By, MUGGSY BARNACLE
Sunchunck’s new album Finally Here is now available on iTunes…view the group’s new video for the title track, Finally Here and be rewarded…this column promises you will be reduced to tears upon viewing soldiers return from wars on foreign shores reunited with loved ones and families while listening to the music tracks…this band has remarkably matured into a tight, important, and focused unit while not shedding its delightful humorous moments …Sunchunck is quickly (after a long haul) becoming the face of Newburyport’s music scene…and that is our reward.
…Recent music artists such as Tiger Saw, The Divorced, and The Brew have dominated the local scene with a lot of success, deservedly so…but each band has gone onto more national and international recognition…if you know of any apparent heirs, please let this column know.
…We understand that one Steve Rankin has sold his legendary ice cream emporium Gram’s…this gentle gentleman created a Newburyport landmark with his incredibly tasty ice cream and community generosity…for a bit he dabbled in simple lunch items as tuna fish sandwiches…at the time this reporter and his friend Roger Williams (of the State Street Boat House nautical fame) would order a tuna sandwich not necessarily to eat but to take it to the reception area of the Ten State Street (where this scribe had an office) complex to weigh it on the reception desk postage scale via a bet on its weight…one-pound+ always won…we’d split it and then go out for dessert with the winner picking up the check…a fond farewell to Mr. Rankin and his legacy…he will always be remembered as a pioneer of the success of Our Fair Port downtown.
…There is a new deli coming to the waterfront…located behind the A.C Davis Electrical building it is expected to focus on healthy and natural deli products…its buildout is moving right along with first-class renovations…so far, its name is not known…no this column is not going to call it the New Delhi Deli.
…Watch for a picture of Donna Greco and Julie Greco alongside Sen. Scott Brown on the Starboard Galley’s Picture Wall of Fame… Plum Island’s Famous Joe Mannix sent along this missive: “On the second Tuesday of the month Panera Bread brings a free breakfast to the Planet Fitness. It is not my scheduled day but I only pay $10.00 a month dues at the Planet so breakfast too is quite a deal.”…yes, Joe knows a deal when he sees one.
…We walked into The Rockfish and were highly impressed with its new look…spring cleaning had arrived and was quite visible and bright and cheery…the jukebox had been moved to the third floor giving the first floor a relaxing and peaceful feeling that it had been lacking before…the menu had been totally redone…new staff had been added…outside seating has been doubled…kudos to General Manager Kendall Bowie for the new look, feel, and promise…she had worked very hard the past month to basically reinvent the restaurant from a drinking and dining place to a dining and drinking place under the tutelage of Ceia’s skilled and accomplished co-owner Nancy Batista–Caswell…today the two restaurants are considered to be sister restaurants…the Fish will be experimenting with keeping all three floors open seven days and nights each week for dining…an ambitious undertaking indeed…before we dive into the new menu and its changes, allow us to say that Ms. Bowie may be the best bartender/general manager in town…she is an overachiever, an inexhaustible worker, and a personality larger than life, but more than such she is a good, caring person…we are lucky to have her in the hospitality biz…Nancy has a portfolio of impressive creds that boggle the mind…all of our destination dining spots already have their culinary eyes glued on Nancy’s next move…this column included.
…Ah, the new menu…it is smaller than the previous version, but no less enticing…two salad attractions seduces one’s palates …the Caprese, a vine tomatoes layered with fresh Buffalo mozzarella cheese, basil, and finished with balsamic drizzle ($10) is going to be hard to resist…equally tempting is the spicy beef salad, blackened steak tips served on a bed of field greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, goat cheese, topped with crispy wonton strips, and served with ranch (10).
…The big news on the apps listings is the oysters on the half shell (3 each) that will have its own menu and at times its own shucker…this column can not wait to see this menu and operation in action…the most dramatic menu change is the addition of Ceviche (“seh-BEE-chay”)…a Ceviche is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America… the dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices. The citric acid in the juice changes the texture of the fish, without changing its “raw” taste…Ceviche is an old tradition in South America, dating back to the earliest inhabitants….the Incas preserved their fish with fruit juice, salt and chile peppers, and later the Spanish conquerors introduced the now essential limes…prices range from $9 – $12.
…The sandwich selections of course feature lobster rolls, haddock sandwiches, angus burgers, etc. but also highlight a Po’Boy (battered oysters with mesclun greens at $11)…hard to resist will be Ahi tuna burger (12)…entrée choices now boast Rockfish ‘n chips, blackened salmon fillet, baked haddock, fried Ipswich clams, steak tip, buttermilk fried chicken, seafood linguine, lobster casserole, and hanger steak with prices ranging from $14 – $20.
…A few Rockfish classic offerings still are on the menu including signature chili to raved-about buffalo or Guinness BBQ wings…the bar menu of chosen specials is colorful and enticing…the names as such Brave Dog, Capsize Cocktail, State Street Struggle, Pear of These, and Cool Cucumber gives one a hint of these fun concoctions…the wine list appears to be well thought-out and fair in pricing with offerings from various countries and US states…of course, we will have to work our way through these various regions…such a task.
…This column at press time must report from our ark that Spring is missing and would appreciate if anyone has seen it along our seacoast…meanwhile, Happy B’ Day to cartoonist extraordinaire Danny Rindge…Ciao!