Tonight: Fatty Crab or Mary's Fish Camp?
As a point of full disclosure the debate is really between FC and BROOKLYN Fish Camp, but I figured this is the Manhattan board and in comparing the menus they seems almost exactly the same. Does this seem like sacrilege to anyone? I've never been to MFC but had a nice bar experience at BFC last summer.
Fatty Crab -- because I want to get into Mary's Fish Camp, tonight.
IMHO, Fatty Crab is not even remotely in the same league. Much of the menu is not well prepared: the Hainan chicken rice is a horrible bastardization of one of the most simply beautiful dishes in the world, pork belly preps come out rubbery more often than crisp. OTOH, Mary's Fish Camp can be a pain in the ars to get into oftentimes, since there's usually a long line at the door. The food is competent to good, there, though.
[I should note that my assessment of Fatty Crab is based almost completely on my experiences at the UWS location; I've only been to the downtown location once. I don't know if the quality of the food varies by location.]
If Mary's Fish Camp is too full to get into, Extra Virgin down the block is not a bad option for Italian. And across 7th Ave, there's a new Scottish pub called the Highlands that serves a beautifully prepared wine-braised leg of lamb and nice cocktails.
They are very hard to compare. I like them both very much. I am crazy about the food at Fatty Crab, but both locations are so loud that at peak times I can't stand it. The fatty duck and the nasi lemak and the watermelon and pork salad are dishes I get over and over again. I like Pearl's and Mary's...and like sitting at them both. And the food at both is very good. But nothing like Fatty Crab in style or atmosphere or anything else.
I've only been to each for lunch (and Fatty Crab on the UWS), but I guess I would vote for Mary's. With the exception of a duck dish that I recall being quite good, I wasn't particularly impressed by the five or six dishes we had at Fatty Crab, and thought the bill ended up being higher than I thought it should be for the quality of the food. I prefer Pearl to Mary's generally, but Mary's does have a wider variety of menu items, I think.