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Manhattan & NJ (Bergen County) Restaurant Reviews

Ian Hunter's Guide to Manhattan and Bergen County, NJ's Best Restaurants, Bars, and Gourmet Markets

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SEAFOOD
 
Mermaid Inn: Seafood. 570 Amsterdam @ 87-88th; 23/19/$43; 799-7400; Fresh from the ocean seafood and fish; Laid back, top service and affordable prices make this a top seafood choice. Upscale fish shack; Crazy good lobster rolls. $1 Oysters at happy hour; Get the “Mermaid Mary” – variation on the Bloody; Bitburger beer on tap; Seared calamari; Lobster risotto; Bone-in pork chop; Fish tacos; Blackener catfish; Lobster & Truffle Mac n Cheese; Nice atmosphere! Old Bay fries;  Weekend Brunch.  Very cheap for genre.  
 
Crave Fishbar: Seafood; 428 Amsterdam @ 80th-81st; 24/19/$55; 646-494-2750; Casual coastal-rustic setting; Reasonable rates; $1 oysters at happy hour; Squid ink pasta; Tuna Tartare; Snapper Sashimi; Burrata; Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna; Lobster Curry; Also, can order a $45 sampler raw bar appetizer; Also they offer Jonah Crab Claws.  I like this place more for lunch.  Midtown East location too.
 
Ocean GrillSeafood. 384 Columbus @ 78th-9; 24/21/$63; 579-2300; Fish kingdom of West side; Freshest seafood in neighborhood; Huge bar area too; Truly a classic feel and great service from Steve Hanson’s top notch empire; Fish so fresh it may swim away. Sushi on menu as well; Upscale seafood dining; They serve an excellent Brunch with complimentary drink;  All forms of grilled fish in a choice of sauce and preparation; Rolls galore along with sashimi/ sushi; King Crab; Raw bar. 
 
Oceana: Seafood. 120 W 49th @ 6th-7th Av; 24/23/$83; 759-5941; Spacious setting, more of a corporate setting focusing on happy hour and power lunches; Epic good (and expensive) raw bar; Trendy to grab a drink and appetizers at the bar which has a tasty & more affordable menu; Great menu, but main courses all north of $30 each; The fish and shellfish is excellent however. Incredible wine list.  Seafood tower for 2 is $54.  Grilled Halibut; Seafood Paella; Seared Yellowfin Tuna.
 
Blue Fin: Seafood. 1567 B-Way @ 47th; 22/21/$62; 918-1400; Seafood palace; Crowded; Noisy; Cavernous, sleek; Steve Hanson owned; Despite touristy location – great meal will be had. Tuna tartare and ultra fresh sushi stand out; Oh, and try the Lobster Bisque; Eat upstairs and beforehand, have a drink at downstairs bar (pricy though); Brunch served; Raw bar as well; 1000+ wines. Large menu to please all including big sushi menu. 
 
Esca: Seafood. 402 W 43rd @ 9th Av; 25/20/$75; Italian-Seafooder; Mario Batali owned; Top of the line fresh fish and amazing pasta dishes; Excellent setting and service. Whole fish available and served beautifully; Very pricy, especially if you have a bottle of wine; NY Times 3-stars; Food quality is top notch;  Portions could be bigger; $75 tasting menu available or a-la carte; Massive wine list. Hamachi, Snapper, Arctic Char, Sablefish and other rarely found seafood fish entrees. Huge menu for a foodie place.
 

Cull & Pistol: Seafood. 75 9th Av @ 16th; 24/16/$51; 646-568-1223;  The small dining room adjacent to Lobster Place in Chelsea Market; $1 Oyster happy hour; Has a daily Raw Bar of super fresh Oysters & Clams; Shrimp, Lobster and Crab Legs all available in Raw Bar; Try the Chowder Disco Fries; Lobster Sliders; Also, incredible Bruschetta; Clam Chowder; Fish & Chips; Moulles-Frites; & of course Whole Lobsters.

