Brooklyn Surf Bar
It was featured on Bobby Flay's Throwdown last night, but I saw some negative reviews on nymag.com and yelp...I want to know what the hounds think? Is it worth trying? Their $16 lobster roll with fries is the cheapest I've seen but how does it compare with the Manhattan greats like Pearl's, Ed's or even Mermaid Inn's?
It's a funky, fun place... the fish on the menu is all fresh, but preparation is nothing special. their lobster roll is not as good the places you mention, but given the price, still worth getting. Fish Taco is tasty, though it is more of a fish burrito and a bit pricey. The chowders are their speciality... things like blackened fish and seafood pasta can be avoided.
Surf Bar is a fun place for drinks, especially during the summer, but really doesn't warrant a special trip. In the few times I've eaten there, the service ranged from absent-minded to atrocious, and the food was nothing to call home about.
If you are talking about the Surf Bar in Williamsburg, DO NOT take a special trip. The lobster roll was ok but tiny- but even still. The place is gross. The have a SAND floor through out the restaurant and through to the garden as well. How they clean it- still remains a mystery to me. Once, during a visit l ast summer in their back garden, at the tables on the right side wall, a raccoon poked his hungry head out at me from about 4 feet away. Upon further inspection, my dining companions and I discovered a family of raccoons living in the tiny crevis between a fence and the building. Kind of cute- but frightening to have one stalk you while eating.
Surf Bar is not on the same level as Pearl (one of my fave places) or Mermaid Inn (also really good lob roll) on any level. The only thing they have going for them really are their mojito's- THOSE are fantastic. Honestly, I'm surprised they haven't been shut down by the DOH yet.
I think that was the first episode of Throwdown from a couple years ago ; ) Anyhow, it's a funky, fun place. I used to go there when I lived in the neighborhood, and well, it's a neighborhood joint. Relaxed vibe, relaxed service. I've never tried any of those places in Manhattan, so I can't tell you how it stacks up, but the food is decent. It's just not all about the food there, if you know what I mean.
Carmaya/Surf Bar/Etc is really good for choweders and mojitos and not so good for everything else. The lobster roll is only OK.