AlaMar Kitchen & Bar

Price: $$$

Restaurant Details

This Uptown seafood spot isn’t an Asian-Cajun joint, even though the restaurant’s specialty — the seafood boil — tends to be the domain of Vietnamese-American restaurateurs. But chef Nelson German thought he could improve upon the genre. Instead of using traditional Cajun seasoning, he uses compound butters made with spices like saffron and smoked paprika. Instead of boiling the shellfish, in many cases German chars them on the grill before tossing them with sauce in a sauté pan. In dishes such as AlaMar’s take on peel ’n’ eat shrimp, the combination of ingredients — of well-spiced Romesco butter, garlic, and the umami-laden funk of the juices you can suck out of the shrimp heads — is irresistible. Other highlights: raw oysters topped with cilantro-ginger “caviar” and a recipe for braised oxtails the chef learned from his Dominican mother. The plastic bib is strictly optional.

Luke Tsai

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Price: $$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

Reservations for parties of six or more only.