Fish Bar

NOTE: THIS JOINT IS NOW CLOSED AND CALLED HUDSON’S

A food photographer buddy of mine, Ben (check out his IG page), invited my wife and me to come along with him and a few other food influencer folks to Fish Bar, NYC’s newest floating dining room, which sets sail up and down the Hudson so people can enjoy some spectacular views of the skyline and Statue of Liberty while they eat.

It was a windy night, and bitter cold, so I didn’t want to fight with my settings too much to get all the good night shots. But I did get this fun shot of Jeff (FoodMento) giving some love to Lady Liberty.

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In fact, this is probably the best free way to see the Statue of Liberty. Skip the Staten Island ferry “tour” and do this instead.

This shoves off from the same dock area as (and is owned by the same company that runs) the North River Lobster boat. While it is also free to ride, the Fish Bar boat offers a nicer view and a much more elegant menu.

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We tried a lot of stuff, since there were six of us at the table. Let me get right down to it.

Drinks: Every cocktail we tried was incredibly strong. While that may be a good thing for those looking to get tanked, I was a little turned off by it. If I want straight alcohol, I will order a bourbon or a scotch. Shit even a martini.

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Charcuterie Board: This was a home run. For $28 you get a lot of really nice sliced meats. My favorite was the spicy salami, which was almost like a chorizo.

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Cheese Board: This was another win. There was a great selection of high quality cheeses. The only think missing was something of the oozing variety, like a super soft brie.

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Mezze: This platter included classic Greek spreadables like hummus and olive tapenade. All of them were good.

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Arancini: These rice balls were crisp on the outside but lacked a robust enough flavor on the inside to really justify getting them again. It just needed a pop of something, perhaps a truffle oil or something more earthy.

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Oysters: These were lightly batter-fried, which goes against my religion for oysters. In any event they were still pretty good. A bit pricey, but enjoyable.

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Ceviche: It was refreshing to see this made with actual fish instead of shrimp or scallops.  Topped with fried plantain chips, it was a nice presentation that featured the vehicle for delivering the ceviche into your gullet.

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Octopus: This was pretty good. It didn’t come in as my favorite, but it certainly wasn’t a failed menu item. I always get worried about octopus and whether it will be cooked properly when i see it offered, but that wasn’t a real concern here.

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Mussels: These were a little disappointing. They didn’t taste bad, but they did have a slightly burned taste, almost as if the shells were sitting against the metal of a hot pot for too long. I think that flavor permeated the sauce and then that got all over the exposed mussels.

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Burrata: This had a good hint of truffle oil to make it pop. The cheese was soft and velvety. Very nice.

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Risotto: This was decent. It had some good flavors from the various seafood and sausage components, like a paella, but it didn’t stand out as anything incredible to me.

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Calamari: These babies were delicious. They were served with sliced and fried cherry peppers, which gave it a spicy kick without going too far. I really liked this dish.

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Crab Salad: This lump crab meat salad was pretty tasty. All around good quality. No complaints, but then again nothing that really made it stand out from the pack. The plantain chips from the ceviche would have actually worked well here.

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Grilled Vegetables: This was served to us in error, as we didn’t order it. The array wasn’t bad, however, with the exception of the odd tasting broccolini that was included.

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Squid Ink Spaghetti: I had higher hopes for this, being we were on a boat with a seafood-heavy menu. The sauce was basically just like melted butter with the flavors of shrimp or lobster shells infused. On the plus side, the pasta itself was cooked nicely and wasn’t overpowering with the ink flavor. In addition, the seafood that was mixed in with it was perfectly cooked.

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Skirt Steak: Unfortunately this was under-seasoned and unevenly cooked. Part was overcooked, and part was correct at medium rare. The meat itself wasn’t tough or low quality; it just needed a bit more finesse. 5/10.

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Branzino: This fillet was the big winner of the night for the entrees. The skin was nicely crisped on the outside, and the flesh was cooked just right and remained tender, juicy and flaky.

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Walnut Cake: We were all pretty excited for this, but I think it sort of missed the mark or didn’t meet our expectations. I guess, perhaps, I was expecting more of a pie type item, like pecan pie. That’s my mistake though, not Fish Bar’s. In any case this was similar to a pound cake in flavor and texture.

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Chocolate Ganache: This was the winner for dessert. The layers inside were nicely diverse and the chocolate itself was rich without being too overwhelming.

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In short, I’d definitely come back here for the fantastic and free views of NYC from a beautiful small cruise ship when the weather is nice. And I’d certainly sit down and enjoy some charcuterie, fine cheeses, calamari and branzino any day.

FISH BAR
Pier 81
W 41st St
New York, NY 10036

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