looking for some seafood place that was not Mermaid Inn, had good prices, and offered deliciousness, and Prima did not disappoint. It's a small but attractive space with horrible acoustics and loud diners so be prepared to scream, especially if you ate at 8:30 on a Friday night like I did but truly delicious food. For two, we had a really simple meal:
+ the Strada ($65 raw bar dual-tier platter)
+ Arctic Char
We originally wanted the octopus salad, the skate, and maybe the fried hake sandwich but after the raw platter came, we nixed the rest of the order and our server graciously complied. we also had some tasty cocktails (alcoholic as well as virgin). no dessert. The Strada was the small so I am scared of what the big one (Prima, $95) consists of because it was a ton of raw (and chilled seafood), all delicious:
- half a lobster was perfectly cooked, flavored, dusted with fine salt and slathered on one end with aioli. a delight. claw was good too and I even went all chinese on the legs; delightful.
- whelks (big boys) were tasty, lightly flavored
- crab claw which I am not usually a fan of was great
- shrimp were not as good as the lobster but, good texture. needed salt
- a dozen oysters (2 of each variety offered that night, pretty much all good, and all quite different)
- raw clams were (as usual) not as good as raw oysters
- a ton of mussels cooked in some delicious broth; some slightly overcooked but really good
- literally, 50-60 snails/periwinkles in the ice. tasty, good with the accompanying sauces, but we tired of them after a dozen each
- ceviche of the day was mackerel; truly delicious with nice mackerel flavor shining through a simple olive oil ceviche (not too much acid)
- fluke sashimi was yuzu flavored and really yummy
- good brown bread, great butter
- sauces were ok; I mostly stuck with the aioli cuz their cocktail sauce and mignonette were so-so
- arctic char was perfection in seafood although the crispy skin was really hard to cut and separated from the fish. pre-cut before the sear would have alleviated that problem. accompanying green sauce was far from chermoula or anything like that and unexpectedly good (no emulsification)
total bill was $140 all told with couple drinks, tax/tip, etc. but completely kicking the ass of all other raw platters I've had before. service was great, scene was hip and a meal, truly enjoyed. It's located on 1st Street, about a half block west of First Ave (that weird little street just north of the 2nd Avenue F train exit by the park).
Definitely worth a return to try some of their less-virtuous dishes (burgers, fries, tempura, etc.) but as far as feeling really satisfied by a light meal, it's perfect. And their happy hour (5-7pm) is astounding with dollar oysters and twofer cocktails.
58 East 1st Street