January 10, 2011

{First Look} Fish Tag UWS

 It's a good thing the restaurant industry doesn't reflect our relationship! When we started this website, we wanted it to be a food diary of sorts.  We wanted to remember the tasty dishes we had shared and the memorable places we had visited.  In NYC, we're lucky to have so many options, but unfortunately many restaurants come and go.  The place we went to on our first date became the new home to Kefi.  And Kefi's old home became gastropub Gus & Gabriel, which has now become seafood-focused Fish Tag.  We checked out this new restaurant last month when it had first opened. Service was friendly, food was pretty good, but with its small plate style, the bill could quickly add up. (And now it looks like prices have already gone up at least $1 since we first went).

To my husband, it appeared that Fish Tag was emphasizing their beverage offerings (wine, beer & spirits), with suggested pairings by style of drink matched to the style (light to heavy).  The wine selection is interesting in that the wines are offered by taste, glass, carafe and bottle including a broad range of white wines.  However, we found the best value (and a good way to sample to the wine list) to be the tastes and carafes -- some of the glass and bottle pricing will quickly up your bill.  Like Gus and Gabriel, Fish Tag has numerous beers but the pricing seems to be all over the place.  For example, there's a $16 small bottle of Delirium Tremens, but $11 for an oversize glass of Weihenstephaner Hefe Weiss (a much better and more food friendly beer);
Sea Urchin Crudo in Ocean Water (was $13 last month, now $14):  My husband couldn't pass up the sea urchin which made for a briny start to the meal.  He says, "I should have asked for a spoon or straw to drink up the leftover essence of the ocean." 

Smoked Octopus (was $12 last month, now $13):  We both liked that the octopus was smoked (and retained that slightly smoky taste) instead of being the usual simple grilled octopus.  The dish also had chorizo, mushrooms, and lemon juice.
Scallop Crudo ($15):  I really liked this scallop dish with pickled beet, pistachio, bone marrow, and peppercress.  Each bite size had subtle salinity mixed with the sweetness from the beets.
Grilled Sardines (was $12 last month, now $13):  I can spot a dish my husband will like a mile away - it'll be salty, earthy, and/or slightly bitter. For him, this dish was a light, easy starter perfect for his taste buds.  With the meaty sardines, fennel confit, saffron pickled fennel, radish, and capers, this dish was both rustic and savory. We'll likely try to make something like this at home.
Sheep Milk Dumplings (was $18 last month, now $19):  This dish might look plain, but it's very rich with a lot of tasty ingredients (including aji amarillo peppers and sea urchin fonduta). The dumplings were fluffy, soft, and creamy; however, we wished we had more of the bay scallops and crab in it.
Because Fish Tag only offered ice creams or sorbets for dessert when we were there, we opted to make our own cheese plate.  After all, that large cheese presentation in the middle of the room kept staring at me all throughout dinner!
After looking through the cheeses, we eventually chose the Gran Bu (left, $6.25), an Italian cheese made from Buffalo and the Pleasant Ridge Reserve (right, $5.75), a Wisconsin cheese made from cow's milk.  The Gran Bu was subtle in flavor, while the Wisconsin cheese was a stronger cheese. It was a nice, smooth, aged cheddar. To go with the cheese, we also ordered the Sopressata di Chingiale ($6.50). We like its spiciness.
Overall, Fish Tag is a nice addition to the neighborhood and, after the renovation, a much better use of the space (more breathing room).  The bar area is a also a huge upgrade, with more seating.

Fish Tag is located at 222 W 79th St (btwn Broadway and Amsterdam) in NYC.

Fish Tag on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. The food looks beautiful, but I like big portions (because I am a piggy).
    *kisses* HH

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