 

Catch: Seafood/ Sushi. 21 Ninth Ave @ 13th; 22/21/$78; 392-5978; This place is a major Meatpacking scene;  Popular with celebs; Duplex with rooftop lounge;  400+ seats – great for groups;  Fun but expensive Brunch; Cocktails $18 for dinner;  Big raw bar, tons of sushi and hot & cold entrees & appetizers; Lots to choose from but drink slowly at these costs. The major impact of this place is the scene 

 

Upholstery Store: Seafood. 713Washington @ 11th St; 26/26/$60; 646-460-3114; Part Wine Bar, Part Seafood.  Amazing atmosphere – great for dates; Kurt Gutenbrunner owned; Treat the menu like tapas and share a few items; Try the Lobster Roll, Smoked Mackerel or Murray’s Cheese selection;  Bartenders are true mixologists; Cumfy couches and a great area; European feel to the place. 

 

Jeffrey’s Grocery: Seafood. 172 Waverly @ Grove; 23/21/$52; 646-398-7630; Small, hip spot with amazing seafood; Full raw bar menu; Brunch served; Bloody Mary & Caesars on menu; Salmon tartare; King Crab; Bronzino; Lobster Spaghetti; Grilled Oysters;  Hanger Steak.  Cocktails are pricy but the entire experience is a very cool one;  Suggest the Brunch.

 
Mary’s Fish Camp: Seafood. 64 Charles @ W 4th; 25/13/$41; 646-486-2185; Unreal Lobster Rolls – get it - $30 for the roll with fries; Fish Shack – laid back; Not formal- down home and divey; Always packed as food is that good. Huge menu of all seafood.  Small place; Deviled Eggs with smoked salmon; Grilled Calamari; Canadian Steamers; Fish Tacos;  Red Snapper; Yellowfin Tuna;  Lunch or dinner. On Sunday only open for lunch. 
 
Pearl Oyster Bar: Seafood. 18 Cornelia @ Bleecker- W 4th; 26/15/$43; 691-8211; Unreal quality; Known for a perfect Lobster Roll;  Fresh fish; Long waits to get in… but worth it! Informal – New England seafood; No Rez; Lives up to the reputation. Insanely popular; Closed Sunday; Here is your order: Combo seafood Cocktail & New England Clam Chowder – then Lobster Roll with shoestring fries.  Also- Smoked Salmon, Salt Crusted Shrimp, Whole Grilled Fish of day, NE Clam Chowder w/ Bacon. 
 
Fish: Seafood. 280 Bleecker @ Jones; 21/14/$36; 727-2879; Dive Seafood restaurant/ Comfort food; Provides a relaxed Environment but still nice enough for a fun date; New England Seaside shack; Truly quality food. Try the Lobster feast or selections from the raw bar; Red White & Blue special: $8 for ½ dozen oysters & a wine or beer. Very affordable pricing makes this place a must try. Noon-4pm, all u can eat Blue Crabs $21.95!  Lobster Mac n’ Cheese; Lots of Oysters on menu including Fried or Rockefeller;  Grilled Calamari;
 

ZZ’s Clam Bar: Seafood. 160 Thompson @ Bleecker-Houston; 26/18/$85; 254-3000; Speak-easy feel to this 12-seater that has won 1 Michelin star;  Very high pricing for genre;  Cocktail menu nearly just as impressive as food; All cocktails $20- try the Coconut;  Small menu as well that frequently changes;  Decent sized portions;  Order 4-5 items and share them while enjoying a couple cocktails each; Really amazing presentation. Certainly a unique dining experience. 

