Brooklyn’s beloved B+C Restaurants group has become synonymous with chicken, be it barbecued at Smoke Joint, deposited in gumbo at Peaches, or spiked with ghost chilies at Hothouse (which gets considerable credit for stimulating NYC’s prevailing obsession with Nashville hot chicken). But at Clinton Hill’s Marietta—where the bird of choice was classic southern-fried—the second most popular item was actually blue crab spaghetti, a fact that sent the enterprising team’s wheels spinning.
“It was actually our chef Damien’s idea,” explains co-owner Craig Samuel. “After the fried chicken, six or so of his most-ordered dishes were seafood—which is great, because cooking seafood makes us all happy.”
“On the other hand, people were coming to think of Marietta as a special occasion place, for Friday and Saturday night dinner or Sunday brunch,” he continued. “And so, we thought transitioning into an affordable, casual seafood concept seemed like a logical step to take.”
So in place of the refined Southern bistro formerly known as Marietta, the rambling, block-long eatery now goes by Peaches Shrimp & Crab—largely unchanged, design-wise, save for a rosy prawn painted on the bar room’s brick wall. The menu, on the other hand, has undergone a serious shellfish-focused evolution to include a series of garlic buttered boils like the Jim Cade (which in Peaches speak, means everything but the kitchen sink), stoked with tiger shrimp, lobster tails, clams, mussels and crab.
Marietta’s cast iron-seared ribeye remains, but they’ve added a few grilled selections such as boneless butterflied porgy and blackened Atlantic salmon, and have supplemented the sandwich menu (which still features their sought-after Long Island whiting) with whole lump crab cake on toasted brioche and an Alabama white bbq-moistened Maine lobster club. Lobster also appears tossed with chili and tomatoes in an unctuous, scallion-strewn spaghetti (a sister offering to that formative blue crab pasta), and starters include crocks of plump, explosively juicy breaded shrimp, smothered in Mississippi comeback sauce—which will undoubtedly do their part to keep patrons coming back.
“When you think of seafood restaurants, you envision stuffy raw bar spots, places to go for a quiet glass of wine,” Samuel said. “And while Damien, my partner Ben and I all come from fine dining backgrounds, we’re all about creating simple, easy-going experiences. If you look at Hot House and Peaches and Smoke Joint, they’re fun vibes because we’re fun guys.”
285 Grand Ave., Clinton Hill
Photos by Maggie Shannon