The freshness and variety of the catch at Stoic & Genuine, combined with the creative plating of chef Jorel Pierce, mean that the Union Station seafood stop has never been a cheap place to eat, particularly not at lunch. While Burberry scarves and camel blazers dominate the lively dining room even at the noon hour, Pierce and owners Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch have retooled the lunch menu to offer good value and light options to appeal to the power set, the tourists and the everyday downtowner alike.
Of particular note is the "I'll Have the Fish" section of the menu, which allows guests to choose from six proteins to go atop three different salads for $19.50. Seafood choices include albacore, Skuna Bay salmon, hamachi, wild-caught shrimp, diver scallops and king crab (with big-eye tuna also available for a $5 up-charge). Those get paired with either the Med, with arugula, artichokes, olives an piquillo peppers in a creamy feta dressing; the Easty, with broccoli, pineapple, peanuts and red peppers dressed in sesame-soy; or the Kale + Beets, which includes walnuts, fennel, pickled mustard seeds and maple-orange vinaigrette.
Several sandwiches and "Maine and Mains" come in at around $15, like a tuna melt that subs out the usual gloppy tuna salad for a thick, pink slab of seared albacore, or the Bang Island mussel "chowda," which sports and entourage of plump mussels surrounding the bacon-heavy broth. Prices go up to S27 for a playful take on paella that sees saffron rice formed into crunchy fried triangles. And while a lobster roll rings in at $23, you can opt for a shrimp roll for only $9.
Of course, several raw oyster options are also available along with other diminutive crudos and "not crudos" — small plates with cooked elements. And if you're with company, you can share a cast-iron pan of cornbread, a plate of crunchy eggplant fries with tonnato sauce or some roasted Brussels sprouts.
With so much variety to sample, keeping lunch cheap is still a challenge, especially when your server suggests a spiked granita or a chocolate-coated coconut-lime popsicle.
We may not have all been born with a silver spoon, but lunch at Stoic & Genuine — even if only for a special occasion like meeting Mom and Dad at the station after they roll into town on an Amtrak line — offers quality that's worth the occasional splurge. And it comes with a real silver spoon — the one you'll use to top your oysters with horseradish or mignonette.