 
Aquagrill: Seafood. 210 Spring @ 6th Av; 27/19/$58; 274-0505; Fish heaven; Raw bar- endless oyster selection; Popular and always packed; Seafood still fighting for life on your plate it’s so fresh; Two levels – date friendly; Extremely helpful staff to educate you on fish. Ever-improving quality and reputation; Quality of service elevates them; Crab cakes beyond outstanding; Splurge on the seafood plateau. Just a fabulous restaurant in every way except possibly spacing of table. Jonah Crab claw; Lobster Salad; Yellowfin tuna.  
 

Blue Ribbon Brasserie: Seafood/ American. 97 Sullivan @ Prince-Spring; 26/19/$56; 274-0404; Down home cooking and epic seafood; Comfort food heaven; Apps include: Cheese Fondue, Grilled Shrimp Remoulade, Escargot, BBQ Ribs, Smoked Trout, Hummus, Wings, Sauteed Calamari & Salt & Pepper Shrimp.  WOW.  Raw bar includes Hard Shell Crabs, Lobster, New Orleans Shrimp, Clams, Scallops and oysters;  How about Roast Duck Soup, Spicy Fish Soup, Matzoh Ball soup;  Many salads; Nearly 30 main courses including: Fried Chicken – get it; Lobster, Pigeon, Striped Bass, Red Trout, Paella, NY Strip, Rack of Lamb and many more. 

 

The Clam: Seafood. 420 Hudson @ Leroy; 26/21/$57; 242-7420; Come for all things clams! Unique preparations; Great for a date or family; 50 seat restaurant; Alcohol is pricy here so pre-game;  Dinner is fairly priced featuring Chilled Lobster appetizer; tons of oysters; Perfect clam dip; Lobster sliders; Littlenecks; Also a number of other seafood/fish entrees. 

 
Lure Fishbar: Seafood. 142 Mercer @ Prince; 23/23/$62; 431-7676; Go early to enjoy the hopping bar scene; Ultra fresh seafood including sushi; Cruise ship level service, with the setting reminiscent of a yacht’s interior; Sexy patrons; Fish so fresh it will swim to your plate; Also feature superb sushi and special rolls; Lunch, Brunch, Happy Hour or Dinner; Excellent raw bar; Lobster Roll; Seafood salad; Shellfish platters; Deviled eggs; Monkfish; Bronzino; Whole Lobster.  Only issue is costs of drinks (Wine & cocktails $16-18);
 
Ed’s Lobster Bar: Seafood. 222 LaFayette @ Spring; 25/15/$39; 343-3236; Walk in and enjoy the loaded Lobster Roll; Beach themed room – small in size; Fun bar – best to eat at bar; There is an outrageous Lobster Poutine; Enjoy selections from the raw bar; The soups are incredible – Corm & Lobster Chowder; Lobster Burger, Lobster Pot Pie.  This place is best for lunch as it’s super casual – diner like. 

 
Mermaid InnSeafood. 96 2nd Av @ 5-6th; 22/18/$43; 674-5870; Fresh from the ocean seafood and fish; Laid back, top service and affordable prices make this a top seafood choice. Upscale fish shack; Crazy good lobster rolls. $1 Oysters at happy hour; Get the “Mermaid Mary” – variation on the Bloody; Seared calamari; Great Raw Bar; Arctic Char tartare; Lobster Gruyere; Fish Tacos; Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese; Decent atmosphere! 
 

Upstate: Seafood. 95 1st Av @ 6th St; 27/19/$45; 917-408-3395; First rate seafood and revolving craft beer list; Very very small – often long lines;  Try the Fettuccini with clams – an unreal dish;  The hype is real here;  Besides a daily changing oyster menu, they offer a cheese and meat plate; Crab cakes; Salmon tartare; Also Fish and Scallop of the day.  Menu is extremely small – be an oyster & clam sauce fan! 

