happy Chinese New Year! it's the year of the goat/ram. which happens to be the year my mom was born in.
i have to say, my lunar new year isn't getting off to the best start vs. my western calendar new year. hope it's not a sign of things to come...
since the new year fell on a Thursday this year, my parents decided to hold the family dinner on Saturday to accommodate theirs and our working/school schedules.
P.F. Market opened up in my hometown a few years ago, on a strip of the main street surrounded by car dealerships and Wendy's, Taco Bell, and Burger King. not a very promising opening. but over the years, i've heard very good things about the mildly upscale seafood restaurant. plus it's BYOB.
the menu is clearly seafood-centric, with little to no other options. so diners with seafood allergies beware.
we started with a Seafood Tower ($34) consisting of 3 little neck, 3 cherry stone, 3 east coast, 3 west coast, 3 shrimp, and colossal crabmeat. it was very difficult to be judicious in picking and choosing which pieces to eat in our family of 11. as is tradition and culture, the adults got first and multiple pick, with the kids, receiving it last, pouncing on the platter like hyenas at a feeding frenzy.
we also ordered 2 versions of calamari. the traditional Fried Calamari ($12) was nice and crisp and i actually preferred it over the special calamari that was offered that night, which was a twist on the traditional with an inclusion of honey and chili to the fried version. others also ordered bowls of Lobster Bisque ($8) and New England Clam Chowder ($5.50). The lobster bisque was the clear winner that night, with a great creamy texture and light lobster accent. unfortunately, the chowder that night was very salty, nearing on almost inedible.
for entrees, the Seafood Fra Diavolo (shrimp, scallops, calamari, PEI mussels, & lobster tail in spicy marinara over linguini) ($29) was a huge hit. and the portion was ginormous. it had the right bite of spice without being overpowering, and the sauce had a clear seafood flavor and was sufficient to properly coat the pasta so every bite was balanced with the dish's components.
as is expected, my mother ordered the P.F. Paella (fresh octopus, calamari, shrimp, scallops, PEI mussels, clams & chorizo, over rice) ($28). you know that 1 dish that you can never resist when you see it on the menu? that's paella for my mother. my dad ordered the Broiled Branzino, which is technically a special but appears to be on offer at all times.
unfortunately, the remainder of the entrees ordered were all from the specials menu. there was a very light and refreshing lobster risotto, a squid ink pasta that was a tad salty, and my entree, an arctic char served in arrabbiata sauce.
just about everybody took leftovers home (excluding my dad and BoyCousin#1). but, proving the resiliency of the young, WongSquared ordered dessert. and as typical of young taste buds, she ordered Chocolate Lava Cake ($8). knowing that people might want something sweet, but not that sweet, i ordered the Pistachio Gelato ($8), which was happily well received.