Eat This Now: Birra’s Shrimp

I went to Passyunk Avenue’s new Birra this weekend with the intention of trying the pizza. I did try the pizza. And it was very good. But the real star of the meal had to be the $18 bowl of to-die-for shrimp, which are now officially my favorite version of the crustaceans in town. (Sorry, Sid Booker.)

Chef Andrew Fox brings the head-on shrimp in from Marvesta Shrimp Farms in the northern Chesapeake. He roasts them with an anchovy-caper butter in the restaurant’s 650-degree Montague pizza oven, where all of Birra’s hot platters are cooked (with the exception of the mussels).

After a few minutes in the oven, the shrimp are topped with a touch of panko and lemon zest and served with toasted slices of baguette from neighboring Artisan Boulanger Patissier, perfect for soaking up the schmutz that’s left behind, which may actually be better then the shrimp themselves. Close call.