It’s a Friday night at the Hingham Shipyard and the place is hopping with strolling couples, children, and dogs, and the heady aroma of grilled meat and fish fills the air.
We decide to join the crowd and check out Union Fish Seafood & Raw Bar at this restaurant-heavy, waterfront development. Union Fish opened in mid-May on the ground floor of a new condominium building — across from the Wahlberg family’s upscale Alma Nove eatery on one side and their more casual burger joint, Wahlburger’s, on the other.
The space at Union Fish is narrow but airy, with a wall of windows facing the “street” scene and a strip of patio seating. There’s a long bar filled with folks happily drinking beer, wine, and specialty cocktails, and attacking plates piled with assorted mollusks and crustaceans, in and out of shells.
As expected, seafood — raw, fried, roasted, sautéed, baked, and stewed — dominates the menu. But vegetarians and carnivores also have other choices, including a sophisticated macaroni and cheese, skirt steak, and a luscious-looking bacon cheeseburger with garlic butter.
That’s good news for my companion, who likes his meat bloody and is overjoyed to find steak tartare ($12) on the menu. It arrives on a wooden board, shaped into a burger-like patty with a fried quail egg on top and accompanied by crisp crostini toast, caper berries, mustard, and pink salt. The meat is chopped, fresh and delicious, if you like raw beef.
I select the bluefish pâté appetizer ($8), which has a similar presentation with a mound of pâté next to crisp pumpernickel crackers and a blob of red onion jelly. The pâté is creamy and mild; the jelly more sweet than tart. The combination works.
The waitress tells us the most popular entrées are the pan-seared scallops and baked haddock. We order both.
The scallop plate ($23) is lovely: four browned scallops in a pool of bright yellow hollandaise, next to a cylinder of pale green risotto wrapped in a ribbon of thin yellow squash and topped with crispy oyster mushroom “chips.” The scallops are cooked perfectly and the sauce, flavored with corn, is very tasty.
The haddock ($18) is less striking, but good. It comes on what’s described as leek and crispy potato crust (essentially mashed potatoes with a crust) and green beans.
We also order a side of truffle parmesan shoestring fries ($6), which come in a cone. Hot and crisp, they have a distinctive earthy flavor and could be addictive. Other sides (all $6) include the herb risotto, skillet cornbread with maple butter, fava beans and fresh peas, Yukon gold mashed potato, street corn, onion rings, and grilled asparagus. Soups and salads also are priced separately ($6 to $9).
We finish with a crème brûlée ($6), which is garnished with fresh berries and bits of flourless chocolate cake. The custard is light, the crackly surface literally melts in your mouth, and we fight over the intensely chocolate pieces of cake.
Chef Brandon Babiarz, who grew up in the restaurant business on Cape Cod, cooked previously at the first Union Fish, in Plymouth. The restaurant’s parent company, Dramshop Hospitality, also owns Church in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood and The Regal Beagle in Brookline.