WOW, this place is a seafood lover’s heaven! I can wholeheartedly put it on my list of favourite restaurants in New York City! I usually wouldn’t fall for places with the words ‘beer’ or ‘bar’ in the name (especially for a dinner spot), but I was tempted since a friend highly recommended it to me.
This spot is the kind of restaurant that I love. I could easily go back at least once every two weeks (maybe more actually…). It’s nice but not fancy and you can tell that the quality is imperturbable. The menu is short, yet varied. They only serve you what they’re best at. All of their menu items are well below $20 and everything we had was insanely good.
One thing you need to know is that they don’t take reservations. Because the place is quite small and can’t really fit more than 20 people seated, we had to sit at the bar – if we did not want to wait 1.5 hour. I don’t know why I’m always kind of annoyed to sit at the bar in the first place because I ALWAYS end up having the best experiences (just like my dinner at Sushi Azabu)! You can interact with the right people (the ones who know their shit), they give you the best recommendations and most of the time… some free stuff! We were lucky to have a mini wine-tasting before picking the wine that we really wanted and the same thing happened for the beer… we tried at least four or five before making up our mind. One of the guys behind the bar was actually the owner. He was super friendly and he seemed like he knew most of his customers. You can tell by the amount of regulars that this is a great neighborhood spot, definitely catering to those who live in the East Village. The bartenders were greeting many of the people coming and going by name, further creating the ‘homey’ atmosphere :).
Here was our food rundown:
We embarked our culinary journey with what we went there for: OYSTERS! We actually let the owner pick his favourites for us. There were dozens of different kinds, and to be honest, I am not an oyster expert! My favourites were the oysters from Washington State called ‘Kumamoto‘, if my memory is sharp (the two little tiny ones next to the big ones in the picture). The Japanese name is explained by the fact that they are originally from Japan but that oystermen took the seed from there to start cultivating them on the West Coast of the U.S.. They are extremely small, yet incredibly tasty. The texture is smooth and buttery and the flavor is sort of sweet. I don’t remember the names of the other ones we had because those ones were the only breed I wanted to keep in mind for my future oyster cravings!
The Uni – a must-have dish if you like sea urchin. The sea urchin is served with a raw egg yolk, wild salmon roe, softly cooked onions and a butternut squash puree. It is accompanied with some slices of toasted bread. You mix up the ingredients and spread it on the toasted points and have yourself a little delish crunchy and flavourful bite. It was succulent and very original. I absolutely loved it!
The Salmon Tartare – it’s actually the only dish that disappointed me a bit. I’m a salmon tartare fan and it’s a dish that I regularly take when it’s on the menu. Their salmon was great and fresh but the mustard sauce was too strong and it took away the taste of the salmon and the potential of the dish.
The Fettuccini with Clams – Phenomenal! That was probably the best pasta dish I’ve had in the last year. The sauce was such a nice burst of flavour and the fettuccini was cooked to perfection… nothing to envy the Italians for! It makes me hungry just to think about it again. The sauce had some hints of sauteed garlic, some white Pinot Grigio, parmesan and fresh clams’ stock… we took that dish under the server’s recommendation as well and we were definitely not disappointed! Certainly a must-have if you go there.
– The FOOD! Not pricey at all and spectacular. All the seafood is extremely fresh and tasty.
– The service: great and friendly people. It’s very pleasant to go to restaurants where people recommend you the best stuff and look after you very well.
– The open kitchen always makes me feel good (they have no dirt to hide :p )
– The complimentary whiskey cake that they give you at the end! The portion isn’t huge but it’s very good…
-They don’t do desserts…. I have to say it’s disappointing for people with a sweet tooth! But well… they can’t be perfect. If only they could add a chocolate something to their menu… just one?
– The wait. The space is very small so expect to either sit at the bar or wait for about an hour.
BIG CRUSH! ❤
95 1st Ave, New York NY
TRAIN STOPS: Astor Place (5 or 6) / 2nd Ave (F)