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Would you eat fish and chips made from a poisonous sea creature?

Emma Orlow
Written by
Emma Orlow

Similar to Gallow Green (from the team behind Sleep No More), Fine & Rare restaurant and bar has a knack for theatrics. Restaurateur Tommy Tardie (who also owns Flatiron Room), offers a peek into an imagined Old New York at his Midtown East spot: Live jazz, tags customized for tables on the spot using blacksmith techniques, and even private lockers for patrons who want to buy a bottle and keep it on-site for later use. There are midcentury-style Chesterfield sofas, Art Deco design flourishes, 100-year-old floorboards from an old mill and even vintage teller windows from the nearby Grand Central Terminal. And now, the performance extends to the menu. 

Launching this week, a new item joins the lunch menu prepared by Chef Philip Sireci: a fish-and-chips dish made from poisonous scorpion fish. We'd never even heard of scorpion fish!

According to the team, "Many Scorpion fish have brightly colored pectoral fins that they flash at possible predators, warning them of their venom. The Reef Stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa) is the most venomous fish in the world. The venom in their dorsal spines is toxic enough to kill a human being if medical treatment is not sought." But the team isn't that worried about the liability (what? no rights waivers to be signed?) Once dead, the needles are extracted, making the fish "safe to consume." But that doesn't mean our anxiety levels wouldn't be running high anyway. 

If the potential venom wasn't playing a risky enough game, the scorpion fish is dipped in beer batter and served deep-fried with scorpion chili dusted fries and aioli, made from Trinidad Scorpion pepper (considered to be "475 times hotter than jalapeños"). So not only is it made from a poisonous sea creature, there's also mouth-scorching heat to fear as well. Would you try this risky dish for $28?

The squeamish have been warned! Still, we can't help but wonder if the Fine & Rare team is creating menu clickbait, or if the death-defying fish and chips, is actually better than the British classic. You'll have to let us know. 

The scorpion fish and chips will be available every Tuesday – Friday from 12pm – 2:30pm.

Fine & Rare is located at 9 E 37th St , New York, NY 10016. 

Looking for more secret things to do in NYC? We've got you covered.

Photograph: Courtesy Ben Hider

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