Nothing screams warmer weather more than the smell of fried seafood. On Sunday with temps in the 70's it seemed like one of those days so my wife and I headed toward the NH seacoast in search of our first taste of the season.
After enjoying a leisurely drive, we decided to stop for a late lunch and stumbled upon Petey’s in Rye. With a tiny parking lot and cars crammed into any available nook, we agreed to give it a try since neither of us had eaten there. In a prime spot across from the beach, I realized that parking was going to be an issue. After multiple failed attempts at circling the parking lot and on the verge of being defeated, my wife spotted someone pulling out and I gunned it as the race had begun. On the other side a motorcycle was waiting and we stared at each other for 10 seconds. Who would blink first....? I thought but then he waved me on. Thank you whoever you are. Needless to say be very careful driving in this area and with summer around the corner it will only get worse.
The layout is one of a true seafood shack. On the left they have a take out window and there is also an area with picnic tables. We had a little trouble at first trying to figure out where the entrance was. The front is the bar area with seating first come first serve and to the right in back they have a small dining room with booths. There is also an upstairs roof deck. I checked in with the hostess and after a 35 minute wait we were seated.
The menu has all the seafood that anyone who lives in or visits New England loves. Fried haddock, shrimp, lobster tails, clams, scallops along with lobster dinners and a clam bake for anyone who is really hungry. You will also find fried chicken tenders, broiled chicken breast and sirloin steak to name a few of the options on their menu if you prefer something other than seafood. And don't forget the sandwiches, chowders, salads and kids menu.
This reminded me of my mother’s chowder that had a light creamy texture and not so thick to look like wallpaper paste. My biggest complaint about chowder is that there is usually never enough stuff in it but they had plenty in this one. Additionally, I’ve eaten luke warm chowder but Petey’s is served with a lid to cover the bowl so it stays nice and hot.
My choice of entree was the haddock plate:
This was one of the better fried dinners I have had in a long time. The haddock was cooked perfectly with a light batter and each bite was better than the last. More surprisingly the cole slaw where most seafood places fail miserably is one of the best. A smooth texture with no vinegar aftertaste.
My wife had the fried jump shrimp.
These plump shrimp were served with a cocktail sauce for dipping and I could tell that my wife was very happy with her choice.
Our first visit to Petey's was a pleasant one and we are definitely looking forward to a return visit. It is interesting to note that unlike some seafood haunts they do accept credit cards so no need to worry if you don't have a bundle of cash.