Larry Mesiti, 55, concluded in August that the cost of living in his home state of New Jersey was simply too high.The father of two, who served as the director of operations for eight restaurants in Manhattan, knew he wanted to stay in the food business. Luckily for Charlotteans, and patrons of his new seafood market on Monroe Road, he decided to relocate to Charlotte. “At first I toyed with doing a food truck or opening up a restaurant,” Mesiti says, “but at the same time, as a consumer, I couldn’t find any good seafood in this part of town.” One of Mesiti’s first jobs as a teenager was working as a fish monger in Teaneck, N.J. He spent three years filleting whole fish and filling restaurant and store orders. “I know my fish,” he says. So Mesiti and his wife, Tracy, 44, decided to open Deep Sea Seafood Market, a market and restaurant. The walls are lined with photos of people with fish of all shapes and sizes, but the central focus of the small store (located next to Firestone on Monroe Road) is the large glass display of the fresh fish and seafood that is for sale. “We only sell fresh fish,” Mesiti said. “Never frozen.” He adds that he is still getting a feel for what customers want and he is open to suggestions and requests. The display varies based upon availability and what has been delivered, including, but not limited to, New England cod, Atlantic salmon, Scottish salmon, branzini, tuna loin, Carolina flounder, mahi, snapper yellow tail, Prince Edward Island mussels, and Little Neck clams. The Mesitis also offer a variety of prepared foods that change frequently, such as an assortment of vegetables to accompany whatever fish a customer might purchase for dinner. “We want this to be a one-stop shop,” Mesiti said. His years in the food business and his own culinary skills (“I like to eat, so I like to cook,” he said) ensure that the side dishes have a unique twist. Examples include lime cilantro coleslaw, baked potato salad, garden farro (a grain akin to couscous) salad, smoked salmon and fresh oysters. “We made oyster pan roast soup,” Mesiti says, “and people loved it.” The Mesitis are on hand to answer questions and offer tips on how best to prepare the fresh fish they sell, some of which is new to customers. For instance, Mesiti might advise customers purchasing branzini, a fish similar to a trout, that “it is a firm, mild fish that is best cooked whole.” For those customers who would rather have Mesiti and his staff cook their seafood, dine-in service is available as well. A variety of sandwiches (such as fried oyster and shrimp Po-Boys, and blackened or fried catfish Po-Boy), soups, salads, and hot plates (such as fried calamari with marina sauce) and vegetables (such as charred Brussels sprouts with bacon) are also available for dine-in or take-out orders. In New Jersey, the Mesitis used to host an annual clambake that featured tons of fresh seafood. With their new seafood store in Matthews, it is as if they are hosting one every day for their new Charlotte neighbors.
Wednesday, Feb. 06, 2013
‘Fish expert’ opens his culinary dream
He left New Jersey to pour his knowledge into seafood market
Larry Mesiti and his wife Tracy have opened Deep Sea Seafood Market on Monroe Road. KATYA LEZIN
Want to go? Deep Sea Seafood Market is at 10020 Monroe Road, just south of Sardis Road North. It is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays. For information, email@example.com or 704-849-0029.