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Brooklyn Fish Camp Is Ridiculous

I took my boyfriend to Brooklyn Fish Camp for his birthday on Friday. We arrived around 6:30, so we didn't end up waiting for a table. I have to say that I was not impressed. There was no bread, which for me is a biggie. They did have some packaged oyster crackers on the table but that just wasn't cutting it. The beer selection was pretty good, though the list a bit short. We ordered 1/2 dozen oysters and a 1/2 dozen clams. My bf said the oysters were some of the best that he's ever had. My clams were ok, but they shorted me by serving 5 instad of 6 clams. When I brought this to the attention of the waitress, she brought me one clam over on a plate. My bf and I decided that it would have been nice if they had given another few since it seemed kind of tacky to bring one clam on a plate.

For entree my bf ordered the scallops (3 came on the plate) over some greens ($23). I ordered the lobster roll ($24). Now, I have read the posts and was warned about the ridiculous prices but when I actually saw the portions for the price, I felt personally insulted. I mean, there were like 6 chunks of lobster, yes, but really...$24? Give me a break. And the scallops, 3 for $24? Simply disgusting. Though the meal was tasty, it's just over the top in terms of portion compared with price compared with quality .

In addition, I asked the waitress before sitting down if she could surprise my bf with a dessert and a candle. The selections were slim pickings, maybe 3 choices and the one I ended up choosing, the baked lemon pudding, was ok but more for novelty's sake since he prob would never have ordered it otherwise. Well, she came over and asked us if we wanted dessert. I looked at her with a little puzzlement since I had told her about 40 minutes prior to that about the birthday dessert. When we made eye contact she quickly said "oops, we have no desserts today" and hurried away. My bf looked at me and asked what the hell she was talking about since the desserts were posted on the board. I shrugged, thinking ok well, that is ruined. Luckily my bf is not a dessert eater so he didn't think too hard on the subject, only realizing when she brought the dessert over what I was up to.
Brooklyn Fish Camp, good if you want a local place to spend a stupid amount of money on ok seafood if you don't feel like doing it yourself. Otherwise, it's simply ridiculous.

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  1. I know there are dozens of people who post on this board who love that place, but I agree with you, its one of those "emperor has no clothes" places that everyone convinces themselves how great it is to be served soggy fries and tiny portions for exhorbitant prices.Oh well that's what makes the world go around, however the oysters are good.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jason carey

      To be honest, I wouldn't mind paying $24 for a fantastic lobster roll. I'm looking for quality, not quantity. But this was just garbage. I don't care how big the pile of fries is if it's a soggy mess.

      The fried oysters were the only part of the meal that would qualify as very good.

    2. Agree! We had dinner there last October. First and last time.

      Service was a bit of a joke. Our waitress was a complete space case and the food was pretty mediocre.

      We ordered fried oysters and mussels to start. The mussels came out and were placed in front of my BF while I just sat there. No explanation or "yours will be right out". She just dropped the plate and took off. So we both started eating the mussels. About halfway through she delivers some bread. Finally the oysters arrive. They were the only really memorable part of the meal.

      I had a lobster roll which was a bit tough and the fries were soggy. Not anywhere near the quality of POB. I can't recall what my BF had for an entree.

      For dessert I had the Key Lime square and my BF had a $9 ice cream sundae. For $9 I expect homemade or at least a top-notch quality ice cream. This was neither.

      There was also a second glass of wine that was ordered and never delivered.

      There are way too many good places to repeat this blunder. When I want NE clam shack style food I'll head to Pearl. They've proven to be very consistent. Though I do like the atmosphere at the Mermaid Inn as well.

      1. to each her own

        I had those three (enormous) scallops and the delish risotto they were served on and was quite thrilled at the taste. I was not looking for enormous portions, I was looking for quality seafood in a great prep. Try Bob Law Seafood on Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights. It's cheaper and the seafood is good, although fried fried fried.

        The cod sandwich is exquisite at Fish Camp. What bumps it up from being just a good piece of fried fish is the good bread and the condiments - cornichons and a bunch of other perfectly balanced luscious stuff. GREAT sandwich, I've had it five or so times. We often split it, since it's huge. Then we have room for salad (the beet one is great), raw bar, whatever.

