Fulton: 205 E. 75th. New York, NY

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My dear friend Jamie will be looking after my pets when I go away in a few weeks. To thank him, I offered to treat him to a special ‘restaurant week’ dinner. We chose Fultons, a seafood restaurant on the Upper East Side near where we both live that I’ve been wanting to try for a while. For me, it’s really too cost prohibitive to go to without a great deal like the ‘restaurant week’ menu but this special enabled us to have 3 courses for $35- a wonderful way to experience a fantastic meal.

We started with dirty martinis (with extra olives for me), and some delicious bread and olive oil for dipping while we looked over the menu and decided what to order. Everything looked so good that we asked our waiter if they’d be willing to split plates for us so that we could try more dishes, and he was more than happy to accomodate. That made our choice much easier and we picked 2, 3 course meals to share and were able to order everything on the menu that we wanted. I LOVE when restaurants are willing to do this, as I’d always rather have more to taste in smaller portions rather than big plates of fewer choices.

Our 2 starters were both summer-y, light and farmer’s-market fresh. The chilled pea soup was topped with creme fraiche, pea shoots and lobster and was truly refreshing and bright. The arugula salad with pine nuts, fennel and shaved manchego was, for something so simple, absolutely wonderful and I wished I had more than my half of that dish.

For our entrees we had the striped bass with black eyed peas and fennel and the salmon with lentils and turnips. Both of the pieces of fish were cooked to perfection, seasoned minimally and accompanied by healthy, clean sides. These are the kind of dishes that fill you up, but leave you feeling comfortably satisfied, not weighed down. I was very impressed with both.

Our desserts were incredible. Although doughnuts have become a bit trite as the super-trendy dessert of the last couple of years, these were really special. Little cinnamon-y doughnut holes with 4 dipping sauces: raspberry, bavarian creme, chocolate chile, and espresso. Each sauce was even more wonderful than the next, my personal favorites being the espresso and the raspberry. The  chocolate pretzel cake was a flourless chocolate cake with a pretzel crust that melted in my mouth, served alongside a small scoop of exquisite peanut butter ice cream and a few candied peanuts. Wow. Both of these desserts were really outstanding and a beautiful final touch to an all-around impeccable meal.

As someone who dines out a lot, I would be comfortable saying that this was a stand-out meal as of late, and I’d absolutely recommend a visit if you’re looking to impress guests, parents, a date, or a friend. PLUS as we were leaving we were handed 2 small cookies wrapped up to go by the hostess. What a lovely finishing touch. Definite bonus points in my book. Bravo.

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