I have a question for you. If you could only eat one meal from a restaurant in your city for the rest of your life - do you know what dish you would choose?
For me, it's a pretty easy choice - the Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad from The Meatball Shop with veggie meatballs and pesto. Why? It's consistently amazing, constantly changing, full of vegetables and the price is more than right.
The man behind The Meatball Shop, Michael Chernow, is a bonafide restaurateur and entrepreneur. The mini-chain now has 6 locations serving their signature meatballs and ice cream sandos in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In fact, investors have shown an interest in buying TMS and expanding it further.
But Chernow, a co-owner, recently ventured out of the realm of fast-casual Italian and into the land (or sea) of fresh fish with the opening of Seamore's in the summer of 2015.
I was more than excited to check this spot out for my sister's birthday, especially because I love The Meatball Shop so very much.
There was about a half hour wait at 7:40 p.m. on a Monday night. In the summer's, Seamore's has "Montauk Monday's," serving up fish caught on Long Island and Montauk brews.
Like The Meatball Shop, Seamore's will take your phone number and text you when your table is ready so you're free to wander the area or grab a drink at a nearby bar, which is nice.
Our waitress was personable and did her best, but it needs to be mentioned that the service at Seamore's wasn't ideal.
First, it took ages to get our first round of drinks. Then, they were out of the bottle of wine we ordered. Next, they were out of the veggie burger we ordered. We waited well over an hour for our food. Finally, they forgot our fries and we were finished eating by the time they came out.
Clearly, these issues were not the server's fault, but they were frustrating incidents nonetheless.
Located steps from the entrance to Little Italy, this Nolita restaurant is trendy in all senses of the word. It's bright, white and airy with modern touches, a seaside vibe and lots of mint green and teal accents. There are a mix of communal and private tables.
My sister and her friends were obsessing over the playlist in the way that 21 year old's do when "OMG THIS IS OUR SONG" comes on at the bar.
Seamore's was LOUD. Loud to the point where we were having trouble communicating with our waitress at some points.
ponzu, peanut, avocado
We started with the poke appetizer which came served with bland, unsalted tortilla chips. The poke itself was OK and a good size, though it seemed to be missing seasoning of any sort. I think we were all a little disappointed, despite being starving.
I typically steer clear or hot avocado - it's a weird taste aversion. I love avocado, but not when it's warm. That being said, apparently when it's coated in batter and deep fried to greasy kingdom come - I don't mind the taste.
Get these if you're looking for a good grease fix - not if you're looking to savor the taste of avocado.
SEARED FISH TACOS
black bean sauce, lettuce, pico, avocado, crema
I am about to make a very bold statement here - this was one of my favorite tacos EVER. And I've had my share of phenomenal tacos (Taco Deli in Austin, Los Tacos in Chelsea Market and the veggie taco at Cascabel in NYC all deserve shout outs).
What was so great about this taco was the fact that the fish tasted so fresh and despite being a light fish, the flavor of it wasn't overwhelmed by the accouterments. Also, corn tortillas. A must have for any stellar taco.
These were by far the highlight of the meal and I would take a trip back to try their other taco options.
THE REEL DEAL
This is Seamore's version of the "Everything But the Kitchen Sink" salad from The Meatball Shop.
Each day, Seamore's features daily fish options (the "daily landing"), a daily vegetable, a daily grain or mash and a daily green.
The Reel Deal allows diners to pick a daily landing and a sauce that comes with all three sides of the day (a vegetable, grain/mash and green). The best part, it's $23! Quite the deal for fresh fish at a trendy Nolita restaurant. Chernow keeps costs low by partnering with local fisherman through "Dock to Dish" and "Sea to Table." You won't find tuna steaks and salmon on Seamore's menu - but you'll find locally caught sustainable options like Bluefish, Monkfish and Hake (the specials on the night I visited).
We opted for the bluefish with the Romesco sauce (other choices are lemongrass aji, red curry, miso brown butter and charred scallion) along with the daily sides of sauteed spinach with garlic, roasted and pickled beets and farro with tomatoes and green olives.
I was disappointed with the flavor of the bluefish and underwhelmed with the Romesco sauce. The spinach didn't seem particularly fresh. Overall, I wasn't really a fan despite really wanting to love the Reel Deal as much as I love it's Meatball Shop counterpart.
SWEET POTATO FRIES
These were worth the wait - when they came out they were hot out the fryer - perfectly crispy with just the right amount of salt. I went to town on these bad boys.
VEGAN SOFT SERVE ICE CREAM
For all the troubles with service our server threw in a free ice cream (complete with candle for the birthday girl).
Seamore's doesn't serve just any old ice cream. They've partnered with OddFellows Ice Cream to create a vegan soft serve ice cream that's constantly a new flavor - we sampled the coconut and while it was clearly not "real" ice cream - it was creamy and refreshing with a strong coconut flavor.
Is it just me, or are sprinkles stupid? Sure they look pretty but they taste like wax.
I would come back to Seamore's for the ambiance and to give their tacos another try - along with their salads topped with fresh fish. Their menu is great for vegetarians and vegans with plenty of options for those of the gluten-free persuasion as well.
Though the prices are fair, don't come here expecting the bill to be cheap - with appetizers and drinks we each paid $50 for our meals. This makes the issues with service and not having items that we asked for even more frustrating (and unacceptable given the restaurant has been open for almost a year).
Despite being a fan of Chernow's, I wasn't the biggest fan of Seamore's. At the end of the day, I'm much more likely to make a return visit to The Meatball Shop and stick to eating my seafood dinners when I'm home on Long Island.