- Restaurant Crave Fishbar
- Cuisine seafood centric
- Location 945 2nd Avenue (at 50th Street), Manhattan
- Phone 646-895-9585
- Directions Hopstop
- Atmosphere nautical chic, warm, romantic
- Attire smart-casual
- Ideal for 1x1, small groups, dine at the bar, inventive cocktails, date night, private events
- Price moderate - expensive
After reading such a glowing review (...that actually made me eager and giddy about traveling to Midtown East for dinner), I suggested that Robin and I check out Crave for our Friday night date. It had, after all, just recently reopened after that horrific crane accident 4-years ago...
The earliest reservation I could score at Crave was for 9pm. Shocking, since Midtown East is pretty sleepy post 7pm. That said, Robin and I decided to meet a bit earlier for a glass of wine at new favorite, Sofia Wine Bar & Cafe, located just around the corner (from Crave).
By the time we checked in for our reservation, Robin and I only had to wait a couple of minutes to be seated. I think we were both pretty surprised by how alive and crowded Crave was. Not to mention the fact that the restaurant was filled with a very attractive, younger clientele. At 9pm on a Friday evening...In Midtown East, no less! Well, that, coupled with its list of inventive cocktails and uber cool, nautical-chic decor.
It was quickly becoming more and more obvious that Crave was the neighborhood's "it" dining destination.
While Robin started with a glass of white, I ordered a traditional margarita (as per usual). Refreshing and legit, though not particularly mind blowing, I had no problem finishing every last sip.
Side note: Two male employees, one *especially* good looking, took care of/serviced our table. So, after doing a bit of stalking, I learned that the 'good looking one' in question is Jason Steinthal, Crave's General Manager. And brother of one of my food blogging buddies, Andrew Steinthal, of Immaculate Infatuation! Yo, Andrew, hook me up!
Robin and I decided to split two appetizers, then go solo for our entrees. After she pointed to the Seared Rare Line Caught Yellowfin Tuna (on the menu), it was my turn to order. Honestly, I already had an idea of what I wanted to eat, but I just made any excuse I could to chat/flirt with Jason. "Which do you think is better, the Scallops or the John Dory?" I asked. Jason explained that they were both delicious, but very different from one another. "OK. Fair enough," I said. "Then I'm going to do something crazy. I want you to decide between the two entrees and surprise me (insert nervous/flirty giggle here)!!"
Moments after placing our food orders, a small plate, topped with sliced wheat bread and a pat of spreadable butter, arrived. By appearances alone, the bread looked extremely boring. I was confused and disappointed that we weren't served some sort of delicious sourdough boule or some other fancy, crusty loaf. That was, of course, until I took my first bite of the sliced whole wheat: Moist, almost doughy on the inside, surrounded by a crunchy, nutty crust, this is the kind of bread that I dream about. And what's better than butter that *actually* spreads atop each slice, instead of being so cold/frozen that you have to exert force? Amen and bravo to you, Crave!
A thick, creamy dollop of Italian burrata was perched atop a shallow pool of summery corn puree. The cheese was finished with chanterelle mushrooms, corn kernels, a duo of toasted crostini, a light drizzle of basil oil.
Did you know that the word burrata means "buttered" in Italian? Well, if you've ever tasted this cheese, then I'm willing to bet that your head is nodding right now. Robin and I loved the combination of the sweet corn coupled with the densely-textured, earthy mushrooms. The fragrant basil oil added a beautiful energy/pep to the mild, buttery cheese.
Slow Poached Cage Free Egg
A supple, slowly-poached egg was gently placed atop a bed of bite-sized green and white asparagus, lobster mushrooms, roasted garlic-sorrel puree, and pecorino-Toscano (cheese) flakes.
Robin let me to pierce the middle of the egg, so that its molten yolk would slowly cascade over the cheese and vegetables. While the combination of ingredients was impeccable, I would have appreciated some sort of accompanying bread/toast for dipping and/or topping purposes. Hey, there's only so much yolk and garlic-sorrel puree that you can scoop up with a fork and, god forbid, you let any of it go to waste!
Plancha Grilled Local John Dory
Well, there you have it, folks: Jason chose the John Dory (fish) for my entree! Plated atop a bed of pistachio-wheatberry salad and steamed asparagus, sat two skin-on filets of buttery, schmaltz-crusted, plancha-grilled John Dory (fish). The dish was finished with fragrant, bright green basil pistou.
Aside from a few fishy-tasting bites of skin, this was easily one of the best fish dishes I've ever had. In my life. There was so much flavor (schmaltz, basil pistou) and texture (asparagus, wheatberry salad) in each bite, that I finished my entree in its entirety. Jason certainly made the right choice; after all, I can get scallops pretty much anywhere. John Dory, on the other hand, is more rare.
Side dish a-la-carte
Garlic Chive Griddled Rice
I guess it was the word "griddled" that sold me. It just conjured up visions of overly-fried fried rice. And that made my mouth water...
Laced with melted, silky chives, scrambled egg, and a strong garlic essence, this fried white rice was literally "griddled" a-la-grilled cheese. Or pancakes. As in, formed in to paddy, placed face down on an oiled grill. Cook. Sizzle. Repeat. The result? Chunks of extra crunchy, buttery rice kernel clumps. Delicious!
Chocolate Chip Cookie, Scoop of Vanilla Salted Caramel Ice Cream
The menu described this dessert as, "...warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream." Well, once I saw that Crave carried salted caramel ice cream, I asked if we could do that instead of the vanilla. Because, let's face it, vanilla ice cream is so...Vanilla. Yawn.
The warm, fresh-out-of-the-oven, 1/2' thick, chocolate chip cookie took up the entire bottom of the bowl in which it came. It was topped by a picture-perfect scoop of salted caramel ice cream.
While I've had plenty of exotic, fancy-pants desserts in my time, not many have been particularly memorable. Well, this, my friends, was a true masterpiece. Leave it to Crave to offer one of the most classic, all-American novelty desserts that is so memorable, in fact, you will be tempted to make daily return visits. No joke.
Best dessert in NYC? Perhaps.
I think it's pretty clear where I stand on Crave: LOVE.
Robin and I enjoyed a perfect meal, from start to finish. Would I consider this a destination restaurant? Although it's a PIA to get to on a Friday night from downtown, yes, I would consider it destination-worthy. That dessert, alone, is worth a visit in and of itself.
Until we eat again,
The Lunch Belle