Saturday, July 3, 2010

FISH - West Village - 6 Blue Point Oyster Special & Seafood Gumbo

FISH has been one of my favorite NYC restaurants for about a year now.  I wandered in randomly last May and had one of the best blackened catfish poboys of my life.  I grew up in a small town in Florida  on the Gulf, so seafood is one of my favorite food categories.  I'm not talking fancy-schmancy seafood. FISH has GREAT, old-fashioned, seafood shanty cooking.  One step into this restaurant and you no longer feel like you are in NYC.

While the whole menu is great, what gets a lot of people in here is their deal on oysters.  They offer an amazing deal, 6 Blue Point Oysters plus a glass of wine or a PBR for eight dollars.  With that price you will see many people walk in here and get several rounds.  Considering beer & wine is rarely seen for less than six dollars, everyone walks away happy.  The dish comes very simply presented with some lemon, aioli, and a tartar sauce.  However, MY favorite way to eat an oyster, is with a little dab of Tabasco.  (Yes, two blogs in a row where I proved my manliness by eating spicy food)  The point is, Oysters + drinks = cheap good meal (and a good time).  Nothing more to say about that deal.

I, however, cannot survive on oysters alone.  I decided to get a bowl of seafood gumbo (not pictured) because I can rarely pass up a good bowl of gumbo.

Let's take a second to talk about my standards for a good gumbo:

1. It needs a suitable amount of fish, shrimp, mussels and whatever other seafood that is included. Come on, it's SEAFOOD gumbo.
2. Okra, onion, celery, and bell peppers are a necessity. Anything else can be deemed overkill.
3. It's gotta have a little kick to it.  (Thrice now)

FISH's gumbo has almost everything I could ask for, and it tastes fantastic.  However, it's missing that key fourth need, rice.  While rice brings nothing to the table flavor-wise, it does bring the most important thing to me, texture.  Without rice, seafood gumbo, to me, is just a heavy soup or a light stew.  FISH also happens to be the only restaurant in the city that doesn't carry white rice, so I couldn't even get it on the side.

Anyways, rice-less qualities aside, FISH is a great spot.  If you're in the West Village on Bleecker, and you are looking for a seafood fix, this is your place.

UPDATE: I found a picture on my phone of the amazing catfish po-boy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The National - Lower East Side - Jamaican Rub Pork Ribs

So this gem of a restaurant is located one block south of my apartment on the Lower East Side.  I stumbled in one Sunday morning when I was in dire need for brunch (Forget what others may have told you. On the seventh day, God had brunch... and it was good)  Since then, I happen by once every week or so if, for nothing else, some great coffee & conversation.  

The National is a relatively new restaurant, only having been open about a year now, & they are constantly working the menu.  When I sat down for dinner this sunday, my eyes were immediately drawn to the table next to me.  What I saw was Jamaican rub pork ribs with a spicy pineapple sauce.  The meal came with spinach and a nice helping of potato salad. 

Now, let me state, this dish is NOT for everyone.  My waitress Julie even double checked to see if I like spicy food (I really do). However, if YOU don't dig the spicy stuff, don't order this.  The rub itself isn't that spicy, its the pineapple sauce that does the trick.  The spinach was a nice pairing as its simple flavor really helped even out the spice, which could be overwhelming for some.  The potato salad was mustard based (not my favorite way) and had a little kick to it as well.  I feel a lighter potato salad, (without the kick) could have been a better pairing.  The ribs were amazingly tender & the meat was literally falling off the bones.  This dish is probably the most hearty and filling that The National has to offer, and it really did the trick for me.  I walked away happy & full, and will definitely be ordering this again.