By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
PHILADELPHIA – A really great location for a seafood restaurant and fish store during Lent is around the corner from a bustling Catholic church. Lent, after all, is a time when Catholics at a minimum are required to refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays.
“Business was very good today (Ash Wednesday),” said David Einhorn, the long-time proprietor of Seafood Unlimited at 270 South 20th St., which is close to St. Patrick’s Church.
Einhorn would like to keep those Catholics coming too; anyone who mentions The Catholic Standard & Times will receive either a 5 percent discount or a complimentary glass of wine.
Refraining from meat during Lent is supposed to be a penitential practice, but according to the bible that’s not necessarily the case if one has lunch or dinner at Seafood Unlimited – the bible in this case being Zagat Philadelphia Restaurant 2009. As in previous years, the popular restaurant guide, which relies strictly on diners’ feedback, rates the food “very good to excellent,” with “fair” prices.
House specialties include lobster stuffed with crab imperial, shrimp and scallops in marinara sauce, tuna teriyaki and sautéed scallops to name a few, and of course, a whole litany of fresh fish depending on the day’s catch. Just about the only things on the menu that come from non-swimmers are the bovine half of a surf and turf combo and chicken breasts.
Probably the highest rated item on the menu is “pan-seared scallops and mushrooms which are just out of sight,” Einhorn said.
His restaurant is not large. It has 32 seats, expandable to 40 in warm weather with a couple of tables outside. As a combination restaurant/seafood market, Seafood Unlimited is about 70 percent restaurant and 30 percent retail seafood sales, which is the reverse of what it was when Einhorn purchased it two decades ago. The lunch crowd tends to be from the business community; weekday diners are mostly neighborhood folks, while weekends see more out-of-towners.
A Philadelphian by birth, Einhorn honed his restaurant skills in Chicago before coming home at Seafood Unlimited.
Second in command at the restaurant is his wife, Judi, who was a steady customer before becoming his wife, restaurant manager and part-time waitress, bartender and buyer.
When the two dine elsewhere, Judi teases Dave because he invariably orders fish. It’s not checking out the competition, it’s just that he really like fish, he insists.
His own favorites? “Just plain fish,” he said. “Maybe blackened flounder or blackened cod. Most fish we sell is high on Omega 3 (fatty acids). It’s good for the heart, good for the blood and good for the brain.”
Remember, at Seafood Unlimited mention The Catholic Standard & Times for 5 percent off or a free vino. Happy Lent!
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.