will make you forget about do-it-yourself cooking, although you can get your fish seasoned and ready to cook for later.
Fans rave about Mansuetos' lobster, but I have to say I'm a bigger fan of the salmon salad and fish-and-chips meals. I enjoyed the salmon salad when it was suggested after I ordered a crab salad when they were out of it (it's freshly made, remember).
I was admittedly wary of the idea—crumbled bits of grilled salmon over a bed of garden greens?—but it was terrific. A house dressing complimented the salad perfectly and the portion was generous without being wasteful. At $8.50, it was a delicious bargain.
In other visits, I've enjoyed the fish-and-chips—unlike most restuarants, the cod is not too heavily coated or tasting overly-fried: you can taste the fish and it tastes good!
I've also made it a point to stop in periodically to grab food to take home—a pint of the best clam chowder makes a great quick lunch.
And be sure to sign up for Mansuetos' email newsletter to get coupons and announcements of upcoming specials.
Décor: The decor is simple, with five tables set out for dining, and old photos of Mansuetos on the walls. Half of the fun of dining in is watching the people come and go, as regular customers stop by to visit with the Ramellas—or new ones rave on about the food.
Entrees: The complete menu includes special family portions of flounder, cod or crab cakes, favorites such as fried calamari or breaded oysters, shrimp and clam strips. They have a cooler with soft drinks, but you can bring your own, if you prefer.
Address: 41 Mountain Blvd., Warren NJ