Casserole Call: Fisherman’s Wharf

The Sea-Ward

By Columbus Alive
From the October 20, 2011 edition

Coquille St. Jacques ($23), Fisherman’s Wharf

The Draw: Praise cheeses for fresh seafood in a nearly extinct, “vieux ecole” French preparation unabashedly awash in an ocean of comforting creaminess

Dig In: Warning: Only thrill-seeking dairy-devils need apply; faint of heart types should just look away (in envy).

The enlightened cuisine restraining order banning heavy duty dairy from having its smothering way with delicate seafood is blithely laughed off at this newish retro Greekish restaurant. And comfort food junkies are all the better for it.

Before a sunken treasure of tender shrimp and scallops is drowned under a boatload of creaminess — then blasted under a volcanically hot broiler — the sea creatures are mercifully liquored up on sherry. The result is drunken shellfish blanketed in an insanely rich blend of melted and crusted cheeses mingling with a zingy cream sauce buoyed up by a maritime salinity and likely fortified with fish stock.

Bonus: This over-the-topper is served in a dish that actually looks like a boat — or a woozy smile.