As an upmarket fish shack, Ed's Chowder House is nothing special, according to famdoc and others. As a five-course prix-fixe showcase for its chef, Ed Brown (Eighty One, Sea Grill), it's a seafood-lover's destination on summer Tuesdays.
famdoc's dinner started with a glass of Prosecco and two amuse-bouches: minced squid on toast (freely replenished) and an oyster with green apple, habanero, and watermelon juice. Among the courses that followed, the big winner was fragrant, supple scallop ravioli with chervil and a Jura Vin Jaune sauce. A good-sized soft-shell crab was breaded and fried crisp, and served with green papaya and honey mustard. Poached wild king salmon came with soybean purée and a tomato mint salad. The only miss was pepper-crusted seared tuna (with foie gras, bacon, corn, and tarragon), a preparation that famdoc found dated. Overall, though, he writes that this is "a very pleasant summer evening": a generous, well-prepared feast; a chance to chat with the chef, who works the room and talks about the menu; and, at $55, one of Manhattan's best high-end deals. (An additional $40 buys well-chosen wine pairings that included a Saint Roch rosé from Provence with the salmon, Stonestreet "Broken Road" Alexander Valley Chardonnay with the ravioli, and a Roûmieu-Lacoste Sauternes with dessert.)
Ed's Back Room Dinners, as they're called, continue at 7:30 every Tuesday through August 17. There's room for just 25 people each night, and reservations are required.
Ed's Chowder House [Upper West Side]
44 W. 63rd Street (between Broadway and Columbus Avenue), Manhattan