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Jun 29, 2011 06:30 PM

Large format meals / seafood oriented?

A friend took a job offer in China and is coming down on Saturday to NYC for a hearty send off. Looking for a fish/seafood oriented large format feast that can be booked on short notice.

If it weren't for the one pescetarian in the group, we would have settled for the numerous other excellent options out there.

I've ruled out the following for either of the above reasons:
Ma Peche
Back Forty
M. Wells
Peter Luger

In a word, we need something 'epic'.

Thoughts? Anyone know if Yuba does sushi boats? ;)

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  1. oceana does a whole striped bass that is worth checking out.

    (M. Wells sucks)

    120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

    6 Replies
    1. re: nmprisons

      What's your experience of their large format? multiple courses or is it just the whole fish presented? Do they serve it up table side or let you go at it (based on Sifton's review in 2009, I assume the latter).

      Going to give them another call this morning as the manager had already left last night when I called. Thanks for the rec!

      1. re: avial

        I have not personally eaten it, but have eaten at the restaurant multiple times and enjoy the food very much. My understanding from an inquiry I made when deciding between that and the Bo Ssam is that it is the latter, but I can't be sure.

        1. re: nmprisons

          For those interested, we're going ahead with Oceana, the 411 on the Big Bass Dinner is as follows. The price isn't too bad either though I get the feeling that 6lbs is a bit on the small side and may even be a bit underwhelming ... I mean, you can get a fish that size in Chinatown without even asking I feel like. I know, different world, different expectations, blah blah.

          A large format dinner where we are featuring a whole roast wild striped bass.
          Start with freshly shucked oysters from Oceana’s raw bar, ceviches, and fried calamari.
          The 6lb striped bass is stuffed with mushrooms, spinach and olives and dressed with chili-fennel vinaigrette accompanied by fingerling potato confit and cauliflower with picholine olives and pinenuts.
          For dessert there is a flourless bittersweet chocolate cake accompanied by bowls of warm fruit compote, vanilla ice cream, and crème Chantilly.

          Big fish serves 6-12 and is $75 per person.
          Paid in advance. Please place order 24 hours in advance or by Thursday for Friday-Sunday.

          120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

          1. re: avial

            Cooking whole fish much larger than that never works out well. (I was a professional fisherman in a previous life and so you will just have to trust me.) And smaller bass always taste better than the big bruisers, so count yourself lucky. I am sure you will enjoy.

            1. re: nmprisons

              Fair enough, will report back after the meal.

              1. re: avial

                Meal has been settling for the last 2 hours or so and some thoughts.

                Menu as delivered today:
                Oysters (~27 for 9 ppl)
                Fried Calamari
                Ceviche (unknown fish)
                Tartare trio

                Big Bass

                roasted fingerlings
                cauliflower and mushroom sautee

                Flourless Chocolate Cake w/berry compote and chocolate sauce on the side
                Orange pudding and chocolate pudding lollipops

                Overall, an excellent value this time. The bass was 20lbs instead of 6lbs because of procurement issues, which may have been a 50/50 split. The chef (not Ben) presented it on a tray to us and then took it back to cut up into steak portions. Each person was given one steak except for one guy who got two because he paid for two portions.

                Fish itself was good, not excellent. A tad overcooked or dry which may have been helped if there was more sauce. Stuffing was nicely balanced and did not overpower the fish - spinach and olives and pine nuts as promised.

                Potatoes and cauliflower were decently executed. The former needing a tad more salt but fulfilled the carb component nicely. The latter was a mix of texture and earthiness that contrasted the muted flavors of fish.

                For $75/head, it is an excellent value I think that I would do again in a heartbeat for another big occasion if they switched up the stuffing, sides and dessert.

                Sadly, we did not get a picture of the bass because we were shocked that it was so big compared to expectations.

                120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

    2. kellari taverna does big whole fish(es) i think

      Kellari Taverna
      19 W. 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

      1. 15 East

        15 East
        15 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nancy S.

          Can't seem to find a large format menu on their website, details?

        2. I thought Resto did a large fish as part of their pick an animal large format feast, and can be booked about a week out. Is that not short notice enough?

          2 Replies
          1. re: fooder

            I was also going to recommend Resto. I haven't done the fish large format feast, but we did the lamb recently and I thought the food was great.

            1. re: JoLi

              We did try Resto but they stuck to their one week requirement as we're aiming for Saturday night and only started planning on Tuesday. Thanks though.