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Dec 19, 2013 05:56 AM

Seafood in NYC

Looking for excellent seafood other than Le Bernadine. We have been to Marea and Grand Central Station Oyster bar. We have reservations for Esca.

Budget: $75 a person for food only

I am especially interested in octopus

Any type of cuisine is fine

Thanks in advance

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  1. Esca is great you will enjoy

      1. Esca is good. They have wild Maine Belon oysters on right now. These are the best US version of European Flats available. If you like briny and meaty oysters definitely get these.

        1. I would do Aquavit.

          Nothing against Esca, but my recent visit there was spectacularly mediocre, with the baked cod being bad but the crudo tasting being quite good, so you average out to average. In other words, it left me nonplussed.

          12 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Why order such a cheap fish like Cod at Esca?

            1. re: AubWah

              My bad. Jet lag.

              It was Branzino. Not cod.

              1. re: AubWah

                Although the OP ordered Branzino and not cod. You order what fish you like. Otherwise all you would order is tuna, or lobster tails. Also, just FYI approximate present fish market prices Btanzino $8.99 a lb. Cod fish $12.99/lb, red snapper $9.99
                Atlantic salmon $9.99, squid, skate, tilapia, porgy $4.99 ,tuna $24.99, wild king salmon $19.99
                Cod fish is more expensive than most.

              2. re: ipsedixit

                The gravlax at aquavit (made in house) is a must order for me.... And at lunch it can be much more budget friendly

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I love Aquavit. Just had dinner there tonight and it was spectacular. But,it is not specifically seafood, and the menu is limited. Oceana is also excellent, with a much larger menu, but not as creative.

                  1. re: rrems

                    Agree that Aquavit is not specifically seafood but neither is Esca, the option that the OP is considering.

                    1. re: rrems

                      Thanks for all the recommendations. We have selected Aquavit and looking forward to.

                      All I see online is a tasting menu. Is there an ala carte menu?

                      Thanks again

                        1. re: BellaDonna

                          Yeah, on the right side of the menu are the a la carte options.

                          Great choice! Looking forward to hearing what you think!

                          (Also, to +1 Ttrockwood, the gravlax w/ foie gras app is fantastic. You'd never imagine cured fish and bird livers would go so well together...)

                          1. re: BellaDonna

                            The langoustine crudo is out of this world. I also love the gravlax, lamb neck and monkfish.

                        2. re: ipsedixit

                          An important question is $75 before or after tax & tip? $75 before t/t = $97, after t/t = $58 menu price.

                          I don't think Aquavit is doable for $75/pp with the current menu, but I do love them lately and he does spectacular work with seafood. If OP ordered the cheapest two (seafood) apps, entrees, and two desserts it would come to $159 for two. And even though they'd be good, it always feels a bit odd to stick to the cheapest options.

                          One thing about Aquavit though - and this is just personal taste - is I tend to prefer beer with Nordic food. I'm kind of "when in Rome" when it comes to beverages, and given there's no viticulture in Scandinavia, I can take or leave wine. So if I find myself downing a couple icy Carlsbergs with my meal instead of a bottle of wine, that has the side-effect of leaving more money for the food part of the budget... Granted, I only go when I don't have a "budget" so to speak.

                          Esca, while also coming close to the budget, would be a little more doable, especially if they do a pasta as one of their entrees. The octopus there is good, but the octopus at Babbo is the best in the city IMHO if they can get a rez there, and the prices are similar.

                          1. re: sgordon

                            Maybe Aquavit is a tight fit budget-wise for the OP, but unless 75/person (either before or after tax and tip) is hard-line, I think Aquavit is going to work out ok. If you can't swing an extra 10 or 20 here and there while dining out in NYC, you just should probably not dine out.

                            It would be different if someone asked for recs at 75/person and was offered up Masa.

                        3. $75 before or after tax and tip?

                          I think Aquagrill is a great chocie.

                          Aquavit may stretch the budget unless you order the cheapest dishes on the menu.

                          Oceana might barely fit assuming the budget is $75 before t&t.

                          You can also find lots of seafood options outside of seafood centric places. Ilili comes to mind. Very reasonable and they have octopus with a lot of other seafood choices.

                          I'm in ipse's camp when it comes to Esca. Nothing particularly exciting there.