It’s been, to say the least, “a compli-
cated journey,” Stollenwerk admits.
“I learned my lesson with quickly
The obvious thread tying those ill-
fated eateries together was the chef’s
affinity for seafoood. “I love working with
fish and shellfish because they are so
versatile in the ways they can be cooked,”
he says. “It is exciting and challenging,
especially in pairing with ingredients
that will not overpower the fish.”
With Two Fish—the name refers to
him and his girlfriend/partner, Felice
restaurant, Two Fish is small ( 26 seats),
BYO, accessibly priced, and dedicated
to pristine seafood flown in from many
lands and prepared with flavors and tech-
niques rooted in many lands. Whereas
Little Fish was a bit ramshackle, Two
Fish’s attractive materials and clean,
simple design are inviting.
Stollenwerk and Leibowitz revamped
what had been a pizzeria just off Haddonfield’s main drag, Kings Highway. They
introduced brass light fixtures, butterscotch drapes and a wall of inset candles.
“I always had in my mind that I wanted
to recreate a place similar to Little Fish,
but I never really found the right spot,”
Stollenwerk says. “We were both ready
to move back to Jersey after 16 years in
the city. We were looking for a small town
to plant roots in, and everything we were
looking for, we found in Haddonfield.”
Word spread quickly about Two Fish.
On my first visit, in early November, the
dining room was packed. Lacking reser-
vations, I had to wait 45 minutes. It was
packed on my second visit a month later.
Granted, there are only 26 seats. But you
have to give people a reason to fill those
seats. Stollenwerk is doing that.
Dinner starts with warm, crusty
slices of baguette from Philadelphia’s
Wild Flour Bakery and a condiment,
including on some nights a delicious,
herbaceous chimichurri Stollenwerk
has been serving since Little Fish was
just a hatchling.
The menu is concise, with just a
handful of appetizers and entrées.
It features time-tested Stollenwerk
pleasures like Prince Edward Island
mussels in coconut broth braced with
Thai red curry, lemongrass, ginger and
cilantro. Another proven hit, indeed
a must order, is his seared skate wing
entrée on chewy, truffled spaetzle
with melted leeks in a Parmesan broth
whipped to a froth.
There’s a terrific Spanish octopus
starter. The tentacles, poached and then
grilled, get a Greek accent from sautéed
chickpeas, creamy cubes of eggplant,
and garlicky skordalia made with yogurt
instead of the traditional potatoes. Broadening the flavor profile, slivered Fresno
chiles add enticing lashes of heat.
Calamari at Two Fish deftly sidesteps
the deep fryer. The chef cuts Rhode
Island calamari into thin strips and
sautés them Sicilian style with black
olives, balsamic vinegar, capers, tomatoes
and raisins for a concerted sweet-sour-salty sensation. A few toasted pine nuts
are sprinkled on top, but not enough to
distribute a consistent crunch that would
make the dish even better.
Yellowfin tuna steak is presented in
Salmon. Ubiquituous, inevitable
three slabs, each showing a glistening,
medium-rare center. Tuna, being so
silky and lean, cries out for luscious-
ness, which Stollenwerk provides with
a poached-egg vinaigrette. It also wants
contrasting texture; a lemony pistachio
aillade answers the call.
salmon. How to rescue it from tedium?
Stollenwerk opens with pastrami
spices, hardly a novel move. But his plan
unfolds seductively as he pan roasts the
fillet from Vancouver’s Skuna Bay and
pairs it with plump rye berries, whole-grain mustard sauce, and crunchy,
julienned snow peas and radishes. It’s a
win-win-win for the chef, the guest and
the protein itself.
Another win is Stollenwerk’s reprise of
Little Fish’s popular five-course Sunday
prix-fixe—the price, a bargain at $28, is
the same as it was in 2006.
Note that on Sunday, the prix-fixe is
the only option. There are no choices
in any of the five course, so leave picky
eaters at home. A November prix fixe
began with tuna crudo, bright with ginger
and lime. The second course, a beet, goat
cheese and pistachio salad, overcame
its familiarity with excellent execution.
Then came house-made cavatelli with
clever cod meatballs in salsa verde. That
T WO IF BY
and chef Mike
from left: tuna
aillade in black
simmering in a