On our radar: Grand Banks + North River Lobster Company

Charting cocktails on the Hudson

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  • Paul Wagtouicz

    Grand Banks

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    The Montenegro Royale, Negroni Sbagliato and Engine Room at Grand Banks

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    Montenegro Royale at Grand Banks

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    Negroni Sbagliato at Grand Banks

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    Baked oysters at Grand Banks

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    North River Lobster Company

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    The Fog on the Hudson, High Tide and Batten Down the Hatches at North River Lobster Company

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    Fish tacos at North River Lobster Company

  • Paul Wagtouicz

    North River Lobster Company

Paul Wagtouicz

Grand Banks

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5


By the peak of summer even New York’s most venerable boat bars have become flooded with frat-tastic curios, all watered-down brews and Lonely Island references. This season, a new pair of anchors drops in the Hudson, offering grown-up alternatives to that bustling sea of bros: Grand Banks, the historic schooner turned oyster bar captained by Mark Firth (Marlow & Sons), and North River Lobster Company, a former Florida gambling ship rejiggered with New England charm for fast-casual cruises out of Pier 81. Bid farewell to plastic chairs and “I’m on a boat!” sing-alongs—it’s only smooth sailing from here.

ORDER THIS: Small plates outshine the cocktails at Grand Banks: Pass on the lager-based Engine Room ($16), which hits too hard on the ginger, and instead opt for a white-wine Sherman’s Cup ($16) with fresh berries. The waitstaff runs like a well-groomed crew, outfitted in navy striped shirts, delivering baked oysters in shallot marmalade ($18) and bacon-flecked fluke crudo ($17). North River’s seafood is less impressive—avoid the dry-to-the-core fish tacos—but the cocktails are better balanced: The vodka-spiked High Tide ($12) is an amped-up Arnold Palmer, swirled with a hint of sweet peach in bitter black tea.

GOOD FOR: Blowing out-of-towners out of the water. Though docked at amenity-rich Pier 25, Grand Banks sits belowdecks on the elegant Sherman Zwicker for an out-to-sea feel, but with the glittering World Trade Center and potlighted Statue of Liberty still in sight. A more relaxed route is mapped aboard North River, with guests huddling at blond-wood picnic tables to watch the river stretch under the George Washington Bridge and beyond upper Manhattan.

THE CLINCHER: At Grand Banks, two brass-tapped bars flank the bow and mizzen-mast, offering prime seating even without reservations, while the yellow-and-white-striped awning and business-casual crowd hint at the Hamptons without diving deep into bourgie-dom. North River undocks for 30-minute jaunts on the Hudson: the ride feels leagues away from the city, making it easy to lose track of time—and your cocktail count.

Grand Banks, Pier 25, Hudson River Park between West St and the Hudson River (212-960-3390).

North River Lobster Company, Pier 81, W 41 St at the Hudson River (212-630-8831).


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