Taking a glance at the rest of the drinks list reveals Maiden Lane's true identity: It's a wine bar that just happens to serve some good small plates and sandwiches. There are a dozen glass pours on the menu and another dozen sherries, along with over 50 bottles with a cosmopolitan bent that spans most of the old world and Chile. It's tough to decipher a guiding principle in their selection, but "makes sense with good canned seafood" could easily be the running theme.
'Seafood' on Serious Eats
Killer octopus salad, a traditional Portuguese "dry soup," shots of literal firewater and more at this Newark seafood institution.
The flood waters of hurricane Sandy were deceptively cruel to the Red Hook seafood restaurant. "At first, it seemed like all items above the flood line were okay," says chef Kevin Moore. "We thought we'd replace the sheetrock, the wainscoting... but then we noticed the floor tiles were buckled, and the fear of mold became paramount... there was a dull quiet in the place like the life had drained with the sea." But after a long rebuilding period, the restaurant, which opened in 2008, has returned.
Taboonette's Calamari Pita is stuffed with sautéed calamari, tzaziki, chimichuri, hummus, olive oil, and a salad of cherry tomato, watercress, and arugula with herbs. The calamari is tender, not chewy at all.
The elegantly designed salon, drinking parlor in the front and vine-enclosed garden out back, has long been a popular spot for its absinthe list and $1 oyster happy hour. But even though some of us could make a meal of a few strong cocktails and a dozen oysters or two (I'm raising my hand here), new chef Jared Stafford-Hill's menu makes a full meal possible. Come check out what he's serving.
We joined Alex Palumbo, the owner of Osteria il Paiolo in Williamsburg, on one of his regular trips to the New Fulton Fish Market in Hunts Point. Take a look at the buckets of live crab, tuna fileting in action, and roaming forklifts we saw along the way.
While not quite heaven, with the windows open onto Halsey Street, the seats filling up, a baby gurgling in the corner, and quite fine food in our bellies, Celestino made for a swashbuckling time.
Otherwise your prototypical speakeasy-style bar—weathered wood, marble bar, antique mirrors, suspenders—the warm summer evenings have made Hotel Delmano's coveted front patio one of the prime spots for the best people watching and cocktail imbibing in Williamsburg. The bar menu is simple: seafood from the raw bar, charcuterie, cheese and a few small plates.
When it gets as hot and muggy as it has been the last couple of weeks in New York, I get seafood on the brain. And while I can't make it to New England for the real deal, there are plenty of options in the city for a quick fix. With a serious hankering for fried clams, I found myself at the counter at Mary's Fish Camp this week, trying to see if I could string together an affordable, satisfying meal, and the West Village institution delivered.
Benares is still rather new to the New York Indian food scene, but it's getting plenty of attention for the niche it fills. Chef Peter Beck—coming off of over six years as the executive cook at Tamarind—is focusing on vegetarian dishes from the North Indian city of Benares (also called Varanasi) as well as seafood dishes from Southern India. Click through the slideshow to see Chef Beck take us through the step-by-step making of Sevai Tomato Kurma, seafood curry on pan fried rice noodles.
If you find yourself in Midtown in need of a dressed-up bar bite, Oceana—with not one, but two expansive bar areas (a regular and raw bar)—suits the purpose quite well. Though the full menu is available anywhere in the restaurant, Oceana offers a curated selection of finger foods for its bar menu, a more budget-friendly option for those who want to enjoy the trappings of a Michelin-starred restaurant without the typical price tag.
I've always wondered why New England-style seafood preparations have never made it far beyond the New England borders. That's precisely what Aaron Lefkove and Andy Curtin, a couple of Brooklyn bandmates with—get this—no restaurant experience, thought to themselves before they opened Littleneck.
A recent brunch with my daughter at Ed's Chowder House has convinced me that this is the best "grown-up" place to take kids to eat around Lincoln Center.
April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman just axed The John Dory Oyster Bar's midnight-2am oyster happy hour in favor of a possible new late-night menu at The Breslin, provided management can figure out a way to offer twilight dining without detracting from the restaurant's popular breakfast service. Even with such a loss, The Dory's bar snacks offer a taste of the kitchen's bold flavors at a reduced price and in portions perfect for hazy, postprandial grazing.
After last week's disappointing meal at the Fish Shack at BLT Fish, I felt it would only be fair to show everyone that there is such a thing as great restaurant serving the simple, delectable seafood of New England here in the city. Like Fish Shack, Pearl Oyster Bar is not a place to get a cheap meal, but unlike the Fish Shack, it is well worth it, serving food that's simple, delicious, and comforting, all with a warm smile.
With a chic seaside shack decor, a hopping happy hour, and very high decibels, the Oyster Bar is a vibrant restaurant that pleases both parents and children with a wide selection of oysters and an appetizing variety of hot dishes.
While upstairs at BLT Fish, visitors dine on upscale seafood, downstairs is the Fish Shack, which, while owned and run by the same people, supposedly serves shack-style cuisine for more moderate prices. We stopped by last week to see what a meal of appetizers and small plates from the Fish Shack would look like.
Michael Psilakis's Fish Tag is a fish restaurant that's an awful lot more than a fish restaurant. In what sense? Well, though just about every dish on the menu includes seafood, an awful lot of dishes include something else, too: in your tour through this ocean, you'll find headcheese and chorizo, spicy lamb and guanciale. Ordering at Fish Tag can be an overwhelming experience—either exciting or vexing, depending on your mood, but overwhelming either way. Still, many of the unexpected elements work in Fish Tag's favor.
The original John Dory, chef-partner April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman's upscale seafood restaurant, shuttered its doors after less than a year in operation, despite being well-received; a bad location (10th Avenue) was the explanation. Well, it's back, this time with an even more casual bent, right on Broadway.
Editor's note: In "Apps Only," Ben Fishner will be eating his way through New York's appetizer, bar, and lounge menus as your guide to fine dining on a budget. He blogs at Ben Cooks Everything. Crab cake with Old...