Recently the Accidental Locavore was invited to try out the (new to me) Seafire Grill. It’s a big room on East 48th Street. When you enter, there’s a large, active bar to your right and a long dining room behind that. We were warmly greeted by Aron the manager, sporting a good-looking pink tie.
Even though it was a Wednesday night in the summer, the bar and restaurant were packed, with large parties enjoying themselves. That didn’t keep the service from being perfectly attentive, a sign of a well-run restaurant.
When you sit down, a basket of flatbread crackers and focaccia arrive at the table with the house specialty — a very tasty whitefish spread. It had a nice smoky flavor, which distracted from the slightly stale focaccia.
The wine list is extensive and interesting, with plenty of selections, both red and white, at all price points. We decided on a lovely Sancerre from the list of half bottles.
What’s interesting about Seafire Grill is that it’s run like a steak house. Large, generally unadorned portions of seafood can be complimented by a host of side dishes and vegetables. While several of the dishes have an Asian flair, there’s nothing “weird” on the menu — it’s all pretty straight-forward.
Our self-imposed ground rules were that we couldn’t order the same thing so we could taste as many different dishes as two people could. We started out with the tuna tartare and oysters Rockefeller. The tuna came on a bed of seaweed salad which was a little sweet, but the tuna was perfectly fresh and nicely prepared. Oysters Rockefeller are a pretty traditional dish, but every now and then they hit the spot and these certainly did! The addition of some pink peppercorns gave the well-prepared oysters a nice punch.
After a short debate as to whether swordfish was still on the do-not-eat list (if it’s American it’s okay) my friend had the Montauk swordfish. It came with two sauces, one an avocado, similar to a guacamole, and a Seafire version of a remoulade. Again, it was a perfectly cooked piece of fish, well-spiced and enhanced with the avocado sauce.
We were encouraged to order some vegetables and since kale always sounds too healthy, we went with the asparagus. It was billed as having black truffles and Parmesan (definitely not as virtuous as the kale). Five average-sized spears came to the table. Sadly there was no sense of either truffle or Parmesan — just some balsamic-colored sauce with no discernible flavor.
If you’re not a fish lover, there are plenty of meat options, including a good variety of steaks and surf & turf, if you’re really on the fence.
Desserts were tempting, with a good selection of the classics (cheesecake, crème brûlée, molten chocolate cake) to what looked like a nice trip of cheeses but we were way too full from the generous portions to indulge.
The night we were there it was pretty noisy, but there were two large tables behind us which probably created the din. We both remarked that the wait-staff was exactly attentive enough — a delicate balancing act, especially as it got busier and busier. Prices are what you would expect for midtown, with all the fish being pristine and perfectly cooked.
I’d like to thank both Aron and Alex, Seafire Grill’s managers, for a lovely dinner and Janet, for putting it all together.