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Fresh staying true to its name

When Fresh is the name of your restaurant, you’d better serve the freshest fish available. That’s the secret of Fresh’s success. This seafood eatery on Wall Street is obsessed with freshness, both in its seafood products and its produce.

Fresh has a talented chef to turn each item on the menu into a marvelous dish. Chef Matthew Zappoli was recognized by Bon Appetit magazine as one of America’s five chefs to watch in 2005. However, even this culinary wizard requires great ingredients.

“Fish shouldn’t smell or have a fishy taste,” said the chef. “If it does, it isn’t fresh.”

The fish served at Fresh comes fresh from the boat, and Chef Zappoli is very careful about the way all the seafood is handled in the kitchen up until the time when the fish is ready to be cooked.

Fresh serves several non-seafood items as well. The winter menu featured braised beef short ribs and promeganate glazed duck breast in addition to the popular crisp roast half chicken with wild mushroom risotto and red wine sauce ($21.95). Chicken stays on the menu all year long.

“Some people come here every week just to have the chicken,” Chef Zappoli said. “We can’t take that off the menu.”

This time of year, look for lamb to join the list of specialties, and now that halibut is at its best, a new dish of grilled halibut is making fish lovers very happy.

Another excellent choice is the white prawn crusted seabass ($26.95). This dish is served with sauteed spinach and onion soubise, and it’s melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Mahi mahi is another staple on the Fresh menu. The fish is prepared with a coriander crust and paired with shrimp risotto and port reduction ($25.95). It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular entrees at this local favorite.

The lunch menu features some of the same items as the dinner menu, but it also offers a wide selection of sandwiches and even more salad selections. The pan-seared scallops, crisp calamari and the Arborio-crusted sweetbreads are all available for lunch, and so is the macaroni and cheese. This traditional comfort food is made with three cheeses and truffle essence, which puts it a cut above the kind you remember from childhood. The dish is $7.95, and it appears on the dinner menu as well.

Some of the salads you’ll find offered for lunch include teriyaki salmon salad ($9.95), grilled seafood salad ($13.95) and hanger steak salad with bacon, mushrooms and gorgonzola cheese ($12.95).

Fresh now features live music Monday through Saturday starting at 6 p.m.

Fresh Seafood Restaurant and Bar is at 1004 Wall St. Call (858) 551-7575.