Tag Archives: crab

Amber: 1406 3rd st. New York, NY

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Our time living in NYC is quickly coming to an end. We are moving to Florida at the end of March (and yes, of COURSE I will continue blogging and reviewing there). The days of a sushi restaurant on every block will be a thing of the past. This is one of the things that Gabriel and I will REALLY miss (as you can read about on our blog byebyeny.wordpress.com) about living here, along with the plethora of livingsocial, groupon, scoutmob type deals that are offered in this city.

We bought a deal for Amber that included 2 apps, 2 classic rolls and 2 entrees for (If I remember correctly) $30 and went to cash in last night. We were surprised to see that it was very crowded on a Tuesday night, and wondered how many others were there with coupons. We actually overheard the waitress ask the next table over from us if they had one, so it must be the reason it’s so packed. The service was very friendly and knowledgable but definitely on the slow side and we had about 5-10 minutes of waiting between each plate that was served.

We, as always, decided to share everything. We started with the BBQ ribs and the shrimp and veggie tempura starter. Just to be totally honest, I completely forgot to take a pic of the ribs so this one is a pic I found online. It actually came with a small side salad with a few slices of (presumably, canned) peaches. The ribs were on the fatty side, but crisp and flavorful. The tempura was so-so. Definitely not as light and flakey as it should have been, but the generous pieces of zucchini and eggplant sort of made up for that.

Our 2 rolls were the highlight for me. One was spicy scallop, which had large scallops in each piece rather than the chopped up kind that a lot of sushi places serve. The other was snowcrab and tobiko which was a little too salty for me, but fresh and a bit different that the ‘classic’ rolls I’d usually order. They came with the seaweed on the outside as I requested it, and were tightly and expertly wrapped.

For our entrees we had the chicken with basil sauce and brown rice and the bird’s nest. Hmm. These were somewhat disappointing. I couldn’t detect any basil flavor on the chicken – just an overly-sweet, orange-colored sauce. The eggplant in this dish was really tasty though, it kind of saved the dish from being a flop. The bird’s nest was totally the opposite of the impressive display I’d anticipated. At most restaurants, it’s served in a beautiful noodle-y basket but here it was a (presumably pre-made) bowl that looked (and tasted) a lot like styrofoam. The chicken, shrimp and veggies inside were fine, but certainly nothing unique or noteworthy.

Overall, I suppose I’d go back for the sushi, but probably not for the entrees or anything out of the ordinary. The sushi was quite good- but not spectacular…and given that I pass about 20 other sushi places on my way to Amber, I guess the likelihood of a return visit is pretty slim.

Ichi Umi: 6 East 32nd st. New York, NY

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If you’re ‘friends’ with me on yelp.com, you’ll know that my username is “Miss. I can eat my weight in sushi”. Ichi Umi is the perfect place for me to prove that fact, and reaffirm that I truly deserve the nickname. Gabriel and I had overheard some people talking about all-you-can-eat crab legs last weekend at brunch, and we craned over to ask them the where/when and how. When they told us about the $31.95 AYCE spread at Ichi Umi, we were totally sold and VERY psyched to check it out. We invited 3 other couples to join us and made reservations for the following weekend.

When we arrived to a crowded little waiting area, we were told that we’d have to wait until our whole party arrived to be seated. We weren’t thrilled about that, but it turned out that once 5 of us were there they ended up leading us to our table. It’s pretty darn noisy in there, and we quickly learned that a table of 8 was not going to have the easiest time conversing. Just a few moments later, when we began our feast, we realized that having perpetually full mouths also didn’t lend themselves to much chatting, so it was all okay.

My first step was to simply survey the block-long buffet to see what I definitely wanted to try, and what I should probably skip. Three different rice choices? Nah. Not worth the stomach space. Beer or sake? Also not worth the precious space as far as I was concerned. Plates and plates of oysters, sushi, sashimi, and crab legs? BINGO. I headed down into sushi/sashimi land to start…as you will see from the one plate pictured. That was my first plate of 5 or so, and the only one that I actually remembered to photograph.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of fish. It was really quite good, beautifully prepared and very fresh. Especially the salmon and the scallops which were the big standouts to me. Some of the best scallops I’ve had actually- which is saying a lot since they are one of my  favorites.

The restaurant is VERY crowded and so the chefs are constantly turning platters out with newly sliced delicacies on them. The chefs are a real treat to watch, there must be about 30 of them behind the buffet, efficient and precise, and ready to tsk tsk at you if you (shudder) don’t put the tongs back where they belong. (Yes, that happened to me. For shame!) The display of the whole buffet  is impressively clean and organized, with neat labels telling you exactly what everything is.

