Ah, the call of the sea! And by that I mean: what do you do when searching for a great seafood dining experience? In my wacky world, consisting mainly of uptown dining for foodies, my first thought is Atlantic Grill. I’ve been meaning to review this restaurant for a long time but considering that I recently dined there during restaurant week, I believe that the perfect time to discuss its outstanding cuisine is right about now:
1377 3rd Avenue between 76th and 77th street
New York, NY
4.25 stars out of 5 stars
Thoughts on Restaurant Week:
Even for a native New Yorker like myself, restaurant week offers a great opportunity to try some of the city’s best food at a discounted price. (Be wary, not all RW deals are created the same as this
The 3 keys to an excellent restaurant week meal? Research, research, research. Specifically, I have two rules:
- 1. I’m picky, no surprise, but many of these RW meals only offer 3 or 4 options per course so I sort through each menu online ahead of time to determine the winners.
My favorite stand-by, Primehouse, always seems to offer either a steak or steak sandwich and an amazing dessert. (Primehouse is also one of my favorite restaurants, in general, they were featured in my
- 2. Does the deal make sense? If an entree normally costs $15 then the $35 3-course meal is a waste of money.
And then there is the magic of the Atlantic Grill:
Every time I enter the Atlantic Grill, it feels like I’m in a big crowd of very classy people. (Side note: I keep forgetting that the bar takes up the front part of the restaurant which explains my initial impressions that the restaurant was packed.) Seriously, I just don’t learn, even at off-hours when I would expect a quiet restaurant I never find it which is a testament to how good the food is. The consistently nice staff helped me to the table, which was all the more difficult considering the multitude of people who showed up for the restaurant week lunch. I kept thinking that I recognized the music being played here but it was too subtle and low for me to identify. On one hand this kind of bothered me because when I hear a song I like to be able to immediately identify it, but overall the “sound track” was a nice touch. The bread basket arrived; it’s always the same predictable variety but it works: tasty enough to eat but not worthy of being described in length. (In other words 3.5 stars.)
For an appetizer, I started with a winter minestrone soup with a bean crostini. It was a cold January day so this warm and hearty soup hit the spot with a mix of tender vegetables and a crunchy and savory crostini in the middle. I’ve had better minestrone soups but I was quite pleased with this one (4 stars). Next, for the entree I split 2 dishes. The shrimp burger consisted of a delicious mix of fresh shrimp, bread crumbs, and a few secret spices. I was blown away by the concept and the product did not disappoint: crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside; it was perfectly executed but it didn’t compare to the second entree. (For those of you keeping score at home, the shrimp burger receives 4 stars) This next dish was “Casco bay cod with new England hash and manila clams”. It consisted of a pan seared cod filet with crispy skin, on top of a “new England hash” which tasted like potatoes and clams cooked in a seafood broth. It was the perfect dish for a wintery day in the city and I give credit where it is due. (The cod receives 4.5 stars!) And then there was the dessert, which for a chocoholic like myself was the highlight: double chocolate espresso bar with nutella ice cream! Listen, I don’t even like nutella and this dessert was fantastic; somehow they were able to extract the core flavors from nutella and turned it into a tasty ice cream. I don’t think I even need to describe the espresso bar, but for the record it was rich, with a deep chocolate flavor and provided me with just the slightest mocha buzz. If you know how great this restaurant is then you know they could only do this dessert justice. As you might be aware, my sweet tooth tends to get me into trouble!
The thing I love about restaurant week is that at times it offers excellent deals for dining establishments which would normally charge a great deal more for their dishes. Atlantic Grill is by no means inexpensive; I essentially received a free appetizer and dessert with this 3-course lunch. That being said, it was not my first time dining here by far, and despite the elevated cost of the food, I have rarely been dissatisfied in the past. Truth be told, I’ve been meaning to write about this place for a long time but this outstanding meal provided me with a timely opportunity to do so. Bottom line: in New York City, a metropolis of overpriced restaurants, Atlantic Grill is a shining star.