 
Blue Water Grill: Seafood. 31 Union Sq @ 16th; 25/23/$58; 675-9500;Perfect date spot at what I consider the best in the Steve Hanson owned family; Two levels – ideal décor; Incredible fresh fish & shellfish options; Snazzy drinks; Sushi options- rolls and sashimi; Jazz downstairs; Energetic scene; Brunch served; Stand outs include the Chilean sea bass, Lobster mashed potatoes, Mahi Mahi and the Sushi & Special rolls. Rare Yellowfin tuna;  Mini Lobster Rolls. 
 
Burger & Lobster: Seafood. 39 W 19th St @ 5th-6th Av; 25/20/$33; 646-833-7532; Entire menu is: Lobster Roll, Steamed Lobster, or a Burger; Very affordable for quality and portion; Global locations all over England, Cardiff, Sweden, Dubai and Kuwait!  No Rez; Wildly popular – nobody eats a bad meal here; All items are $20- lobster included; Large drink menu; All entrees served with fries and salad; Burger is just amazing; Lobster roll gigantic; Take everyone you know here.

 
Docks Oyster Bar: Seafood. 633 3rd Ave @ 40th; 21/19/$50; 986-8080; Casual, fun restaurant; White table-cloth setting with a very popular bar scene; Website has tons of pictures & menu is mouthwatering; While not top in quality, it is spacious, date friendly and solid. Brunch served weekends & includes a drink; Happy Hour M-F, 3-7pm; Nice Raw bar and overall good scene. Sushi as well. Excellent for mid-week lunches.
 

Sea Fire Grill: Seafood. 158 E 48th @ Lex-3rd;  27/25/$80;  935-3785; Amazing décor and spectacular service; This seafooder-steakhouse combo hot spot keeps regulars coming back; Highlights include a perfect lobster roll; Lobster Mac & Cheese side and crab cakes; Other key dishes include Lobster stuffed with Crab, an excellent Raw Bar, Yellowfin Tuna tartare, Steak Tartare, Madagascar Prawns, Halibut, Red Snapper, Bronzino, King Crab Legs and 4 different kinds of delicious steaks.

 

Sea Grill: Seafood. 19 W 49th @ 5th-6th Av; 23/25/$65; 332-7610; The highlight here are the views of the famous Rock Center skating rink; Beautiful setting in summer or winter; Gracious service; Excellent quality shellfish and fish; Extremely touristy; Lobster tail on risotto; Crab Cakes; They serve lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Pre-Theatre; Great for groups; Yellowfin Tuna; 3 course Lobster Prix-fixe menu available for $49; Chilled shellfish platter; Small menu for genre.

 

Crave Fishbar: Seafood; 945 2nd Ave @ 50th-51st; 24/19/$55; 646-895-9585;Casual coastal-rustic setting; Reasonable rates; $1 oysters at happy hour; Squid ink pasta; Tuna Tartare; Snapper Sashimi; Burrata; Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna; Lobster Curry; Also, you can order a $45 sampler raw bar appetizer; Also they offer Jonah Crab Claws.  I like this place more for lunch.  Upper West Side location too.

 
Atlantic Grill: Seafood. 1341 3rd Av @ 76th; 24/19/$53; 988-9200; Hopping Seafood standout; strong date spot; Fresh fish; Bar scene is decent. Dining room has a spacious, clean feel; Elegance & laid-back cool at same time;  The winner here is the fresh fish and large menu selections. Chilean sea bass & ice cream tower dessert. Have a wonderful brunch with included drink. Sushi & rolls as well. Raw bar. $49 prix fixe dinner option and $29 for lunch.
 

Flex Mussels: Seafood. 174 E 82nd @ Lex-3rd; 23/17/$45; 717-7772; $20 all you can eat mussels, fries and a beer from 5:30-7pm at the bar daily; What a Fra Diavolo sauce; They feature a large multitude of sauces to have your mussels served in; Best non-mussels item on the menu is the Lobster Roll and Fish and Chips; The fries are excellent here. Inexpensive overall. Have location at 154 W 13th;  Not a fancy place – great for dinner before theatre or before hitting bars.