There’s been a sea change at Mrs. Fish, Downtown’s former funky subterranean nightclub. What was once bathed in blue light, loud curtains and live music recently respawned as a full-fledged—and much more sophisticated—concept that’s ditched the disco ball and traded singles mixers for sushi.
When guests enter past the street-level bouncer and descend into the basement—which happens to sit 15-or-so floors below Perch, owned by the same proprietors—they’ll follow the same curved staircase and find Mrs. Fish’s familiar black-and-white checkered floor, not to mention that show-stopping 5,500-gallon saltwater fish tank suspended from the ceiling. From there, it’s all a departure.
The main dining room
The lighting is softer, warmer and immediately more peaceful. There’s a nine-seat sushi bar right off the entrance, and should you trace the countertop around the bend—and under that fabulous fish tank—you’ll find the gold-stooled cocktail bar, complete with special Suntory Toki highball machines calibrated to ultra-carbonate your Japanese whiskey drinks. The dining room now includes a large table situated directly below the tank—make your reservations for this one—in addition to more intimate, walnut tables scattered around the main floor. If you’re not sitting below the idling fish, you may be seated under the massive chandeliers that double as art installations.
Art plays a major part in Mrs. Fish’s retooling, and the new restaurant and bar also functions as somewhat of a gallery for its dozens of contemporary pieces hung around the space, all made by Japanese artists. A few booths framed by concrete in the main dining room sport more pop art. On this level there’s also a small bar-lounge area with couches—the new Mrs. Fish is nothing if not spacious, with nooks and booths and bars for a seemingly unlimited number of experiences to be had.
The omakase sushi bar is located upstairs.
Also off to the side of the main dining room floor is a Japanese whiskey bar, which is where the rare, single-malt bottles are kept. Pours such as the 21-year-old Hibki or Ichiro’s premium 30-year Komagatake can be ordered from anywhere in the restaurant, but when the restaurant gets crowded, Japanese whiskey enthusiasts might want to make their way to it, and ogle and sit near those bottles. On the second floor, above it all, is Mrs. Fish’s second sushi bar: an intimate five-seater that will offer a forthcoming omakase experience.
While the nightclub iteration of Mrs. Fish offered items like edamame, beef tataki and tuna in soy paper, the menu revamp is substantial. The sushi bar now stocks a full menu of traditional nigiri and creative house rolls—such as the Oshi Zushi, made with salmon, shiso, ikura, chive, yuzu kosho and chili garlic—with seafood sourced from Tsukiji fish market. There are also skewers, small plates and larger options, including uni pasta with lobster and bonito flakes, and beef short rib with Tokyo turnips. Drinks predictably incorporate Japanese ingredients as well, weaving yuzu, lychee, lemongrass and plum wine into cocktails to supplement the wine, beer, sake and shochu offerings.
Take a peek at what else you can expect from the new Mrs. Fish, then take the bait and stop by yourself:
Mrs. Fish is located at 448 S Hill St, open Tuesday to Thursday from 5:30 to 11pm, and Friday and Saturday 5:30pm to 1:15am.