"We make it, you bake it." That's the slogan of a new Reston shop called Seafoodie that sells ready-to-cook fish and seafood entrees.
Opened about a month ago by former tech whiz-turned-caterer Kevin Mesiah and his wife, Kerri, an attorney, Seafoodie is already so popular with local strapped-for-time families that it sometimes sells out of its most popular entrees -- the plump and fabulous crab cakes and the jumbo crunchy coconut shrimp.
"Our concept is, we take the fuss out of it. Folks get prepared, but not cooked, seafood. That way, they only cook it once instead of reheating it," Mesiah explains.
Customers are given cooking instructions with their purchases, which include oven temperature (usually 450 degrees) and amount of time needed to cook the dish (from 5 minutes for baked scallops to 25 minutes for stuffed flounder). Most dishes cook in 15 minutes or less.
The response to the small shop, tucked away in the South Lakes Village Center, largely through word of mouth, has been "overwhelming," Mesiah says. He's had to draft both his mother and mother-in-law to help with the cooking and the customers.
In addition to about 10 fish and seafood dishes, Seafoodie's menu includes marinated beef medallions and, sometimes, rack of lamb for those who don't like fish, plus breaded chicken fingers for the kids. There's a special fish-of-the-week entree that rotates among halibut, Chilean sea bass, tuna and black cod. The shop also sells nine side dishes, including Mom's macaroni and cheese, lobster risotto, green beans with pancetta and homemade coleslaw.
Before getting into the food business, Mesiah owned a technology company in Herndon for seven years. Two years ago, he sold it to his partners "because I really wanted to pursue this venture." He worked for a year for Great Falls Gourmet Catering, where he developed his crab cake recipe and honed his cooking skills.
Why seafood? "First, I love seafood and I think, in general, people love it, too," says Mesiah. "But it's a challenge to find fresh, quality seafood and to cook it right."
For those who tend to overcook fish, Mesiah's cooking instructions take the guesswork out of it. We tried the scallops, barbecue-seasoned halibut and the crab cakes as well as the beef medallions. Not only were they all delicious, but the oven time and temp for each one was precisely right.
Seafoodie, 11130-F South Lakes Dr., South Lakes Village Center, Reston, call 703-391-0075. Open Tuesday-Friday, 1-7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. www.seafoodies.com.
-- Candy Sagon