Tag Archives: seafood

Sushi Fan

First, check out my Ride & Review HERE:

This joint has a really nice 15-piece omakase for just $85. You get a lot of what would normally be “upgrade” toppings on the pieces, too. Things like uni, foie, etc. Here are some pics of everything we had (minus the hand roll).

My favorite was the wagyu beef with uni on top (obvious?). It was A5 rib eye!

I would definitely go back here again, and the joint is BYOB so that’s perfect! They also offer a super-upgraded 18-piece omakase for $140. But honestly, the 15-course is such a great value that I don’t think I’d get the 18-course.

SUSHI FAN
102 St Marks Pl.
New York, NY 10009

Little Maven

First, check out this awesome episode of Around the Hood in 8 Minutes, which features Little Maven.

My chef buddy Josh Capon opened this joint in late November, and I finally got a chance to check it out in the new year. The Cake Dealer’s birthday weekend is always filled with great food, and this was our first stop for the occasion.

We started with some great cocktails (get the Maven 75), and Josh sent over some bites for us to try out that highlight his fun menu.

Whipped Tahini

Tuna Tartare Cannolis (These are AMAZING)

Caesar Cups

The broiled oysters here are fantastic. Very similar to Capon’s famous broiled oysters from Bowery Meat Co.

This sizzling grilled octopus is so tender and tasty. The potatoes were perfectly seasoned and crisp.

We also had a delicious duck confit and mushroom ravioli dish that was on special, but I forgot to snap a pic. You’ll have to watch the video to see it, and to hear Josh explaining how to properly confit duck!

For the mains, we went with the dry aged duck and the steamed black bass in Thai green curry. The duck was one of the most tender and perfectly cooked I’ve had.

Absolutely stunning! It came with turnips and wine poached pears. Rich without being too heavy, which was the same comment I made about the ravioli.

The black bass really stole the show, however.

It came with a crispy rice cake and a mixed herb and green bean salad that were both so damn tasty when mixed with the green curry. It had a kick of spice without being too overpowering. I could eat this every day!

Josh also sent over some really unique and soft miso chocolate chip cookies, as well as a banana split for the birthday girl. Chocolate, vanilla, banana cream and strawberry/raspberry flavored ice creams. Save your appetite for dessert!

I can’t wait to go back and try more of the pasta dishes, and of course the steak frites.

LITTLE MAVEN
30 W 18th St
New York, NY 10011

The Ordinary

Our last meal of 2023 culminated with a seafood blowout in Charleston, at a joint called The Ordinary.

We started with a massive seafood tower, filled with all sorts of delicious raw and cooked goodies.

The best of the tower was probably the peel and eat shrimp, which was a shocker for me.

This oyster slider was superb too. Highly recommend it.

I also liked the smoked mussels here as well.

This clam toast was salty, and it ate more like a panzanella. But I did enjoy it.

This rock shrimp fried rice ate more like couscous or broken rice, and it wasn’t fried at all. That said, it was still very tasty.

For sides, we did the roasted squash and sweet potatoes. I could have passed on these.

Our two main fish dishes were roasted tilefish and mustard crusted flounder. Between these, the flounder was the easy winner. It was the best part of the meal.

This was a pretty good meal overall, and I would definitely recommend it to people heading down to Charleston and looking for good seafood.

THE ORDINARY
544 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Fig

For our final meal of the trip to Charleston, we went to the often difficult to reserve Fig with a couple that I’m friends with who live nearby. I managed to score a last minute reservation at 9:15pm, and we ended up closing down the joint at close to midnight. It turned out to be our overall best meal of the trip. Let’s get into it…

We started with a bunch of items that we all shared. Broiled oysters aji dolce, chicken liver pate, raw hogfish (similar to snapper) with rice and popcorn (crazy!), lamb bolognese ricotta gnocchi, and wagyu beef tartare.

These were, each of them, all-star level dishes, and I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite among them. I would order each of them again in a heartbeat, but I think I was most surprised by the hogfish. It was so unique, and I’m a sucker for popcorn. The gnocchi was definitely meant to be a main dish, but we shared among the four of us.

