Crab bucatini at Catcher's Fish House in Freeport.

Crab bucatini at Catcher's Fish House in Freeport. Credit: Linda Rosier

Is there anything more puzzling than dining on Freeport’s Nautical Mile? Despite its enviable proximity to the Atlantic’s bounty, and the dizzying number of seafood establishments hugging Woodcleft Avenue, too many of its meals feel like trips down the "Eerie Canal."

But hope springs eternal on the Mile every other spring, this year at 301 Woodcleft, where the only constant seems to be the wrought-iron balconies and Bourbon Street décor of restaurants past. “Architecture is frozen music,” wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who sadly did not live to hear 301’s French Quarter tune, which was first sung by Nawlins Seafood Company (2016-18), later covered by Tropix on the Bayou (2020-22), and now by the new Catcher’s Fish House, which debuted before Memorial Day’s crowds.

But Catcher’s bears only a superficial resemblance to its ancestors, said general manager Armando Escobedo. The dining room, which seats 75, has been handsomely outfitted with dark wood farmhouse chairs and moody yellow light from exposed bulbs. So have the patio and veranda, where up to 150 can now wave to passing boats from tableclothed perches or beneath hanging baskets of purple-and-white verbena. Carving something classy out of a locale notorious for its seasonal frenzy is no easy task, as its manager well knows. “You’re always busy, weather permitting,” said Escobedo. “It’s fast. People want to come in and out. They want to eat and go on the Mile. That’s the vibe here.” 

This season, Escobedo is hoping they’ll stop and smell the steaks, and the scallops, and the platters of Gorgonzola-topped baked oysters. There’s a competent kitchen behind him, reliably turning out seafood towers of various heights ($59-$110), but also tall mounds of tuna tartare goosed by bits of mango and avocado and crowned with a wild frisée of fried onions ($25). There's a luscious collaboration of crab, bucatini and tomato cream resulting in a great bowl of noodles, itself a minor Mile miracle ($31). In the perennial contest between seafood and spud that goes by the name of clam chowder, for once the potatoes don’t win ($11), and while a brioche loses its own battle with the pricey burger ($26), most any bun would buckle under the weight of Catcher’s dry-aged beef and bacon combo.

It’s too soon to tell whether the new eatery will stand the test of time. Then again, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so does a thousand days on the Mile, and Catcher’s first ones are promising indeed. 

Catcher’s Fish House, 301 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport; opening hours are Monday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 516-600-9698,

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