The "Shells" section includes salt-roasted Maine clams ($11), a neat gloss on clams casino, here topped with chorizo breadcrumbs and oregano mojo. Oyster stew ($12) is perhaps the happiest echo of Catch's seafood glories, surrounding a few plump, barely poached Virginia oysters with smoked hake, good bacon, big slices of leek, and bits of potato in a not-overthickened broth with a paprika dusting and wee chive biscuits on top. It's a dreamy wisp of cream, smoke, and ocean brine, evanescing far too quickly. Desserts manage to combine eye-catching platings with sublime flavors, as in black-sesame ice cream ($9), a delicate necklace of nutty, pearly, gelato-like ice cream alternating with chunks of chiffon cake and dollops of baked meringue. Start to finish, this place has to represent the swankest, most complete restaurant package Milton has ever seen, though the chirpy, efficient service and mid-century garage atmosphere keep the vibe casual. Maybe if Boston keeps making it so hard for independent chefs to thrive, Steel & Rye betokens a future of reverse commutes, where discerning urbanites routinely head to the suburbs to dine. This one is worth the trip.
STEEL & RYE :: 95 Eliot St, Milton :: 617.690.2787 or steelandrye.com
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