Posts Tagged With: Best Seafood in NYC

Gloria, I Think We Got Your Number

Gloria Shrimp53rd street in Hell’s Kitchen is a street I’m well familiar with.  I used to walk by Kiran, an Indian restaurant formerly at the same space as Gloria like a Hassid in East Village.  Face covered so the super nice owner wouldnt see me walking by.  I didnt want to break his heart after years of loyalty while I was cheating with another Indian on 9th.  After Kiran it was another love hate relationship, CoBa 53.  They opened, they closed (thanks Health Dept, and Obama!), they reopened but could never find their groove.  The biggest, weirdest gripe I had with them was that this was the one place where tablecloths just seemed out of place.

So when I heard Pescatarian Gloria opening in that spot, I needed to see it and taste it to believe it.  Instead of the usual Walk of Shame or avoiding that corner of 53rd entirely, I actually coudnt wait to see what they’ve done with the space.  Nifty light fixtures replaced with niftier ones, and the tablecloths are GONE.  The irony is that after all the space anticipation I forgot to take a picture of it.  Multiple shots of every dish (Our neighbors who flat out stole our corn bread thought we are some sick food paparazzi) but nothing of the space.  Gloria Octopus

I often start posts like this one with a Jambalaya of irrelevant junk, before giving a place the proper praise it deserves.  So before I lose any more reader, I can honestly say that this was one of those meals.  A solid 3 star!  The most refreshing thing to open in Hell’s Kitchen since The Marshal introduced us to American food (we have every Thai and Mexican imaginable, but good luck finding good ribs).  Some call Gloria a mini Contra as thats the place most associated with it (GM formerly with Contra).  But its more like a mini Le Bernardin.

Corn Bread – Nothing wrong with this bread course.  Except for the fact that we got it fairly late in the game after they initially delivered ours to the next table.

Black Bass Tartare – Pretty to look at, and one of the dishes to get.  Just wonderful flavor with the watermelon radish adding nice brightness.

Jonah Crab – Simple, yet outstanding!  The sweet as lobster crab mixed with strips of Kohlrabi (like a cross between Turnip and Daikon) and aided by a thin eggy Sabayon.  Ok, maybe not that simple.

Octopus – Yet more delicious awesomeness.  Perfectly cooked Octopus slices sitting on a bed of cabbage and black rice, delivering one heck of a nasty bite.  Its rare to see a place deliver so many probable menu staples so early in the game

Shrimp – If I may briefly pause the party for just a sec.  I think this is the only one I would skip next time, which is more of a testament to the rest of the lineup.  Nothing wrong with the shrimp and their Gulf funkiness, but nothing new flavor wise with the Cortez sauce.  And the Hominy made my brain expect Peruvian corn like texture but that snap was sorely missing.

Skate Wing – This is it.  The one, the Neo, the dish to get.  There’s nothing better in the seafood universal than Skate Wing simply seared with butter with a sprinkle of magic dust.

Panna Cotta – Meh!  But no point deductions here

Go!

Gloria
401 West 53rd (off 9th), Hell’s Kitchen
Rating: Three Z’s (out of 4)
Stars range from Good to Exceptional. Simple as that.
Recommended Dishes: Skate Wing, Octopus, Tartare, Crab

Gloria TartareGloria Skate Wing

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Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cull & Pistol – Escape the Room

Cull & Pistol LobsterWhen we were done with our meal at Cull & Pistol the other day, right before we stepped out, we paused for a few seconds.  “Its like a scene from the walking dead out there” I told the hostess who nodded nervously, almost as if she was saying, “I hope you got the proper protection”.  I did not.  I never do.  We felt safe inside, but out there they were in large numbers, walking gingerly and awkwardly in one direction, some even salivating.  And before the hostess had a chance to call the manager, we had no choice but leave.  And there we were again walking among them, slowly, in the same direction, toward the same goal… ice cream.  Five minutes into the walk, we only made it to Lobster Place next door.  We reminisced about the meal we had five minutes ago.

Cull & Pistol is more than just an oasis in this lobster, taco, zombie, Chelsea Market frenzy.  And its not exactly a new-comer to EWZ.  I already blogged about it here, and here.  I can’t even update the latter ‘here’, because I visit C&P or sister Lobster Place on just about every Chelsea Market visit these days, including three visits in the last 4 weeks.  Why?  its the fresh seafood stupid (Its just an American expression, I’m not calling any of my readers stupid, again)

What I like at Cull and Pistol doesn’t really matter much, because chances are, unless its lobster or fish and chips, it wont be on the menu by the time you visit.  The menu is not only seasonal, changes based on sister Lobster Places availability, but also benefits from a chef with a menu OCD.  One of my favorite chefs on the planet suffers from a menu OCD – a chef that will ride the hot stuff, but also likes to dare, experiment and invent.

Cull & Pistol

If you have to pick just one lobster roll in NYC, this is it.  To me around 90% of the lobster rolls out there carry very little value, and are as filling as a Doritos snack.  A very expensive snack.  C&P stuffs theirs with a lot love – sweet, juicy, claw meat kind of love.  And they pair it with excellent almost shoestring fries (though a little bit less salt please).  Another must for me as of late is the Spanish/Portuguese octopus.  A few weeks ago it was a Portuguese beauty that came with a porky and veggy mix of some sort.  One of the best octopus dishes I’ve had in NYC.  Nowadays, its a heftier Spanish stallion, simply paprika’d, and served with crispy fingerling potato.

