Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Restaurant Week #2: Lure Fishbar

For the longest time, I've thought of seafood as a cuisine that sits well only among the older population. When you ask little kids what their least favorite food is, a popular answer is always fish. Maybe it's because of the pointy bones, the ocean-y taste, or the less-than-appealing appearance of most sea creatures. It seems, though, that most kids outgrow this distaste for seafood at some point in their lives, perhaps after learning that about the health benefits and what not... but all presumptions aside, seafood is now one of the most popular types of restaurants out there. I actually didn't consider myself as a fan until fairly recently, but I believe that fish is a classier and more versatile type of meat, its lightness leaves me feeling better than if I were to have eaten, say, a 12 ounce filet mignon. Don't get me wrong, I do love a big hunk of steak every now and then, but yeah...anyways!

Most of my friends are not big seafood-types, so it was to my delight when one of them (who is, obviously) asked me if I was interested in doing RW at Lure Fishbar. Sure, this was going to be my second RW meal in 3 days but hey, life's short so why not take advantage of all the great deals that come up...especially ones involving food ;)

Anyway, as I stepped foot into this Soho restaurant, I was awestruck with the the decor. With wood plank walls and rounded windows, it looked as though the place is the inside of a boat! It isn't as big or high-ceilinged as ilili, but the atmosphere is definitely more cozy - perfect for a Sunday lunch.

For my appetizer, I chose the salmon tartare. Salmon is probably my favorite type of fish, but I'd never eaten it in a raw, minced form before. I was debating between that and the fresh-shucked oysters but was a little intimidated to try the oysters, not gonna lie. Fortunately, though, I did not regret my decision to go with the salmon at all, because it was absolutely delicious.

salmon tartare with dill puree, horseradish cream, red caviar,
and bagel chips
Not to mention beautifully presented! Love the swirl of dill puree on the plate.

The salmon was creamy in texture and served as a lovely spread for the bagel chips as it leaned a bit on the salty side. What really made this appetizer special was the horseradish and dill - together, the two added a flavorful kick to each bite. Portion size was just enough to leave me feeling happy but anticipating the next course, for which I ordered the steamed branzino. 

steamed branzino with oyster mushrooms, scallions, ponzu,
and jasmine rice

Soft, succulent, and perfectly seasoned with what tasted like a tangy soy-sauce, this European sea bass was probably the most tender piece of fish I'd ever eaten. Almost like flounder, but less rubbery and more silky in texture. Despite the few scales that were still left on the skin, I thoroughly enjoyed this dish as it was simple and harmonious in flavor. The crispy oyster mushrooms was a good contrast in texture to the branzino, and the rice was perfect for soaking up some of that delightful ponzu sauce.

Last, but certainly by far not the least, was dessert. Once I saw this option on the menu, I didn't even consider looking at anything else. Warm chocolate cake. As you can probably tell by now, I'm a huge sucker for chocolate. Served with a scoop of ice cream, you say? Well. I think you just found the key to my heart.

warm chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream
and candied popcorn

The presentation for this dessert was not as extravagant as I'd expected. But it really didn't matter, because the cake and ice cream were destroyed within seconds of the waiter putting the plate down on the table. 

I didn't realize how much chocolate fudge and hot caramel sauce was in that thing until I punctured it with my fork. The cake was ridiculously gooey; I think the inside may have been slightly undercooked (probably deliberately) because the texture was almost pudding-like. Which, in my opinion, made it so much better! The ice cream was insanely good as well, though perhaps a little too sweet for me. And it melted too fast, but I got just enough to go along with the cake. Not the biggest advocate of caramel popcorn, but props to Lure for the unique idea. But oh my god this dessert was fabulous. Probably added enough sugar in my system to last me a week. But divine nonetheless.

Something that I was not entirely pleased with, however, was the service. The whole time, I felt as though my friend and I were being rushed through our meal. Like, the waiters were hovering around our table just waiting to take away our plates and put down the next one. This was bothersome because 1) who likes to be watched while eating? And 2) it's a little hard to have a conversation when one is rushing to finish his or her food. Minor detail, though.

Overall, I was very satisfied with Lure Fishbar as my second summer RW pick and was a happy camper walking out of the boat-restaurant. I would definitely come back again. Perhaps next time, as an older and more experienced food connoisseur (um yes, I do wish to have this title someday), I will be brave enough to try some of those oysters!

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