Despite decades in the restaurant business, Maura Crawford has long been a “reticent fish eater.”

That hasn’t changed through her ownership roles at various Le Metro locations, the recently closed Solé, and her new restaurant, Coco (888 Main St., 332-1885,

But at Coco, where the menu reflects some of Crawford’s favorite restaurant offerings, it includes one swimmer not often seen around here: whole rainbow trout. “It doesn’t really taste like something that swims in the ocean,” she said. “I’ve always liked trout.”

This is a 10-ounce Idaho trout, mostly deboned, but still sporting head and tail. The fish is given a couple of cuts to help it cook evenly, seasoned and stuffed with sprigs of fresh herbs and lemon slices. It’s seared in a hot cast-iron pan, then run through Coco’s pizza oven for a lightly crispy exterior while remaining moist inside.

The trout is served alongside a simply dressed arugula salad, with a choice of four sauces, served in a small carafe. On a recent night, choices included gorgonzola, lemon, horseradish caper and spicy Thai curry sauces.

The $16 dish is good for a large appetizer or small dinner, she said. Despite being sort of old school, its appeal is wider. “I am surprised at the young people ordering it – 25-year-old girls ordering trout.”

– Andrew Z. Galarneau