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G Force | Basil Freddura

Open minded

“Every day is different. I don’t just cook. I catch the fish, I cut the fish, I clean the fish,’’ says Daily Catch chef Basil Freddura, pictured at the restaurant’s Brookline location. “Every day is different. I don’t just cook. I catch the fish, I cut the fish, I clean the fish,’’ says Daily Catch chef Basil Freddura, pictured at the restaurant’s Brookline location. (Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
By Devra First
Globe Staff / February 3, 2010

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The Daily Catch has been serving Italian-style seafood in the Boston area for more than 35 years, with branches in the North End and the Seaport District. A third branch, in Brookline, just reopened after a long hiatus. In charge: chef Basil Freddura, 24, son of the owners. What will a young chef bring to this old-school restaurant? We spoke with Freddura to find out.

Q. Why did the restaurant close, and why reopen it now?

A. I’ve got a big family; I’m one of seven sons, and the restaurant is run by my parents. At the time, me and my brothers were all in school; 9/11 hit and the economy took a dip, and it was just my parents trying to do all this. Brookline was getting neglected, so we just closed down. It was on the market, but nobody was really going for it for whatever reason. Last year I was in there, and I said what do we have to do to reopen this? I did some renovation work, and this winter was the time.

Q. You went to culinary school at Johnson & Wales. Will we see that influence on the menu?

A. I’m keeping it old-school and bringing in new flair. We’ve had a lot of the same items on the menu for 30 years. Our customers expect certain items: lobster fra diavolo, black pasta. I didn’t want to complicate it too much. It’s such a small restaurant, and I want to have the best product. I’m going to bring on whatever is around and do some specials with it, keep it local, seasonal, whatever I’m in the zone for.

Q. This must feel like a return for you. You kind of grew up in this restaurant.

A. I used to waiter at the Brookline restaurant when I was in high school. The summer I graduated, I cooked over there a couple nights a week. I always liked that spot. It’s where I cut my teeth.

Q. What do you like about the business?

A. Every day is different. I don’t just cook. I catch the fish, I cut the fish, I clean the fish. I go to the produce market, cater parties, set up for festivals. It takes a certain kind of person to really excel in this industry. It’s almost second nature to me.

Q. Boston is known for its seafood. Do you think the restaurant scene reflects that?

A. There’s a whole generation of restaurants - Legal, No Name, Union Oyster House - we’ve got all these old, established restaurants, but really no new seafood restaurants. I don’t know why that is. I don’t get too involved with the restaurant scene. In my spare time, it’s not like I go out to eat. I go fishing.

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