With my first bite of Black Pasta Aglio Oglio— fresh pasta blackened with the addition of squid ink to the dough, allowing it to absorb the flavors of garlic, olive oil, and salty Italian cheese—chef Kevin Addis advised me that this dish artfully sums up the mantra at .
"It's so unique and genuine," he said. "That's what we try to do here."
Indeed. The dishes feature impossibly fresh shrimp, fish, and scallops, prepared in true Sicilian fashion—minimal fuss, light-handed preparation, and ingredients so good on their own that they barely need the sauce. An order of Linguini with Shrimp, Scallops, and Broccoli ($24.50) brought me al dente pasta, barely coated with white wine, garlic, and olive oil, and studded with flawless shrimp and scallops: Sicilian minimalism at its finest.
If you're one of the marinara faithful, you're in for a tomato-ey forkful of joy. The housemade marinara is made by tossing tomatoes with a mess of shellfish, adding a saline depth to the sauce that can turn even a simple side dish of penne into an event.
The menu's declaration of "recipe unchanged since 1973!" goaded us into an order of calamari ($11.75 for small): chewy rings with a thin brown breading, just enough to lend flavor, but not so much to detract from the squid. This is a far cry from the soggy, more-breading-than-chew variety that we see on most menus these days.
Caprese salad ($9.50), one of my favorite summer dishes, showcases the immortal trio of tomato, basil, and airy buffalo mozzarella over a bed of fresh mesclun greens, with a drizzle of olive oil and mild balsamic on top. It's hard to go wrong here, but I can only imagine how this salad will taste when the kitchen has fresh summer tomatoes to play with.
A filet of Broiled Haddock ($23.50) shone in a simple breadcrumb crust, which added flavor and a bit of crunch, but never weighed down the mild fish. It's good with a glass of crisp, citrusy Vermentino 'Aragosta.'
But it's the daily fish specials, designed with an eye towards the fisherman's daily catch (pun intended), that really impress. A pistachio-encrusted filet of wild salmon was prepared with a nice sear and a light touch, producing a crispy crackly outside and a succulent interior. Alongside was a roasted portobello mushroom stuffed with baby spinach and a sweet-smoky Sicilian-style caponata, featuring sun-kissed cherries— Chef Addis' take on “traditional Sicilian with New England ingredients and flavors.” Pair this with a goblet of MacRostie Pinot Noir, with cherries bursting from every sip.
A gentle, amazingly complex tiramisu ($7) is handmade by server and apparent pastry devotee Maria. The tiramisu rolls on your tongue, light as air, until disappearing with the last bite, leaving you with only a vague sense of contentment.
The Daily Catch is open for dinner Monday through Saturday 4pm to 10pm, and Sunday 2pm to 10pm. No reservations are accepted at the Brookline location. 441 Harvard Street, Brookline. MBTA: Green line (B) to Harvard Street.