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“Well, we really liked the food!”

Black Seal Seafood Grille
Ranked #6 of 17 Restaurants in Essex
Cuisines: American, Seafood
Restaurant details
Reviewed February 23, 2013

I have read the very negative comments about the food at this little restaurant and am frankly mystified, since we both liked what we got a lot. We had dinner there the day after Valentine's Day and found it very tasty. My wife had a cobb salad, since she wasn't very hungry, while I had swordfish. We both enjoyed what we received. She was particularly pleased that the chicken was chopped up, as we often receive it in slabs, and found the dressing a very nice complement.

I very much enjoyed the swordfish, but was really thrilled to find the vegetables cooked only to the point of being a bit crunchy. My only disappointment--mild since I've been dieting--was that no rolls or bread were served.

The service was good, the wine a good temperature, the food excellent, the ambiance not so much. I admit that it was a bit disappointing to enter what looked from the outside to be a charming little bistro to find on the inside what had more the flavor of a diner (even the menus had that feel), but we actually think that the food and service made up for that deficiency.

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1  Thank RevL05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (133)
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101 - 105 of 133 reviews

Reviewed January 31, 2013

During our recent visit to Essex we stopped for lunch at the Black Seal. My wife had read a positive review from the New York Times and we decided to give it a try. Frankly, we were quite disappointed.

On the good die the people were very nice and the service was courteous and prompt. No problems with that. The bill wasn't bad, about $25 for the two of us for lucn.

The décor underwhelmed and seemed dated given the nice appearance of the place from the outside. The real disappointment, however, was the food. The clam chowder was thin and overly fishy tasting. The tilapia sandwhcih obviously contained previously frozen fish that had probably been microwaved to defrost. The taste was average at best. My wife's salad was again really non-descript. We really wanted to like this place. It was a nice day and we were prepared for a nice lunch. It just did not happen. Too bad too as our tripo was a scouting mission for our doughters wedding in the spring and we were looking for places to recommend to the folks who will be visiting the area for the event. This will not be one.

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Thank th001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

Essex is a very cute town and most of the buildings in this area were built in the 1770's. The Black Seal Seafood Grille is one of them. The restaurant seems like more of a tavern, as the bar is directly to the left of the front door, but there's sitting across the way and in the back room. Our food was very good. The seafood quesadilla was excellent, as were the homemade soups. Keeping the vintage of the building in mind, though, I think the atmosphere could have been improved by some different music. All in all, though, we'd both go back. The food and service were just fine.

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Thank Wave R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2012

Great food, bar tables are better than the dining room which can be cramped.Can be noisy but that is part of the charm,good service and value

Thank Kay C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2012

19 of us called about one hour before we wanted to eat there and they said fine. We got there about 5:30 and we were seated promptly. Drink orders taken quickly then food orders. Food served very quickly for all 19 of us.

I had the scallop casserole and it was delicious! And there was lots of it. I thought this was a fantastic place and good value. Service was excellent.

Thank Tisbe52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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