It set sail in April 2004 with a nautical decor that looks a bit like the inside of a yacht or, because of the riblike, wooden ceiling beams, the belly of a whale. Chef Belinda Berr’s menu is rooted largely in Europe—Sardinian tuna tartare, Catalonian seafood salad, black bass en papillote—but American regional and Asian accents also appear. Things started off a little shakily: The menu description of grilled calamari ceviche promised a kick that wasn’t quite delivered, and tea-smoked salmon was overwhelmed by four Day-Glo lumps of flying-fish roe and jarring flavors like wasabi and red chili. But service is attentive, and matters had improved significantly by the arrival of the entrées. Roasted bass has unexpected kick, and bouillabaisse, with generous heaps of squid, shrimp, mussels and scallops, is just about flawless. Aqua seems likely to find its sea legs.
174 Smith St
|Cross street:||between Warren and Wyckoff Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 6–11pm; Fri, Sat 6pm–midnight|
|Transport:||Subway: F, G to Bergen St|
|Price:||Average main course: $18. AmEx, MC, V|