Knowing that I had an 8 mile run ahead of me the following day (I’m currently in training for the NYC half marathon) I was treating this dinner as a total free-for-all. I indulged every culinary curiosity on that buffet, having small tastes of just about everything, and going back for 2nds of my favorites. Aside from the raw salmon and scallops, those 2nds included the crab legs, the blue point oysters, the various seaweed salads, the Japanese fried chicken, the bok choy and mushrooms dish, and the green tea ice cream. The various gyoza choices were also really tasty and fresh, but since I missed their presence my first time around, I only ended up with enough belly room to have one of each type.

The desserts are only so-so, aside from the mango, green tea and red bean ice creams, so I would recommend skipping them and filling up on seafood instead. Not a hard thing to do. And hey, there’s always room for one more oyster.

Enjoy!

Seahorse Tavern: 303 E 85th st. New York, NY

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A couple of months ago, my wonderful boyfriend gave me the most awesome shock of my life with a surprise 35th birthday party at Seahorse Tavern. I was so overwhelmed that day that I totally forgot to write about this awesome restaurant and figured that we’d just have to return another time to do so. When we found a 50% off deal on Scoutmob, we jumped at the chance to go for brunch this weekend.

I’d called for a reservation the previous day, but no one returned the call. When I called again in the morning, I was told that the messages were never listened to but that we could come in whenever. Ok. I guess reservations aren’t necessary. When we arrived, there were only a couple of tables full and we had our pick of spots. We chose a 2 top next to the window in the corner and the waitress brought over our menus and water right away.

Brunch includes a choice of entree and a drink  (bloody mary, wine, beer, or mimosa) for $14.95- it’s a fantastic deal. We remember loving the fried oysters appetizer from the party and even though they weren’t on the brunch menu, they were happy to serve them to us as our starter. YUM. SO good. Little toasted sesame seeds in the batter make for an interesting flavor and crunch on these perfectly cooked oysters. They each sit in their own shells atop a lovely tartar sauce and it’s all presented on tiny mounds of crushed sea salt. Great presentation, even better taste.

Next I had the goat cheese, arugula, mushroom omelette with home fries. This is a gorgeous, fluffy, omelette, cooked to perfection with a creamy, cheesy, mushroomy interior. My only complaint about it is that I only saw one tiny piece of arugula in there- it was mostly cheese and mushrooms. Still delicious, just not as green as I’d hoped. The home fries were wonderful- not greasy, cooked just right, and a bit spicy with various peppers mixed in. The bloody Mary is one of the best ones I’ve ever had- and was even better once I asked for a few extra olives. Gabriel ordered the Eggs Benedict over fresh crab meat and it was amazing. The crab was so fresh, flaked and chilled and piled underneath the most beautifully poached eggs. We both pretty much licked our plates clean.

The service at Seahorse is casual, low-key and friendly and the food is fabulous. I love the mix of a casual, laid back atmosphere with somewhat fancy food. This is definitely one of my favorite neighborhood spots and we’ll be going back again soon. Try it out!

City Crab & Seafood Company: 235 Park Ave S. New York, NY

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After a walk on the Highline, (if you haven’t done that yet, I strongly recommend checking it out.) Gabriel and I decided that we were hungry for some seafood. We’d been meaning to go to City Crab for a while as it’s one of his favorites, and tonight was a great opportunity to wander over there for a late night dinner. We arrived around 9:30 on a Monday night and it was pretty close to empty with just a few other tables of patrons. We were seated at a booth towards the back, and fresh bread/butter and water was brought out right away.

After looking over the menu, we chose 3 appetizers to share so that we could get a little sampling of what they had to offer. The steamers were in a light garlic-y broth, fresh, hot and quite delicious. The buffalo shrimp were huge, spicy, with a side of tangy blue cheese dressing and a few carrot sticks and celery stalks. Although buffalo isn’t my favorite flavor, these were actually pretty tasty. The sloppiness of eating them however, made me leave the tails on the plate rather than trying to excavate through the mess to get to the remaining meat in there, but Gabriel was more than happy to finish mine. The iceberg wedge was covered in awesome bits of crumbly blue cheese, perfectly juicy and ripe tomatoes and crisp pieces of smoky bacon. With a side of a creamy balsamic vinegar dressing, this was a perfect summer salad, albeit a bit unoriginal, and I really enjoyed it.

For dessert, even though we were really perfectly full and didn’t really *need* anything else, we opted to split the Oreo ice cream cake and I was glad we did. I didn’t love the strawberry sauce drizzled over it, but the cake itself was that great, slightly-soggy consistency that Oreos get when dunked in milk. Yum! The ice cream was creamy and refreshing, and the crumbles on top were crunchy and chocolate-y. This was a great ending to a really nice meal.

Although it wasn’t the best seafood I’ve had in the city, I really loved the super casual atmosphere, low-key vibe and fast service. The prices seemed kind of high to me, but the whole menu was appealing and for that reason I will most likely go back.

 

 *photos courtesy of Gabriel Sanders. http://www.magicsandbox.com/enter/Magic_Sandbox.html