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October 15, 2010

Restaurant/fish market gets a makeover


Take-out, BYOB & prix fixe menu options make dining more economical; mixed drinks now available



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As a small boy, Rick Megna, owner of Rick's Seafood, went to Rhode Island with his family every summer.

"We spent vacations there clamming and fishing in the salt flats and I grew up right near a freshwater pond in Katonah, and so we went fishing there, too," Megna said. From these early experiences, Megna acquired a distinct appreciation for the freshest, highest quality seafood available.

Though he had always wanted to open a restaurant, Megna realized that Mahopac, where he has lived since 2000, also needed a fish market, like the ones he was used to seeing in lower Westchester. After years as a hobby fisherman while working at a large corporation, in 2001 he was able to combine his interest in seafood with a desire to own a small business, and opened Rick's Seafood at 545 Route 6.

The market, which has become a town staple for the many families who enjoy premium seafood, is especially popular at the holidays, particularly with those who celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, when they usually have been 300 and 500 orders.

Recently, though, Megna decided to revamp the space, and take his restaurant to the next level.

"I know that in the beginning, we may have turned off some customers because we were running a new business and hadn't streamlined the process yet," he said. "But now, things have changed, and we want people to try us again. We've worked out all the bugs, and now we have a wonderful, capable staff, and we can handle anything that comes our way, even if the restaurant and market are filled to the rafters. If you've been here before, you need to come back and see how much has changed. If you've never been, you're really missing out and need to try it."

Repainting all the walls and replacing the flooring and window fixtures, Rick's Seafood went back to the basics, creating a nautical theme with use of the colors blue and white and décor made from anchors, rope and other trinkets from the sea. In addition to giving all the staff uniforms, the seating and menus have been revamped, and now fit the more sophisticated restaurant.

In addition to weekly dinner specials, Rick's Seafood has a regular menu filled with all the seafood you could dream up. Some of the most popular dishes include Sesame Crusted Tuna with Wasabi, Horseradish Crusted Chilean Sea Bass, and their Raw Bar Sampler, which includes oysters, clams and shrimp with cocktail sauce. If none of these, or the other items on Rick's extensive menu pique your fancy, there's always the "Create Your Own Entrée" option.

"This is for anyone who wants to try something different," Megna said "But seafood connoisseurs will especially like it. They can pick out the fish that looks the best to them, right out of our case." From there, the patron chooses their method of cooking from three options – grilled, pan seared, or baked – and a sauce from their collection of thirteen options. One of the most pleasing parts of the restaurant experience at Rick's is seeing your fish handler come in and slice off a piece of the very fresh fish they keep in the display case.

The restaurant also features a variety of high-quality meat and pasta dishes, and a full bar.

"We've always served beer and wine," Megna said. "But since the grand re-opening, we also serve a variety of mixed drinks, like margaritas and bloody Marys." As before, Rick's also allows patrons to bring their own wine and never charges a corking fee.

"This way, you can be more economical," Megna said. "We know times are hard, and now you can have a fantastic meal and not worry about paying extra for the best wine you can find."

For the even more economical, Rick's Seafood has everything you need to make a restaurant-quality meal at home. The market is one-stop shopping for the highest quality fish, finishing sauces made my Rick's chefs, and prepared side dishes. They even have full meals prepared with a simple and effective twist.

"We don't cook the fish through entirely, so it's still a little raw in the center," says Megna. "This way, when you pop it in the oven to cook for those last minute meals, it tastes freshly made, instead of reheated. It's perfect for a romantic evening at home or a home-cooked family meal."

Megna sources all his fish from the Fulton Market, and ensures that their quality is always high by being involved in every step, "from A to Z," as he says. None of the fish Rick's sells is genetically modified, and 75 percent of the fish is wild caught in open water, while the other 25 percent come from high-quality farms. In addition to focusing on providing high-quality seafood to the Mahopac community, Rick's also donates gift certificates to school fundraisers and supports the Women's Resource Center, helping the community in a different way.

In honor of their grand re-opening, Rick's Seafood will be offering a special prix-fixe menu for dinner.

This "Early Bird Special All-Night" will be available during Sunday through Thursday dinners until the end of the year. Like all of the food available at Rick's, they'll be offering the highest-quality ingredients in large portion sizes to create a full, premium meal.

Rick's Seafood is located at 545 Route 6. They will have a prix fixe "Early Bird Special All-Night" Sunday through Thursday until the end of the year. For more information, call 845-621-2489.

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