        I don't eat dessert there, and I'm not so crazy for lobster rolls that I'd eat them in NYC.
        I love what I love there, and don't get the rest. It drives me nuts that they don't have better white wine, like a Sancerre on the menu.

        I think it's important to separate the service issues from the food. I haven't had any problems, but it sounds like that was a big problem in your dining experience.

        I love Pearl too, but it's not in reasonable walking distance...BFC is a great treat in Brooklyn.

        1. I also like BFC. With regards to the lobster roll's size, I had the same reaction as the OP. For a $24 sandwich, you are probably expecting a bigger portion, but I've never been disappointed taste-wise or fulfillment-wise. Between the lobster salad's richness, the heavy bun and the huge amount of fries, I've always found it to be the perfect size.

          If Carnegie Deli's taught us anything, it's that bigger isn't always better.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Beans

            Nobody said bigger is better. What they are saying if you don't do "big", don't charge "big prices".

          2. Come now people, let us be reasonable. The portions are stupid small. The prices are in fact inflated to the point of being certifiable. If a restaurant cannot make up a proper plate of really good fries, which this chowhound would like to point out does in fact take some doing, care and know-how, then I look for other digs. When are a huge, sloppy, soggy mass of fries cool?

            I second the wine issue. It is infuriating to me that you are so looked down upon as a consumer that no up-sell choice of great white wine is even made available. Come now. I am not looking for a wine list likend to that of Oceana, here. But again, give us some varietal options.

            Finally, my wife made the mistake of ordering the scallops that everyone seems to think are the jam. Well, I am here to tell you, not so much. Ever here of dry packs? Clearly these were not. If I want three alien scallops the size of my fist, pumped full of all sorts of preservatives to make them appear plump and juicy, but not at all pinkish orange as they are in nature, then I don't want them for myself, or my wife. Thumbs down to bad for you seafood. Akin only to supermarket color wheel salmon, sprayed daily to look pretty and fresh when it is anything but.

            2 Replies
            1. re: noodles

              When are a huge, sloppy, soggy mass of fries cool?

              I just have to answer that question--when there's a big pile of fried lobster tails plopped on top of them at Johnny's Reef on City Island and you're outside at a picnic table with a cold can of Corona...

              1. re: kenito799

                yeah or when they're called disco fries and the diner is only charging my drunk butt $3.95

            2. I haven't been there, but I'd like to point out that one of the original tenets of the CH website is finding what a place does do well and pointing the way for others. If they have a great codfish sandwich but lousy fries, to me, that's valuable information. It's good to know that the service sucks and all that -- I won't plan a special meal there -- but knowing what they do do well is the most important to me.

              1. Well, I thought their fries were very good. And I agree with pitu, that, taken as a whole -- the richness of the lobster meat, the fries, the bun -- the meal was more than filling. Every lobster roll I have had in NYC (Mary's fish camp, Pearl and Mermaid) have been of similar size. Yes--it is expensive, but I bet they pay a pretty penny for their rent in prime Park Slope. This is NYC, folks.

                I can't comment on the quality of the scallops, but my SO's soft shells were awesome, too--and expensive :)

                1. agree..coasting on undeserved reputation If you have $$ waste, enjoy

                  1. I have to admit although I tend to agree about the small portions and high prices, I don't understand all the flak about the fries---we were there last weekend and the fries were great (and crispy!) Not a soggy fry in sight, I ate every last one on my lobster roll plate (and I confess, some of my husband's as well.)

                    Maybe we just got lucky?

                    And I also adored the caeser salad--it was perfect with lots of real, whole anchovies, which is almost unheard of these days. I'd go back there anytime just for the caeser salad and lobster roll--not huge, but it really satisfied my craving. And the spouse really enjoyed that cod sandwich too.

                    1. note to self: try the Caeser
                      I never had soggy fries there either. They are crispy, shoestring style.
                      I don't much care for them that thin; I save my fry consumption for Bonnie's . . .

                      As for the $$ thing, BFC, like al di la and Stone Park, are date night treats for us. I'm a thrifty spender, and go for the good stuff.

                      1. $24 is not an unreasonable price for a lobster roll, but I agree that the Brooklyn Fish Camp version isn't anything to write home about. I'll stick with Pearl Oyster Bar in Manhattan -- their lobster roll is worth every penny.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Dianora

                          Are you sure? Esp when you can find live lobster for just a lil over $8 a lbs