The highlight from the last meal was four Ecuadorian head-on shrimp baked with tarragon-vermouth salt.  They were huge, sweet, and missing the funkiness/fishiness of similarly sized gulf shrimp.  Oysters and happy hour always one of the main draws.  Yesterday I grilled their succulent salmon burgers which are on the menu and can be purchased next door.  Two nights before we sauteed their excellent garlic shrimp and served over pasta.  Another hit on the current menu is the whole Dourade fried Thai style with mango, coconut, Thai basil, cucumber, chili, mint and fish sauce on the side.  I found this more expertly done than in some Thai places where the fish is often dry and overcooked.

Great drinks is the norm, outstanding chocolate mousse for dessert.  One of my NYC favorites at the moment.

Cull & Pistol
75 Ninth Ave (Chelsea Market)
$$$
Recommended Dishes: Lobster Roll, Octopus, Shrimp, Thai style Dourade, Salmon Burgers

Cull & Pistol Shrimp Cull & Pistol Octopus Cull & Pistol Mousse Cull & Pistol lobster RollCull & Pistol Dourade

Categories: Chelsea, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So I Shaved and Went to Marea

Marea OctopusI Ziggy the II, bite my nails!  I dont do it because I’m often nervous, gamble, or watch “The Bachelor” a lot.  Its just a habit I developed as a child that never really went away.  And after reading a report on Twitter by a reliable source that, get this, people who bite their nails tend to have a stronger immune system & rarely get sick, I’m not stopping any time soon.  I may even offer to bite other people’s nails if they suffer from this fetish.  I do very rarely get sick.  I also have this thing where I need to lick my fingers before using a napkin, no matter who I’m eating with, and where I am.  Using napkins on saucy fingers just feels very wrong.  I may have been also a tiny little bit stinky before this particular meal, after a 4 hour walking tour of Hell’s Kitchen I was conducting right before the meal.  Not to mention the bike run to Tribeca for Nish Nush Falafel for lunch.

MareaSo here I was…slightly stinky, tehina smelling, unmanicured fingers, on our anniversary dinner at the oil tycoon section of 2 Michelin Star Marea.  Being surrounded by big glamour, and wealth I felt as comfortable as watching a Cialis commercial with the kids.  But, after 2 drinks it didn’t take long until we settled down and enjoyed another fine meal at one of New York’s finest.  By the way, I did shave for this one.  I’m not an animal!

 

1st Course:

Crudo trio –  Pretty forgettable overall.  Exhibit A:  I don’t remember much of it.  Tried the razor clams, langoustine, and snapper.  The snapper (Dentice) had the most flavor, and the Razor Clams not nearly as good as little sister Costata.Marea Crudo

2nd Course:

Astice –  I was totally wowed by this a few years ago, but not this time.  This dish if you recall won a spot at the ultra coveted EatingWithZiggy Best dishes of 2012.  This time I felt the supporting cast.. the basil seeds and eggplant forgot their lines and stumbled on their faces.  All I was tasting was the lobster and your average burrata.  Nevertheless it was still far from terrible, and a dish I recommend targeting for first timers.  After the initial impression I was just expecting way too much

Octopus – (above) Outstanding!  Some of the most tender, flavorful octopus I’ve ever had.  Loved the accompanying smoky potatoes and the salad (onions, radish, chilies).  I twitted this dish after the meal and a response from Marea followed saying this was on the menu from day oneMarea Astice

3rd Course – Both half portions:

Agnolotti – (half portion) Stuffed with milk braised veal these pillowy ravioli simply exploded with flavor as properly made Agnolotti should.  Enjoyed this one a lot even though I was disappointing by the little tiny cube thingies they call “Porcini”.  We are from the amazing Porcini we had in Siena

Strozzapreti with Crab and uni – (half portion) One of their classics which they mistakenly excluded from the online menu at the time of this dinner.  So if you don’t see it on the online menu, don’t believe it.  Perfectly al dented, chewy “Priest Stranglers” with the Uni dominating in a very good way.  The sauce seems a little different this time around than two years ago but still quite lovelyMarea Agnolotti Marea Strozzapreti

4th Course

Fusilli (full portion) – Of course I had to have this again.  This is one of the most celebrated pasta dishes in town and I may have enjoyed it even more now.  Generous amount of octopus, perfectly cooked Fusilli but the red sauce with the bone marrow is as addictive as red sauce can be.  A joy with every scoop

Halibut – I wasnt too sure about this one.  I mean its a freakin halibut (firm, mild, dries quickly), and very often for us after all those rich primis, fish just doesnt deliver much.  This one did!  Halibut cooked nicely, not too dry, but what made the dish was the Fregola Sarda, little bubbly Israeli couscous-like pasta.  With a little pleasant heat the pasta worked very well with the mild fish.Marea Fusilli Marea Halibut

5th Course

Aria Mascarpone – very good sponge cake with pistachio cream and an excellent robiolina (cheese) gelato.  After two meals and having some of the their most popular items like the Bombolonis I still dont have a solid dessert recommendation.  But, cant recommend Marea highly enough.  Just make sure to shower

Marea
240 Central Park S
$$$$
Recommended Dishes: Astice, Octopus, Agnolotti, Strozzapreti, Fusilli, HalibutMarea Dessert Marea Check

 

 

 

Categories: Midtown West, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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