Chef David Standridge greets our table in his signature New York Yankees hat (a bit uncommon on the East Coast of Connecticut) and offers to try smelt. If the first development was amusing, the second one left me confused. Smell? Really? To borrow the phraseology of those who live much further from the land: “this is not food, this is what food eats!” I trusted the chef, tasted the fried smelt, and after that I felt a strong desire to eat everything else on the Shipwright’s Daughters menu. You should too.
Standridge, a Yankee by both ancestry and MLB membership, grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of northern New Jersey, a descendant of a grandfather from the back of the Appalachians in Alabama. Gathering and fishing were a natural part of family life as a child, and the tradition of home cooking influenced his early food experiences. “Taste profiles and the like stay with you,” he says. “It could be almost genetically related to food and wine.”