Essex Street Grille
Phantom is always looking for places where the hospitality is top notch. Where the kitchen really cares about the food, and the bartenders take pride in the cocktails. And when he does, he always sets his GPS for Essex Street.
Located in Haverhill, Essex street grill has been serving dedicated customers for over 13 years. Sera Manzi and Carl Parvana are the couple behind the concept and they always treat patrons like family,
“I stay in the front of the house and do more of the hospitality aspect of it and he stays in the back of the house to also live and collaborate. This is his passion. This is where he thrives. It can get messy but we try to keep to each other’s lanes and stay out of each other’s way.”
The two have created a cozy environment with the help of Sera’s brother Mike.
“We treat everybody the same you know whether you’re a longtime patient advisor and brand new person, we’re gonna treat you the same it’s really not like work it’s just more like you know, you’re coming in having fun out here.”
“You don’t really feel like a customer you feel like a guest.”
And Phantom felt right at home as he searched for the perfect meal.
The starter section of the Essex Street menu was lined with creative options like lobster rangoons with a soy ginger dipping sauce, shareable flatbreads topped with barbecue chicken bacon and carmelized onions and these ahi tuna wantons
“It’s yellowfin tuna, it’s seared, very rare, quickly seared, and it served over a crispy wonton, which is flash fried to order it’s got a honey soy sauce with it a little pile of wasabi. It’s a nice appetizer because it doesn’t leave you so full that you can eat your entree.”
But the must order off the appetizer menu has to be the empanadas because they’re made with the time tested recipe.
“They are handmade every one of them. They load them with shredded chicken cheddar jack cheese, peppers, onions and they hand press every single one with the fork. They’re deep fried, but they don’t taste deep fry. They taste light and refreshing. It’s all nice fresh ingredients. And every last bite is delicious. They’re unbelievable.”
The menu offers many handheld options, you’ll want to get your mitts on like big juicy burgers piled high and south of the border snacks like the fish tacos. Stuffed with blackened Mahi Mahi, shredded cabbage and mango salsa with an avocado cream sauce. This dish lights up any palate.
“It just kind of explodes right in your mouth. It’s just like fantastic. A little bit of the sauce on there too. It’s just great.
And if you happen to be there in season, a lobster club is the way to go.
“The lobster club is served on too thick pieces of Texas toast. It’s got lobster, it’s good avocado, tomato. The arugula gives it a little bit of spicy flavor to it everything you could want for a nice summer sandwich.
For entrees there are beautiful spice rubbed lamb lollipops served over a refreshing Greek salad seafood pie loaded up with buttery lobster shrimp scallops and Haddock and a seasonal pork Osso bucco that has quite the following.
“The pork Ossobucco’s a seasonal item that we do in the winter and by September every year. We have the regulars asking when’s it coming back? When’s it coming back? They cannot wait for it. It is a fall off the bone pork shake and it’s smothered in a demi glaze and it’s served with this wild porcini mushroom risotto that is so creamy made to order every time. It’s consistent and the texture is always perfect.”
But if you ask Sarah and Mike’s mom Joanne she’ll tell you the chicken marsala is the top on tray to try.
“I haven’t made it since I’ve had it here. It blows mine away blows it away.”
“You never tell an Italian woman that she’s second banana but you know this one kind of eats on my mom’s my salad for sure.”
“My mother can’t believe she loves it. Every last bite of it is gone on her plate. It’s made with fresh pasta and we use a specific Marsala wine sauce that makes it so rich and creamy and it’s always consistent and it’s always delicious.”
At the end of your meal, a sweet is an absolute must with options like moist buttery carrot cake or the decadent chocolate trifle.
“It’s a very simple dessert. It’s just chocolate cake, chocolate pudding Heath Bar crunch and whipped cream and we layer it in a mason jar. Every time I go to pick one up off the table. It is scraped clean. The cake is always moist, the puddings always fresh, the whipped cream fresh, it’s delicious, down to the last bite and when you pair it with our espresso Martini there’s nothing better.
Empanadas, the lobster club, chicken marsala and chocolate trfle make for the perfect meal at Essex Street Grill.