The Daily Catch
323 Hanover St
(between Lathrop Pl & Prince St)
Boston, MA 02113
For July 4th weekend, I went back to Boston for the first time since I left after graduation. I have accumulated at least 10 favorites in Boston but since we were only in the city for 24 hours, I had to pick the all-stars, one of which is The Daily Catch. The Daily Catch is a tiny restaurant in the North End that seats exactly 20 – not one more. The space is completely packed and is run by three people: the chef, a waiter, and a washer. Hyper efficient. According to its website, this North End location first opened in 1973 (DECADES ago!).
We got to the restaurant around 5:30pm and didn’t get to eat until about 7:00pm. That’s how great this place is. Was it worth it? Abso-effing-lutely.
I started with a Moretti, a light and fruity Italian beer that E.C. introduced to me. I’m normally a wine girl but the fizz and lightness of this beer went perfectly with the pastas we had. Definitely ordering another when I get the chance.
LAW and I sat at a table while E.C., S.C., H.W., and S.S. sat at another. The place was too small to accomodate all six of us together. So LAW and I shared the Calamari Scampi ($10.75), which is fresh calamari sautéed with butter, garlic, oil, lemon, and white wine. It was deliciously fragrant and an excellent alternative to the fried calamari I normally get. The squid was chewy and tender. Delicious.
We also shared the Scallops + Linguine (around $29, can’t remember). All the pastas come directly from in the pan. The kitchen is only about three steps away from every seat in the house so you’re getting the pasta right off the stove. And my goodness, this is the best pasta I’ve had. The sauce is so incredibly fresh and perfectly seasoned. We asked for spicy so the chef added a nice diavola kick. The scallops are fresh – sweet and tender. They are just sautéed directly with the noodles, not pre-seared. I imagine searing would be a nice addition but the simplicity of the scallops further emphasizes the no-frills attitude of the restaurant. The noodles are, of course, perfectly al dente. Each strand of noodle carries so much flavor, as if it has completely consumed the sauce. It’s difficult for me to justify $30 for a pasta, even a scallop pasta (there were at least six scallops), but Daily Catch does it for me.
We also shared the Squid Ink pasta Aglio Olio style, which is with ground squid, garlic, and olive oil ($24? Also can’t remember exactly). This black pasta is a homemade house specialty. I’ve yet to have squid ink pasta somewhere else that even comes close to how good this is. It isn’t too fishy, which is what a lot of squid ink pastas turn out to be, or mushy, also what they tend to be. It is very chewy, like a Chinese 刀削面 (knife-cut noodles, more on knife cut noodles here!). It’s also very fragrant… like the taste left in your mouth after you swallow an oyster. Tastes so freshly of the sea!! You are actually given two more options for sauces, one a classic putanesca (olives, anchovies, butter, mushrooms, peppers, etc.) and another an alfredo (romano cheese and cream). I’ve heard both are amazing. I like to keep things simple with the ground squid and garlic. It helps me focus on the delicious flavor of the noodle…
New York City, I challenge you to present a pasta restaurant as good as The Daily Catch.