Weird Fish = Weird Meal

The look, feel and especially the whimsical name Weird Fish made me decide the first day I came across it that I wanted to eat here.  It doesn’t exactly fit into my cheap eats category, but it certainly isn’t expensive.   As I always like to do when I talk about a restaurant experience, I want to make clear that I only had a very limited sampling; usually it’s just me or me and a friend eating there and usually only once.

As I’ve already said Weird Fishhas a great room, with a low-key buzz and a fun crowd.  The service was great by two very game gals.  The food….was ambitious in one instance and not thought through in the other.  I had two special appetizers: coconut milk curried mussels and fries and a Sardine Confit.

The mussels were delicious, but I had two issues with them:  the fries were placed on top of the dish so they ranged from crunchy fried fries to soggy coconut milk soaked fries.  No bread was served and conceptually I like the idea that the fries soaked up the sauce in the way bread would normally have, but in the end I think the dish would have been more successful if the fries had been on the side.  This brings me to my second problem:  the chef uses large chunks of lemongrass in the broth.  I love lemongrass but not in a broth with french fries in a dark room where with every bite I took I had to fish out of my mouth very woody, stringy chunks of lemon grass.  The lemon grass is a flavor not a texture and should be removed before serving.  Otherwise this was a delicious dish.

The Sardines were just so…. well, weird and ill conceived to me I don’t really know what they were thinking.  Again we run into a texture issue:  the sardines are served cut up in chunks, not whole.  Thus on my first bite I thought they had been de-boned, but no they had not.  Whole fish would have been easier to deal with and given they were going for a salad compose I personally think they would have been better off serving fillets.  Let me backtrack; here is the list of ingredients in this Sardine Confit:
Grilled Romaine Heart, Pickled Green Beans Fried Okra (battered and deep fried), preserved Meyer lemons (huge unwieldy chunks – nearly an entire lemon’s worth), Grapefruit segments (which I didn’t actually notice on my plate).  A weird collection of things, the cook in me wants to see how they could all come together in a more edible form.  The citrus should be finely chopped and part of a vinaigrette, the sardines filleted, the green beans nixed and the Okra was so tasty I’d include it even though it seems like it belongs to another dish (or as a side dish on it’s own?).

Anyway it’s what I get for ordering a weird sounding dish to start with!   These two dishes plus a glass of wine cost $29 plus tip.  I’d for sure go back, only next time I think I’ll stick with the fish and chips!

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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