Wednesday, March 9, 2011
If you’re able to get past the name, and the smoked fish smell wafting through the entrance and bar area where we waited for out table, and the notion that head cheese is comprised of flesh from the head of pigs and calves solidified into an aspic jelly and then sliced, then you are in for some enticing and delicious surprises at Michael Psilakis’ newest UWS spot. The dining room is somewhat uninviting, sparse and evocative of a workman’s shop room painted over with a fresh neutral coat, but the cavernous nature actually grew on me in a homey kind of way. Upon expressing overt trepidation about endeavoring to order from such an expansive and unique menu, our waiter thoughtfully walked us through the various sections (appetizers, smaller dishes, entrees, specials) and features (wine pairing suggestions, grilled option, minus head cheese spread), highlighting patron favorites as well as Finocchiona from his home town: this we devoured, it was delicious. The scallop crudo melted in my mouth but was offset by the texture of pomegranate seeds and beets, complemented by the nuttiness of pistachio tartare. We also had a lobster ‘soup’ and bouchet mussels & spicy lamb, both great. The chestnut honey, Greek coffee and black mission fig ice creams are not to be overlooked, especially when accompanied by a sweet and buttery Moscato d’Asti. I could see how one could go wrong here—the menu is quite overwhelming and some of the dishes (and cocktails!) overambitious—but I had a very pleasing meal.
Logo: courtesy of www.fishtagrestaurant.com/menus/fishtag_app_010211.pdf