For mains, we also went heavy with five dishes. Baked wreckfish, sautéed flounder, mustard crusted swordfish, Berkshire pork milanese and lump crab spaghetti with lemon and bottarga.

Again, everything really incredible. I think, though, what stood out the most to me was the swordfish. The capers and mustard crust really paired beautifully with the medium-rare cooked fish. Loved it!

For dessert, we went with these lemon curd cream puffs, which were really nice.

I highly recommend Fig if you’re in Charleston. Absolutely delicious!

FIG
232 Meeting St
Charleston, SC 29401

Lowland Tavern

This newly opened Charleston joint converts an old downtown townhouse into an elegant bar and restaurant space that serves up some modern American cuisine.

We started with some lighter bites, the tuna crudo (more like poke), and a celery salad.

Both were really nice and fresh, but the celery salad stole the show, of all things.

For entrees, we had a pasta dish consisting of a bolognese style sauce with shells, and grilled triggerfish with collards in broth.

Between these, the fish was the slight winner for me. While the flavor of the pasta sauce was delicious, the pasta itself was overcooked and a little mushy for my liking. The fish was a nice leaner style, tighter muscle flesh type of white fish. It reminded me of chicken breast!

For dessert, we had the banoffee pie, which was an absolute stunner, and easily the best dessert of the trip.

I would definitely go back here on future trips to Charleston, especially for the gorgeous bar in back.

LOWLAND TAVERN
36 George St
Charleston, SC 29401

Dante

First, check out my badass Ride & Review video HERE:

We started with the mortadella, stracciatella and pistachio flatbread. This was incredible!

Next up was chicken parm. They use a huge amount of extra funky cheese on this. BOLD!

Their Frutti di Mare pasta was perfect. Shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari, all cooked just right in a beautiful sauce.

The panna cotta was just right! Very nice texture.

We will definitely be back to try more, especially from the massively extensive cocktail menu!

DANTE
79-81 MacDougal St
New York, NY 10012

Sagaponack

First, check out my Ride & Review video HERE:

My buddy Herb (@thesocialpause) invited me and The Cake Dealer here to help promote and take pictures of the new Sagaponack menu item for the 4th of July holiday weekend: A massive Korean inspired seafood boil, chock full of shrimp, mussels, lobster, manila clams, andouille sausage, corn and potatoes. It was a monster of a dish.

We made a huge dent in this, especially with the help of our other friends Jae (owner and chef at Nowon) and his wife Rebecca (an Instagram food buddy of ours from WAY back). We probably could have finished if we didn’t eat so much other stuff before it came out. At $35/pp this seafood boil is a steal, though. Look at this mountain:

Here’s what we had BEFORE the boil came out:

Two raw starters (fluka tartare and salmon crudo):

Some fried goodness (chicken, calamari, artichokes):

Tons of seafood (Spanish style shrimp, escargot style oysters, manila clams, and broiled oysters):

For dessert we had creme brulee topped with strawberries and a Thai tea milk cake (the cake was INCREDIBLE!).

I can’t wait to go back and try more. They have ‘nduja mussels as well as a hanger steak frites that I’d like to try in particular.

SAGAPONACK
4 W 22nd St
New York, NY 10010

Down and Out

My wife and I went to Down and Out in the East Village to try their crazy “double dozens” oyster happy hour. They currently offer two varieties of oysters for $1.50ea, but when you order a dozen, you get a second dozen for free. Essentially, they’re $0.75ea, which is the cheapest I’ve seen them in town!

We tried both the Kusshi (small ones, west coast of Canada) and Glidden Point (pictured above). My wife preferred the Kusshi, and I liked the ones from Glidden Point.

We also tried their “oyster pan roast,” which is a really nice bisque-like oyster and potato soup. It might not be much to look at in the photo, but I assure you it was delicious!

We also got down on their blue claw crab cake sandwich, which was nice and tasty, topped with a home made slaw.

They also serve a lot of high end canned fish items, like these sardines.

Their deviled quail eggs are good too. These come eight pieces per order.

Lots of these food items are discounted at happy hour, like the oysters. The happy hour runs daily from 4pm-7pm, and they also offer two different beers for $3, as well as discounted cocktails.

