Return to Sharks (Newport, OR)


The best cioppino we had ever eaten was had at Sharks Seafood Bar back in 2009. Not only was there a substantial broth of tomatoes, vegetables and herbs—a recipe which the chef will not divulge—but a generous serving of fresh seafood. A noticeable amount of sweetness, which some may find a trifle much, came through from a generous amount of tomato paste. Cravings for it were mitigated by the cioppino base being available by mail order; all you need to do is add your own seafood. But the experience of this wonderful stew cannot be matched by enjoying it made to order in the quaint, nautically themed restaurant, and surrounded by the historic Bay Street waterfront.

Tonight, we decided to have a variation served with pasta. It isn’t technically a noodle dish but more aptly a stew with linguine in it. Marinara linguini (☆☆☆) comes with fresh Dungeness crab, two kinds of shrimp, and fresh fish (today it was rockfish). You could easily confuse this dish with another menu item, Cioppino and Pasta (☆☆☆), which only adds a few Manila clams for an additional $5. You might consider the marinara to be a better value. Both entrées arrived in large soup bowls filled to the brim and held their piping hot temperature long after they were placed in front of us. In the end, both of us agreed that the straightforward stew was preferable for no other reason than to forgo the starch that tended to sate us sooner than without and that the residual liquid from the pasta had a diluting effect. Otherwise, the cioppino appealed to our taste buds as much as the first time.

Sharks' Cioppino and Pasta

Sharks’ Cioppino and Pasta

Sharks Marinara Linguini

Sharks Marinara Linguini

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Cioppino at Sharks Seafood Bar & Steamer Co. (Newport, OR)


Cioppino

Cioppino

Sharks Seafood Bar alone would be worth a trip to Newport, Oregon, even if the town has many other virtues. The interior doesn’t have a very big space, with only a few tables and a sitting bar toward the back. Their cioppino is justifiably famous, named by Sunset Magazine in 2003 as having the best version in the West. It is the best version I have ever had, bar none. It’s chockfull of fresh rockfish, Dungeness crab, and two kinds of shrimp. In season, they’ll use locally caught shrimp. The broth is thick, tomato-ey and sweet. Sharks uses an interesting contraption for making it, which uses a steaming process; you’ll have to see it for yourself, preferably by sitting at the bar and yukking it up with the chef. Don’t even think about taking a picture of it; you’ll be asked politely to point the camera away. Try to get the chef to tell you what’s in the sauce. You’ll just get a polite smile. The recipe is top secret. Luckily, anyone can order the cioppino sauce online.

A bottle of Amity Pinot Blanc (Oregon), which is on the wine menu and very reasonably priced, goes great with the stew.

Very good friends of ours also swear by the marinara linguini, which they proclaim is perhaps as good as the cioppino. Oh, and that huckleberry ice cream!

The restaurant is hard to find off the main highway (US 101). It’s located in the Bayfront area.

Menu

Sharks Seafood Bar and Steamer Company
852 SW Bay Blvd.
Newport, Oregon 97365
541.574.0590