Best seafood dishes in New York City in 2013

This year’s best seafood in NYC includes bong-hit oysters, outré fish and chips, and a crazy-decadent tuna tartare.

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This year saw a wave of stellar seafood dishes splash into New York City. And the fresh catch was deliciously diverse: Whole-fried fish at a Filipino canteen, bong-hit oysters at a Latin ceviche bar and bountiful seafood stew at a celeb-baiting Italian trattoria. Feast your eyes on these aquatic delights.

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  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Acqua pazza for two at Rosemary’s

    Turning more heads than the spot’s famous diners (Beyoncé and Jay Z, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow), this unabashedly bountiful seafood platter comes with everything but the kitchen sink: plump pink shrimp, inky-black mussels, flaky striped bass, al dente slips of squid and preserved-lemon potatoes. The tumble of food is stewed in Italian “crazy water,” a vibrant white-wine-and-garlic sauce perfumed with sweet fennel and poppy hot chilies. 18 Greenwich Ave at 10th St (212-647-1818, rosemarysnyc.com). $55.—Christina Izzo

  • Photograph: Loren Wohl

    Dampa fry at Jeepney

    Gather your crew for this Southeast Asian stunner—an impressively bronzed whole fried fish. Chef Miguel Trinidad pays tribute to Filipino neighborhood markets, marinating the sea creature—often snapper—for six hours in soy sauce, ginger and garlic. It’s dredged in cornstarch before taking a bath in bubbling oil. The deep-fried feat—succulent flesh hidden underneath a thick crispy sheath—gets a scattering of blistered cayenne chilies and a pool of sweet-sour escabeche sauce. 201 First Ave between 12th and 13th Sts (212-533-4121, jeepneynyc.com). $MP.—Laren Spirer

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    Bong-smoked oysters at Desnuda

    MacGyvered from a corner-store soda bottle and head-shop bowl, the makeshift gravity bong Dominic Martinez uses to smoke unsuspecting bivalves looks like a frat-house curio, but the flavor it delivers is full-grown. Hotboxed inside lidded glass dishes with smoldering pulls of Lapsang souchong tea and Szechuan peppercorns, the ocean-sweet mollusks take on mesquite-barbecue notes, jolted with a vital hit of lemon. 221 South 1st St at Roebling St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-387-0563, desnudany.com). Four for $18.—Christina Izzo

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Skate on the wing at Charlie Bird

    Flat, fan-shaped skate wings seldom reach restaurant plates still attached to their rakelike cartilage, but Ryan Hardy’s pan-roasted rendition embraces the whole beast. “Bone”-in cooking preserves the moisture of the delicate flesh, which shreds apart like low-and-slow pulled pork. A final basting of butter and rosemary browns the fish and laces it with an intoxicating nuttiness typically reserved for creatures of the land. 5 King St between MacDougal St and Sixth Ave (212-235-7133, charliebirdnyc.com). $27. —Daniel S. Meyer

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Grilled whole scallop with uni at Neta

    Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau’s jaw-dropper of a small plate is as decadent as it is stunning: The sweet, cubed Boston bivalve is tossed back into its pearly seashell and crowned with luscious tongues of Santa Barbara sea urchin and garlic-shoyu butter before getting a quick sear on the grill. With wild mitsuba (Japanese parsley) and lime adding brightness, it takes restraint not to lick the shell clean. 61 W 8th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-505-2610, netanyc.com). $18.—Christina Izzo

  • Photograph: Dominic Perri

    Cha ca catfish at Nightingale 9

    Northern Vietnam meets the American South in Robert Newton’s take on Hanoi’s iconic cha ca la vong: Atop a tangle of vermicelli noodles—rife with pickley dill and scallions—lie golden hunks of sizzling, turmeric-charged catfish, battered to a Kentucky-fried crispiness. Crushed North Carolina peanuts echo the crunch, and vinegary nuoc cham (lime-infused fish sauce) acts as an acidic foil to the main event. 345 Smith St between Carroll and 2nd Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (347-689-4699, nightingale9.com). $12.—Christina Izzo

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Acqua pazza for two at Rosemary’s

Turning more heads than the spot’s famous diners (Beyoncé and Jay Z, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow), this unabashedly bountiful seafood platter comes with everything but the kitchen sink: plump pink shrimp, inky-black mussels, flaky striped bass, al dente slips of squid and preserved-lemon potatoes. The tumble of food is stewed in Italian “crazy water,” a vibrant white-wine-and-garlic sauce perfumed with sweet fennel and poppy hot chilies. 18 Greenwich Ave at 10th St (212-647-1818, rosemarysnyc.com). $55.—Christina Izzo


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