If you wander far enough in Boston, down some winding paths, and into Little Italy, you will find the hidden treasure that is Daily Catch. Located on the main strip, if you blink as you walk past you might miss it. I have a special place in my heart for tiny establishments. No frills, no fluff, just amazing food and great service. Daily Catch is one such place. People line up outside the door waiting for seating. You can see the patrons as you wait, chowing down on sumptuous meals served in rustic aluminum skillets. Entrees go straight from the kitchen to the table. The establishment requires only three people to run the entire place: the chef, the server, and the hostess. The entire restaurant only seats about 10 people. The kitchen takes up half the space in what I am generously calling a dining room; from every perch you can see the chef working her magic.
Daily Catch invokes images of watching a master chef cook in his or her own home. You are a guest and are treated as such; this place is like someone’s home.The menu changes daily and is drawn on a large chalk board in pastel colored chalks. There is variation to be had, appetizers to be tried, and memories to be made. Daily Catch is an experience not to be missed.
I would like to say that I have been lucky enough to dine at this establishment on two occasions; but luck had nothing to do with it. After the first visit to Boston, I could talk about nothing else. On my second trip I dragged my friend kicking back to the Northend so that I could have their signature dish, that I was too timid to order on my first visit. All in all, it is very difficult to order anything bad off of this menu. Correction; it is impossible to order anything bad off of this menu. But if you want a truly epic meal, follow my instructions carefully.
First: Arrive at the restaurant and take your place in line. There is almost guaranteed to be one, but don’t squawk at this. A place where people are lining up to eat is a place that you want to be.
Second: As you wait in line, carefully observe what other patrons are ordering. There is a menu, but it’s hardly necessary. Just order what looks good, or what I tell you (hint hint: these will be the same things).
Third: Once the hostess has seated you be ready to order. The unruly patrons in line behind you will massacre you if you take too long with you meal given the limited seating options.
Fourth: Start off with the fried calamari. It’s difficult to go wrong with anything fried, yet and still Daily Catch does an exceptional job. The flaky, crispy morsels right out of hot oil onto your plate; so hot you can barely put them in your mouth, served with fresh, zesty tomato sauce are nothing short of rambling paradise. On my second visit I opted for the calamari balls, tasty, but not nearly as memorable as the fried calamari itself. I can still imagine the succulent tasty perfection and continue to salivate over it to this day.
Fifth: If you do nothing else that I recommend, order the Lobster Fra Diavolo. On my first visit I balked at paying $80.00 for a pasta dish even if it was meant for two people. When the chef says that this dish is for two people, they mean two marathon eaters who have been in training for months, expanding their stomachs beyond what is naturally humanly possible. If you undertake this endeavor with only one companion, no matter how stout you believe yourself to be, you will fail.
Sixth: If you have room for dessert at this point, you are a better man than me. I don’t remember anything after the Lobster Fra Diavolo.
Needless to say, I am enamored by the Daily Catch. I can’t even by coy about how in love I am with this spot. Not only is it one of my favorite meals of all time, the establishment itself speaks to my inner hobbit: tiny, comfy, low-key, and lacking in pretentiousness. As I said before the restaurant only seats about 10 people. We were lucky enough to sit in the window at the very front on my second visit. After the lobster fra diavolo came out, patron after patron drooled in jealously as we stuffed our faces. We saw several others hit the table while we enjoyed our dinner. Once one of these comes out of the kitchen, food jealously ensues: everyone else must have it. This is exactly what happened to me on my first trip, and this is exactly what brought me back for my second trip, and what will inevitably bring me back when I visit Boston again.