dines at Aqua Grill in Soho, New York...

I'm in New York - hurrah! City to some of the finest restaurants in the world, and a mecca for foodies everywhere.  Every street corner boasts a diner or deli, and with produce coming in from all over the country and overseas, it's no surprise that it also has restaurants like Aquagrill.

On the day that we visited, Aquagrill had no less than 27 kinds of oysters available on its huge ice-packed counter... And that's just the oysters. There were also countless kinds of fish, produced in a myriad of different ways.

We were six for dinner, and in the time we sat there, tables emptied and refilled around us.  Platters of fruits de mer seemed to be the most popular dish, and trays heaving with shellfish poured up and down the room.  It's obviously an extremely popular local restaurant, and the pace never lets up.

There's just one tiny problem - I can't actually eat oysters...  Yup...  So why come here?  I chose Aquagrill precisely because I appreciate this kind of dedication - fish and shellfish of this standard should be applauded, and I just wish we had something comparable in London.  Of course we have Scotts, Bentleys et al, but this is different - this isn't a fine dining restaurant - this is just sheer and unadulterated homage to the produce, served in a continental style.

Given that there were six of us, it would have been impractical for me to photograph everyone's food (not to say annoying in the extreme), so I have my dishes, and a couple of others...

The kitchen sent us some lobster tartare on a game chip to begin - really good tartare, some hint of horseradish in there that might have been a touch of wasabi.

Lobster tartare on a game chip

I began with the lobster salad...  A good combination of tail and claw meat, well dressed salad, avocado, zingy ruby grapefruit and tiny beetroot dice for texture and sweetness.  The lobster was succulent, and a lovely light way to begin the meal.  Hubby had this too and thought it very good. The others had lobster cocktail (apparently good), and soft shelled crab (good, but a little salty).  I'll check the other dishes when I get a minute.

Maine Lobster salad with avocado,
ruby grapefruit, and a champagne vinaigrette

Crispy soft shelled crab, with sautéed spinach, jicama,
ortaniques, and micro greens in a spicy citrus vinaigrette
Hubby and I both followed this with a special of the day, porcini dusted loin of yellow fin tuna, porcini polenta, fiddlehead ferns, fresh porcini and arugula salad (that's rocket to us Brits) in a truffle vinaigrette... What's not to like? Rare tuna and an intense umami kick from all the mushroom elements.  These didn't overwhelm the tuna, and fiddleheads...  Strangely enough I had a (twitter) conversation with Sat Bains and James Tanner recently about fiddleheads, and we were commenting on the fact that they're eaten more in the US than the UK.  I know some varieties are considered poisonous, but these were lovely...  I can't really describe the texture or the flavour, but they eat as you'd imagine they would.  Here they completed that sense of the woodland when combined with the porcini, and added an extra forest-like dimension.

Porcini dusted loin of yellow fin tuna, porcini polenta,
fiddlehead ferns, fresh porcini and arugula salad dressed in a truffle vinaigrette

Seared diver scallops, with Peekytoe crabmeat risotto
and sugarsnap peas in a tomato shellfish emulsion
To finish I had the creme brûlée - not the best one I've ever eaten to be honest, and I couldn't get a decent picture of it.  The custard was a tiny bit granular - always a possibility with creme brûlée - though the sugar top was crisp and good.

Creme brûlée 

Two of my chums had the panna cotta, which they thought was very good, and another two had the apple tarte which they also thought good.

Apple tarte
Overall we had a good meal - the quality of the ingredients were exceptional.  Some of us did have a issue with heavy-handed seasoning.  It's difficult to assess - all the food I've eaten in NewYork to date has been pretty heavily seasoned, so perhaps this is fairly typical?  Certainly this wouldn't have been the case if we'd tucked into the fruits de mer, and judging by the sheer quantity zipping past our table this is by far the most popular fare!  If you're in Soho, go visit Aquagrill - I defy you to find a better selection of fish and shellfish in any restaurant in the city.

210 Spring Street
New York
NY 10012

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