In accordance with the nautical theme of the restaurant, our dining experience at Pier 9 could best be described as a day out at Sea. With heightened expectations, and anticipation of adventure ahead, it was a combination rocky waters and smooth sailing. But just as a voyage often leaves one yearning for more, so did our few hours spent sampling the menu at this new addition to the flourishing restaurant scene in Hell’s Kitchen, NY.
In the space recently occupied by Aqua Dulce, now resides a Seafood restaurant headed by Chef, Eric Hara. The vibrant mosaics have been replaced by sails, the back tables received a makeover with added white linens, and the entire front bar area has been redesigned with an abyssal essence. Minus for a few land items, such as the Roasted Chicken, and Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon, the concept is a vast array of fish and shellfish items in various preparation. So whether you prefer your seafood simply grilled, or more complex, this restaurant covers it all, and does it well.
The anticipation set in immediately upon seeing a sneak peak of the menu to be offered. Not only would they be serving a half dozen East Coast and West Coast oysters, but to kick it up a notch, there is the option of ordering the Giant West Coast Oyster at $8 a piece. A rare find among the many purveyors of oysters in the New York City, they struck gold with this added bonus. On top of that, there was the rather extensive list of other seafood items such as razor clams, Spanish octopus, and lobster, just to name a few of my favorite things in life. And the curiosity of what exactly is a Chicago Style Lobster Hot Dog. Life jackets on, Sail tightened, we were ready to take on the high seas.
On our route to the white-clothed table in the back, we bypassed the beautiful chef’s table on the left and a very cozy oversized booth on the right. All perfect for large group dining. Dived by a few steps, the atmosphere of the elevated back area is slightly formal, with the front more on the casual side, and the same menu served throughout the entire restaurant.
The beer and wine options are carefully selected to accompany the items on the menu, and the cocktail list takes a rather interesting twist, offering a truffle flavored dirty martini with truffle and blue cheese stuffed olives.
Disappointed to learn that they were all out of the Giant West Coast Oyster, we opted to begin our meal with a half dozen of the regular sized ones. Three of the Beau Soliels from the East Coast and three Hama Hamas from the West. The presentation, as well as quality was beautiful. And after some deliberation, a second round consisting of a few other varieties appeared. The Kumamotos from California were large in size, creamy and sweet. The New York Oyster Company and the Martha’s Vineyard were brinier as their terroir typically dictates them to me.
We hit some choppy waters with the lobsterless lobster deviled eggs and slightly chewy razor clams, but quickly recovered with the ultra tender and crispy grilled Spanish octopus. From then on, the wind picked up and we were smooth sailing.
We absolutely had to try the Chicago Style Lobster Hot Dog. Basically a hot dog made with lobster and shrimp meat, it came with all the essentials of what one might find in the windy city. The relish among the other condiments really stood out, giving this dog a spicy kick.
For our main course selections we could not resist ordering the two-pound Grilled Lobster and the Sea Urchin Carbonara. This is where our meal really kicked into high gear and we were full sails ahead. The lobster was absolutely finger licking amazing. Served with a green curry and shitake mushroom sauce on the side, it was crustacean heaven.
Anchored and stuffed, we concluded our adventures with the S’mores Doughnut and Chocolate covered pretzel sundae. It was a happy ending in deed.
Two few in number to try the many items that caught our eye on the menu, we will be back for more. And from what we learned, the Lobster Mac n Cheese is not to be missed.
802 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
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