When you walk into Sel De Mer, a seafood joint in Williamsburg, you won't be sure whether you're supposed to feel like you're in a sea town in Spain or on Long Island. But once you see the menu, stacked with reasonably priced appetizers and even a few shareable entrees, you probably won't sweat it too much. I stopped in last week to try some of the restaurant's dishes.
We started with an order of the Crab Cake ($7), a modestly sized puck that was light on the seasoning, allowing the startlingly fresh meat to shine, which it did. The Old Bay aioli added a bit of kick to this stellar dish.
Next up we tried the Smoked Trout Salad ($8), a tasty salad and great value--we're talking about a huge pile of greens here. Arugula, apples, pears, orange and candied almonds were all topped off with smoked trout and tossed in a simple citrus vinaigrette. While there wasn't a ton of smoked trout in this salad, it was very strong stuff and you could taste the smoke in every bite. The ripe apples and pears added a nice crunch, but luckily didn't make the salad overly sweet.
Finally, we shared an order of the Fish and Chips ($15). (We don't usually do entrees on Apps Only, but I felt an exception could be made. After all, what is fish and chips other than two appetizers masquerading as an entree?)
Fudging the rules turned out to be a great call, as two generous pieces of beer battered fish atop a pile of fries were brought to our corner of the bar. The flaky fish was coated in a thick, crisp batter that was dense without being heavy or greasy--expertly battered fish. It was served with a homemade tartar sauce, much more mild than what I'm used to, but it got the job done and smoothed out all of the lemon juice and malt vinegar that I doused my fish in. The fries, while not as exciting as the fish, were just as solid and instrumental in rounding out our meal.
For $30, the two of us could barely get up to leave the restaurant after our meal. Sel De Mer's menu is packed with values--we barely scratched the surface on this visit--and if the rest of their dishes are as fresh and tasty as the ones we sampled, Sel De Mer could easily be the best affordable seafood shack in the city.
Sel De Mer
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