A Feast Fit For The Season

Indulge in this Italian Christmas Eve seafood tradition.

Holidays foods—be they burgers and ‘dogs slapped on the Fourth of July grill, turkey at Thanksgiving, latkes at Hanukkah or chocolate on Valentine’s Day—can be seen as traditions we must honor by eating. Aunt Midge’s too-sweet ham on Easter or Grandpa Bill’s attempt at black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day are dishes we sometimes simply have to endure.

But Christmas Eve’s Feast of the Seven Fishes? Now, unless you are a devout seafood-hater, that’s a meal for those who truly love food. Seven fishes—in one supper! Ah! A worthy holiday feeding.

Years ago, I interviewed the late, incomparably great chef Joe Romanowski, chef-owner-padre of a slew of acclaimed and beloved restaurants, including Joe & Maggie’s Bistro on Broadway in Long Branch and Bay Avenue Trattoria in Highlands, about his own fish feast on Christmas Eve. Paying homage to the Italian side of his sizable family was something “Joe Ro” looked forward to doing every December 24. He loved those family all-fish dinners and he loved incorporating ideas from them into the menus at his restaurants.

If you are dining out this Christmas Eve, you might want to partake in a Feast of Seven Fishes dinner. Though many restaurants are closed on the Eve and/or Christmas Day, restaurants at hotels or resorts often have special menus. Some put seafood in the spotlight, as Italians do. Grazie, land of the red, white and green, for the inspiration.

Halifax, the restaurant inside the W Hotel, located at 225 River Street in Hoboken, is offering a Feast of the Seven Fishes menu from 6 to 8 pm on Sunday, December 24.

The dinner will be “curated” in contemporary fashion by Halifax chef Seadon Shouse, who specializes in Northeastern farm and coastal cuisine. Included in the special seafood menu will be house-made smoked fish, fritto misto, seafood risotto, blue cod and golden tilefish. Desserts are from pastry chef Stuart Marx.

To reserve, call Halifax at 201-253-2500. Prices vary depending on choice of entree. More information is available at halifaxhoboken.com.


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