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Somewhere beyond the seafood

Galene, 5870 Big Tree Rd., Lakeville, 346-7231

“Is it weird to have a meal of just shrimp?” I ask my tablemates.

They are pleasantly unfazed by my question. “Not at all,” replies my sweet friend Claire.

Obviously, peel-and-eat Argentinian red shrimp are entirely different from a fried shrimp salad. And the Oishii shrimp cocktail is worlds away from the jumbo Cajun shrimp blackened on the plancha.

Still, upon my first visit to Galene, a new seafood restaurant in Lakeville, it didn’t seem fair to have one protein monopolize my palate.With so much to try (oysters, salmon, steak!) I decided to enjoy a more varied meal.You’ll be glad if you do, too.

Perhaps it comes as no surprise that it’s run by Luke and Paul Develder, the duo behind Ember Wood Fire Grill in Livonia (just two miles away) and Pi Craft Pizza in Henrietta. To bring to life the elevated, Boston-inspired menu, the duo brought in chef Sean Wolf, formerly of Char Steak & Lounge and Farmer’s Creekside Tavern & Inn.

From baskets of fried fish to refined pork cutlets gracing the menu, the establishment manages to straddle the line between a nostalgic lake hangout and a cool cocktail bar made for impressing friends. The dockside restaurant is a summertime dream.

“The location really can’t be beat,” says Wolf.

Located at the north end of Conesus Lake in the former Hook and Spoon space, it offers two distinct dining experiences. Diners can drive up (or boat up to one of the restaurant’s forty slips) and eat inside. The interior has a modern, slightly glamorous seaside vibe with sweeping views of the lake, a proper dining room, and “the porch,” effectively a sunroom with large garage doors that open up in good weather. Indoors, you’ll find the full menu offering classic starters, salads, sandwiches, and entrees prepared on the Spanish-style plancha grill. The patio is a more casual experience with a large fire pit and a walk-up food window.

The menu is abbreviated, with fare perfect for eating with your hands (think coconut shrimp, fries, and roast beef sandwiches au jus).You can even feast while on your boat if that’s your thing. 

“I’m most excited about seeing this place humming,” says Wolf. This is the first summer the restaurant has both indoor and outdoor spaces open for service.

When I went in early April—not a time I wanted to sit out on the stunning patio—we opted for the more refined indoor experience. (Pro tip: If you still want to soak in those lakeside views, request a table toward the back of the restaurant. Even if the weather is less than desirable, the space’s huge picture windows are incredible.)

We started with blistered shishito peppers ($10) and smoked salmon toast ($15). Both showed off the restaurant’s unusual Japanese robata grill, which burns hotter and slower than traditional grills, imparting everything it cooks with deep flavor and a bit of char.

For the toast, the rustic bread kisses the grill before it’s dressed with dill cream, fried capers, pickled veggies, and buttery cold- smoked salmon. It was tricky to share among four people, so consider ordering more if you’re out with a crowd.

Huli Huli Chicken

Huli Huli chicken skewers, photos provided by Christie Annechino

For lighter bites, try the rotating list of grilled small plates, new to the menu this summer. The Hawaiian-inspired Huli Huli chicken skewers ($15) or robata-grilled garlic bread ($10) are great for a quick snack and a cocktail before heading back out into the water.

I craved the fry baskets of my youth, but I felt fancy so I ordered the shrimp salad ($18) instead. It has a generous portion of flash-fried large shellfish over greens along with crispy cubes of potato, raw cucumber, tomatoes, and marinated beans. A creamy garlic herb dressing that’s a dead ringer for Thousand Island blanketed the entire dish.

That combo may sound strange, but the varied textures work beautifully together. It had so many toppings that I could have happily ordered it as my main course. Split among four people, it felt substantial without filling us up too much.

The unexpected star of my meal was the impossibly tender six-ounce petit filet ($24). It’s served as a deconstructed Wellington, with a section of crisp puff pastry, finely chopped mushrooms, and a swipe of rich demi-glace all over a cauliflower potato mash.

I was impressed by the levels of flavor and the incredible value. I’m used to paying a premium for steak in the city—sometimes twice the price of this dish.Wolf explained they make this steak dish affordable by using a lesser-known cut called the teres major. It’s a part of the chuck or shoulder portion of the cow, but it’s the second most tender portion, save for the tenderloin, but arguably the more flavorful of the two.

He ensures a perfect medium-rare by preparing the steak first in a sous vide machine, then finishing it off on the plancha to create a nice sear.

For once, I was glad I broke from my tendency to pick familiar dishes at seafood restaurants. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the steak and the flavorful grilled skewers.

While Galene’s dishes still very much answer to the call of the sea, the rest of the menu is worth a try. Whether you’re a shrimp lover, such as myself, or more of a meat-and-potatoes type, this is a restaurant that has something for everyone, with some killer views to boot.


Oysters, photo provided by Christie Annechino

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