Most notable about this place, however, is the great whiskey selection, which includes some very rare, vintage bottles that the owner/bartender Josh secured from various estate sales.

He gave us some samples of a few really nice old bottles, like that Canadian Club from 1940! Soon there will be an entire separate menu of vintage whiskeys here, which will nearly double the current selection of whiskey on the menu. Stay tuned!

DOWN AND OUT
503 E 6th Street
New York, NY 10009

Il Tinello East

My buddy Benny from Greenwich Steakhouse opened up a second location of the Italian joint Il Tinello. Benny is second from the right in this picture, next to me. Ask for him when you go, and tell him I sent you!

The menu and ambiance here are a little different from the original location. It feels like a more lively restaurant with a younger crowd. It was packed both at the bar and at the tables on a Wednesday night.

The bartender AJ has a nine year pedigree at Benjamin Prime, and he mixes up some excellent cocktails. Ask him about his mezcal negroni and “new fashioned” drinks.

Don’t skip on this meat martini waterfall thing. Great selection of olives, cheeses and peppers to go with the hand cut prosciutto.

Table bread service comes with an eggplant and tomato dip, and nice freshly made bruschetta.

We started with the special oysters Rockefeller, which were awesome. Nice crispy pancetta on top!

We followed these with baked clams oreganata and beef carpaccio.

For a mid course, we tried three pastas. The favorite of the table was probably this orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage. Just like mom makes.

These crab ravioli on special were incredible as well. They had a nice robust, clean crab flavor. Not too heavy with a light creamy pesto sauce.

The tagliolini with seafood is PACKED with chopped scallops, mussels, and shrimp. Great stuff.

For our mains, we tried two veal dishes. The first was a delicious glazed rib chop.

So tender and perfectly cooked to medium rare inside.

We also had the bone-in veal parm that was on special.

This was massive! Definitely something to share with your date.

For dessert, we tried the creme brulee, Italian cheesecake, tira misu and panna cotta. I think my favorite was either the tira misu or the panna cotta.

Great meal with a great old friend. I’m happy for the success of his new venture here at Il Tinello. I’ll definitely be back again soon!

IL TINELLO EAST
244 E 46th St
New York, NY 10017

Essex Pearl

This place is incredible!

My wife and I have been dying to come here ever since we saw them setting up shop at Market Line soon after we moved in. It’s a beautiful seafood bar, done up really fancy as a place you’d love to just sit and have a cocktail, but also with open view to the kitchen and prep stations for all the delicious food.

We tried a lot of shit, so let me get right into it.

Raw littleneck clams topped with crispy shallots and a fish sauce mignonette. Perfect way to open up the meal. Pair this with their pickled ginger, shochu and gin martini.

Dry aged rib eye tartare, coarse cut. So tender and flavorful! The shrimp chips make for a perfect vehicle for mouth entry, and they add a great textural crunch.

Cumin lamb belly skewers. I really loved these. If you love cumin lamb noodles at places like Xian Famous, you need to try this. It’s LAMB BACON!

Tiger prawns. You’ll want to drink the sauce! This item was the whole reason my wife wanted to go, and it really delivered. It was her favorite dish (along with the hamachi collar).

Crispy baby octopus with Thai lemongrass curry and fried Thai basil. Ask for a small bowl of rice so none of that curry goes to waste!

The grilled pork jowls were next. This was probably my favorite of the meal. It comes with a lime pepper sauce that acts like a Carolina style vinegar BBQ sauce, almost, but Asian style as lime and pepper are common in places like Vietnam and Cambodia. It cuts the fat of the jowls so perfectly I can’t even describe it properly!

Turmeric dill hamachi collar. This is so delicious and large, it’s enough to share among two people. Light, flavorful, and amazingly aromatic.

Laotian ginger pork sausage over garlic noodles. WOW! The sausage is made in house and it’s so fucking good!

We washed it all down with this watermelon and lychee slushee. So refreshing and just the right amount of natural sweetness.

I can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu, especially their surf and turf!

ESSEX PEARL
88 Essex Street
Cellar Level
New York, NY 10002