The Lenten season officially begins with Ash Wednesday , which falls this year on Feb. 26. For many Atlantans, the ensuing 40 days will involve the avoidance of certain luxuries and indulgences. According to Roman Catholic tradition, the Church instructs Catholics to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and every Friday during Lent -- a rule that leads to a spike in seafood consumption each spring. For those observing the season, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite seafood dishes.
Gulf red snapper at Mission + Market
A version of this red snapper dish at the glitzy Buckhead power restaurant is still on the menu, and the bok choy risotto that it comes with remains memorable. The green tea-like flavor from the bok choy is light yet earthy, playing off the delicate flavor of the fish. This is the kind of dish that one might choose instead of steak, then forget that the steak ever existed at all.
Mission + Market. 3550 Lenox Road NE, Atlanta. 404-948-2927, missionandmarketatl.com.
Ceviche First Timer at Ceviche Taqueria
One issue with ordering seafood, especially for those who are normally red meat-eaters, is that it rarely seems to fill you up. That’s not a problem at Ceviche Taqueria, where the ceviche dishes are all served in ridiculously huge portion sizes. Opt for the Ceviche First Timer, an appetizer that allows you to select three different flavors of ceviche in (slightly) smaller portions. You’ll get plenty of variety and leave the table satisfied.
Ceviche Taqueria. 963 Canton St., Roswell, and 42 Milton Ave., Alpharetta. 770-777-0230, cevichetaqueria.com.
Lobster Roll at Lapeer Seafood Market
It shouldn’t take Lent to convince you to visit the seafood wizards at Lapeer -- the beautiful Alpharetta restaurant is worth visiting any time. In fact, Lapeer’s indulgent lobster roll, filled with hunks of lobster meat dripping in warm butter, might be too decadent to jibe with the penitent spirit of the season. One of the few items at Lapeer available at lunch, brunch and dinner, the lobster roll lurks at the bottom of the menu, tempting you to splurge.
Lapeer Seafood Market. 12 N. Broad Street, Alpharetta. 678-691-9400, lapeerseafoodmarket.com.
Mixed Grill at the Oceanaire Seafood Room
If you can’t decide what seafood to order on Friday, just order all the seafood. On Fridays during Lent, the Oceanaire in Midtown is offering a mixed grill that includes lobster tails, shrimp and scallops for just $45. That’s a genuine bargain at this old-school steak and seafood spot.
Oceanaire Seafood Room, 1100 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. 404-475-2277. theoceanaire.com/location/atlanta-ga.
Pla Kra Pow at Chai Yo
This show-stopping snapper dish is the best of both worlds: as dramatic on the plate as a whole fish, but served in easy to eat portions of fried filet. The complex flavors of the basil sauce and myriad textures of fried fish, tempura okra and luxurious jasmine rice make for a satisfying meal. Sitting in Chai Yo’s stylish dining room, you may find yourself appreciating the season of Lent for introducing you to such interesting new seafood dishes.
Chai Yo Modern Thai. 3050 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta. 404-464-7980, chaiyoatl.com.
Sushi and Sashimi Moriwasa at O-Ku Sushi
If you’re not an expert in sushi and sashimi, allow the true professionals to guide you. The sushi and sashimi moriwasa plate is an excellent way to experience the best of Westside sushi spot O-Ku. Featuring 12 pieces of sashimi, or six each of sashimi and nigiri, the moriwasa plate is filled with whatever the chefs deem the best, most balanced offering of their current sushi selection. Available any time, this is an excellent option for anyone who may be exploring new realms of the seafood world during Lent.
O-Ku. 1085 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-500-2383. o-kusushiatl.com.
Tomahawk Tacos at Catfish Hox
As long as you’re eating seafood, you might as well make it award-winning seafood. That’s the case at Catfish Hox, where the restaurant’s catfish-based Tomahawk Tacos have won the best seafood category at Taste of Marietta two years in a row. The catfish is the star, of course, with a crunchy fried exterior and a tender, succulent flake. And with three tacos to a serving, the portion is more than generous.
Catfish Hox. 2595 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta. 770-726-9925, catfishhox.com.
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