A vivid triptych of a stormy ocean looms over the Le Bernardin dining room, where jacket-clad waiters dart nimbly amongst white-clothed tables and leather chairs. In the kitchen, Eric Ripert whips up the creative French-inspired seafood dishes that have earned the restaurant a 26 year-long standing as a New York Times four-star establishment.
If you happen to venture to the harbors of Kittery, Maine, you might overhear Ralph Gorham bargaining with local fisherman. Once he’s loaded up his supply of freshly caught lobsters, he’ll drive them directly to Red Hook, where his wife Susan will whip them into lobster rolls and mac-n-cheese.
Chef Michael White makes all of his pastas iin house, sculpting delicate tagliatelle and plump gnochetti by hand before showering them in fresh seafood plucked from Mediterranean waters. A lengthy European wine list pairs with an equally expansive menu of oceanic fare ranging from caviar to whole, salt-baked Italian Branzino.
With a tower of more than 20 different varieties glistening on the raw bar before you, it can be difficult to resist the temptation to fill up on Aquagrill’s freshly shucked oysters. Try your best—chef Jeremy Marshall’s falafel-encrusted salmon and seared diver scallops are worth saving room for.
When Luke Holden moved to Manhattan, he noticed local lobster rolls were expensive and far less flavorful than the ones he remembered from his childhood in Cape Elizabeth. His solution: rolls made with lobster shipped directly from his father’s seafood company in Maine, dressed with just a hint of butter, mayo, and seasonings.
For a comprehensive grasp of the cuisine at this intimate eatery, diners can order the nightly six-course tasting menu. A sampling of bicoastal oysters starts things off, arriving with un-traditional garnishes such as bloody mary foam, before an assortment of small plates bearing morsels of arctic char confit and slow-cooked bass.
Follow the winding line of eager diners and sound of sizzling oil to A Taste of Seafood, where chefs fry up Southern-style whiting sandwiches, shrimp, and catfish. As you wait, examine the nautical knickknacks that speckle the walls and hum along with the blues music humming from the jukebox.
Caviar Russe was an exclusive caviar shop reserved for select clients until the owners mercifully opened it to the public. Today, guests from all walks of life are greeted warmly inside the lavish, whimsical space, where bubble chandeliers cast an ethereal glow onto roe served upon tiny pearl spoons.
New Yorkers would flock to the Wild Edibles Market just before suppertime to get their hands on its boat-fresh seafood selections. To make things easier, the market added an intimate, full-service restaurant, where customers kick back with local brews while staff do all the work crafting cod cakes and salmon burgers.
The star of the menu at Ed’s is the lobster roll—a warm, buttery bun spilling over with tender morsels drenched in chive-speckled mayo. To compliment the lobster’s creamy sweetness, Ed plates his rolls alongside generous portions of salty, hand-cut fries and crisp slices of homemade pickles.
Deal or no deal, our editors strongly recommend these businesses based on their reputation, popularity, and quality of service.