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A Sea of Taste in Otis

By Nichole Dupont

Laurie Sawin has been serving up fresh seafood in Otis for nearly 25 years.

OTIS, Mass. – As a general rule, I never, ever, ever order seafood if I’m not sitting right on the pier/dock watching the gulls snatch up dinner. In fact, I have a dark fear of any seafood that can be found “inland.” And yet, as the snow flies and my mind turns desperately to summer and sunshine and the promise of Vitamin D, I found myself craving something, anything, with a bit of sand and salt and brine.

Driving up and down the harrowing, unplowed back roads of creation, watching giant dollops of snow slip heavily off of branches, I wondered if this morning adventure was a good idea. The jeep slipped and slid and fishtailed. But, finally, I arrived at my destination on route 8; The Other Brother Darryl’s.

I know what you’re thinking. But, it’s not what you think. This modest little shop just beyond the center of town (notice Otis is right!) is chock full of sophisticated culinary treasures, including, of course, fresh seafood. The coolers are lined with sweet scallops, oysters, rock crab meat, roe, crawfish tails, lobster, you name it. Alongside the coolers are the “accompaniments” to any respectable seafood dinner; specialty pastas and grains (among them quinoa, polenta and orzo), a variety of fine import oils (including olive and hazelnut) and chocolates of all persuasions.

For nearly 25 years, Laurie and Darryl Sawin have elbow deep in seafood, providing fresh catch to area restaurants as well as foodie places as far as Pine Plains and Hudson. According to Laurie they are a “stand-alone fish market” in a literal sea of local beef, lamb and pork. This lone-wolf status also comes with some acclaim, especially given The Other Brother Darryl’s added role as a catering business and take-out venue.

Other Brother Darryl's also offers an impressive array of grains and pastas.

“We have people who come here from the city take our stuff back with them,” Sawin said. “It’s very flattering. It’s because our prices are fair and we take pride in what we’re selling. We also get a lot of people who are travelling for work; they stop here on the way up and on the way back and they’ve been doing it for years.”

Without a doubt, Sawin will see the same folks for the next 25 years. Clearly, even out in the “borderlands” of the Berkshires they’ve got a good thing going.

After indulging in some delicious caramel chocolates and debating the purchase of several hundred pounds of oysters, I found what I had originally come for; chowder. Good old-fashioned clam chowder, straight up with potatoes, sandy bits of clam and the scent of the ocean breeze.
Of course, they had it. I could barely wait to get home and chow(der) down.

It was an unforgettable bowl of nostalgia; a classic, creamy mixture of salt, cream, clams, pepper, potatoes and my signature hunk of rosemary bread settled in the middle for good measure.

Delicious and a little bit sad when my spoon clinked against the bowl.

The Other Brother Darryl’s is located on Rte 8 in Otis. For more info visit their website or call 1-800-6FLOPIN. 

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