Sushi And Sailing: Gloucester’s Latitude 43 And Schooner Ardelle

Once a month in the summer, my friend Captain Harold Burnham of the Schooner Ardelle invites me aboard to drink beer and tell stories of Gloucester history.  Harold, an 11th generation Essex shipwright and a National Endowment Fellow built this 55-foot pinky schooner using local white oak and traditional methods, which sails from her berth at Maritime Gloucester.

I had some time to kill before the sail and so I decided to get an early dinner of sushi over at Latitude 43. The “Lat” is one of Gloucester’s most popular restaurants with a whimsical menu of old favorites, new twists, and excellent sushi. It’s fun to play tourist sometimes, even if you are eating within sight of your parent’s house, so I chose to eat on the deck with a view of our working waterfront.

Harbor Cove Gloucester

Harbor Cove: As a kid, this was my front yard.

As I overlooked the lobster boats in Harbor Cove, I ordered a Nigiri Sampler, which I’ve enjoyed here in the past. Mid-Afternoon visit on a weekday meant that I did not have to wait long for this delicious display from their sushi chef.

Lat43 Nigiri Sampler

My nigiri sampler: Tuna, salmon, hamachi (yellowtail), kampachi (almaco jack), suzuki (striped bass), and unagi (eel).

This was the perfect amount of sushi, and paired with an Asahi cost me about $21, not too bad. But how did it taste? I’m no expert on sushi, but I know what I like.

My plate was bookended by my favorites so I started on the right with the unagi, which did not disappoint. Next up was the suzuki – locally caught striped bass – a first for me. I’ve eaten hundreds of pounds of striper in my life but never as sushi. It was very mild and would make a good first step for someone who wants to try raw sushi. The kampachi, a completely new fish for me called almaco jack, was also mild and a little sweet. Hamachi, also known as yellowtail, is another type of jack that I’ve never tried until now. It had the strongest flavor out of the bunch, but was tasty, not fishy. The salmon and the tuna were as good as they looked and finished the sampler with a smile on my face.

I think it’s a good testament to the quality of their product that I did not need to load up my sushi with wasabi and the soy sauce remained untouched.

The excellent sushi agreed with me, but the weather did not. As we began to sail on Ardelle, the skies opened up. Our hardy group persevered for a while, but the flash of lightning in the outer harbor was enough to turn us back. That was a bummer, but I’ll be back aboard in no time for my next history cruise, and probably back at Lat43 for some more great sushi.

If you are on Cape Ann this summer, check out the Ardelle’s sail schedule and come join us for some history, fun and craft beer.

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