The Original Two Cousins

 

The Original Two  Cousins

Newton Plaza

594 New Loudon Road

Latham, N.Y. 12110

(518) 783-2002

www.orginaltwocousins.com

By Stacey Morris

 

LATHAM – A fish market that  bears the spotless elegance of a fine jeweler is about as rare as a   marble-sized pearl in an oyster, but The Original Two Cousins is one of  the rarified few. Walk through the doors of its Newton Plaza location and  you’re immediately dazzled by the sparkling glass display cases, but even  more impressive is what’s behind them:  ruby red slabs of salmon,   thick filets of tuna, mounds of jumbo lump crab meat, and snow-white  scallops so massive, the largest are nearly base-ball-sized. You’ll be  greeted by Lee or Eric, clad in white coats and ready to serve.  If  you’re there for fish to prepare at home, there’s no shortage of fruits of  the sea, from Red Snapper and Conch, to favorites like Grouper, Lobster,  and Scrod.  On a recent forage, we came home with Chilean Sea Bass.  We pan-fried it with a few spices and it translated into moist, delicious  perfection.

There are some seafood   entrees, however, which are best left to the professionals. Case in point,  Two Cousins’ incomparable Fish & Chips ($7.95) or their  crispy-but-soft fried oysters ($13.95) which are the biggest and sweetest  fried oysters I’ve ever encountered, both upstate and in the oystering  district of the Florida Panhandle. On another visit, we watched in delight  as Lee shucked eight oysters (from Willa Point in South Bend, Wash., used  specifically for frying) in quick succssion, dredged each in flour, and  then flash fried them.  Plump and pungent, they’re nothing short of Nirvana on a paper plate.  The menu at the Original Two Cousins is       thankfully not extensive. They wisely choose not to stray from the genre  that makes them renowned:  ultra-fresh seafood simply prepared.  There’s a tastefully designed dining area with orders placed at the  counter. You won’t find yourself missing a wait staff, though. You’ll be  too caught up in selections only a bonafide fish market could pull off,  like the Grilled Scallop Roll, Crab Cake-Salmon-and Shrimp Sliders, and  Ipswich Whole Belly Clam Boats. The goods, which are delivered fresh daily  from Boston, also include seafood dinners like Grilled Salmon  ($12.95),  clam strips ($9.95), and a tuna melt made with seared  medium rare tuna, avocado, tomato, Swiss cheese, and wasabi aoili ($7.95).   Two Cousins also has an array of salads like Smoked Salmon Salad,       Whitefish, Calamari, Lobster, Crawfish, and old-fashioned potato and  macaroni salads.

It’s not surprising that The  Original Two Cousins still dazzles customers after all these years. For       decades, Two Cousins has been a Capital region staple when Ralph DeSantis  opened the market in downtown Albany. When he retired, his daughter  Florence and her husband, Lee Yattaw moved the restaurant and market to       Latham in 2008 and added “The Original” in the title as a tribute to  Ralph.

If you’re not a major seafood  fan, the restaurant offers a few land-lubbing selections like Chicken  Tenders, Caesar’s Salad, Sirloin Burger, and a Cuban Pork Sandwich. Call  me crazy, but I’ve never taken Lee and Eric up on any of the latter…must  have something to do with the sensory memory of their glistening fried  oysters, velvety New England Clam Chowder, and the irresistable lobster  rolls.  Beef will just have to wait another day.

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