MILLBURY – Is hunger weighing on your mind? Then, it’s time you stepped into Scales.
Located in Millbury, Massachusetts, this cheery seafood shack has a casual dining room sporting scale, after scale, after scale, after scale.
“The name Scales got developed because the previous owner decided he wanted to open up a fish and chip house,” said owner Dean Dellaventura. “When he found this location – the big scale tha’s over in the corner – couldn’t get it out of the floor. And one day it popped into his head, ‘well, I want to open a fish place. Let’s call it scales.’ And then all the scale started getting collected.”
“We have baby scales. We have food scales. We have doctors’ scales. We have mail scales. You name it we pretty much have it.”
Dean and his wife Shari are the couple behind Scales, and you can usually find them back in the kitchen cooking up plate after plate of fried seafood.
“I think there’s two things you have to have when you have a great fish and chip,” explained Dean. “One is you gotta have the freshest seafood around, which Scales has, and the second thing is: don’t overbeat it. Just do it nice and easy and keep it simple and let the seafood shine.”
Since fish is the house specialty, you’ll find everything from delicate Crab Stuffed Haddock, to down home Fried Seafood favorites – served in pizza boxes.
“Here at Scales, we learned a long time ago that styrofoam is not good with fried food. So what we do now in any of our takeouts or deliveries, our seafood comes in pizza boxes. When you get that big pizza box you’re thinking, ‘oh my god what’s this?’ And you open it up and you see the seafood is just piled all over the place. That’s a good time,” said Dean.
The whole bellied clams are fried until they’re good and golden, and can be enjoyed on their own or as part of the Tip the Scale Platter.
“Our Tip the Scale is our version of a Fisherman’s Platter. What we do is we take our fresh haddock, we hit it with a pile of French fries, and then we top that with whole clams and scallops, and then we top that with our hand cut onion rings.”
Lobster lovers will want to get their claws on Scales’ over stuffed Lobster Roll and the super steamy Lobster Mac and Cheese made with smoky Gouda.
“Our lobster mac and cheese, I wanted to go outside the box a little bit,” Dean said. “We’re coming at you with a smoked Gouda sauce. We use a nice heavy cavatappi pasta that will sit there and will hold the sauce perfectly. We bake it off with garlic parmesan panko crust. When it comes to your plate, and you bust open that crust and the steam comes up, and you can smell that smoked Gouda – smiles come across the dining room.”
If you’re crazy for clams, Scales has Fritters overloaded with them.
“When we scoop them up nice and fresh, and they start to bubble up and they brown, and you see the little pieces of the clam sticking out the side – that’s when you know you got yourself a good fritter.”
And creamy, dreamy Clam Chowder is served in a bread bowl for a little extra indulgence.
“When we put the clam chowder inside of a bread bowl, and all of the clams and the potatoes and everything is oozing all over the plate, people love it,” said Dean. “They can’t get enough of it.”
The menu at Scales goes way beyond fish and chips. Dean tends to wow customers with his nightly specials, usually sophisticated offerings with an unexpected spin, like his version of Beef Wellington.
“Instead of using a typical filet mignon, I do it with braised short ribs. The whole thing come out- its’ golden brown and beautiful and when people carve into it, the meat just falls apart.”
Since Dean is Italian, he’s incorporated some of the foods he grew up with into the menu, like the elegant Scallop Caprese finished with a Balsamic reduction, addictive Garlic Knots basted in butter, and a towering Five Layer Lasagna.
“My lasagna stands 5 layers high. It’s approximately 4 ½ to 6 inches off the plate, smothered with good mozzarella cheese. When people come up and they see this big massive pile of lasagna sitting in front of them, their eyes light up, their face lights up. You can see the little drool coming down the side of their face. It’s unbelievable.”
Dean even likes to get creative with his pizzas.
“I’m a huge fan of a good BLT sandwich, and one of the things that I wanted to do was create that in a pizza. We put it all together and top it with a little drizzle of mayonnaise over the top. And when you bite into it – I know the mayonnaise on a pizza doesn’t sound good -but when you bite into that first bite you’re hooked.”
That same pizza dough can be found on the dessert menu as well, in the form of the Fried Dough Sundae.
“We take our housemade pizza dough. We flatten it out. We drop it into the deep fryer. Then we top it with a little bit of powdered sugar, and then pile high the ice cream. We hit that with hot fudge; covered with whipped cream. We throw some nuts on top. We hit it with a few cherries. It’s a meal in itself.”
Since Scales is BYOB, you’ll feel right at home… and that’s exactly the way Dean and Shari want it.
“When you walk in here and you see our kids running around, and my wife is working over there, and I’m working in the kitchen, you feel like you’re in my home, and that’s the way we like it.”
Scales is located at 45 River Street in Millbury, and online at scalesseafood.com.
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