Very nice meal at Park Slope's The Minnow which is in the ground floor of a brownstown on Ninth Street just below Seventh Avenue. Spare but attractive place. The tables are fairly close together, but the prices are commensurately good. We started with a plate of fried squid and octopus served with three sauces--tartar, cocktail and Russian dressing. Very tasty. I moved on to a warm lobster cocktail, a smallish serving (but a good value at $10) of perfectly cooked lobster meat with a nice sauce. So often lobster served out of the shell tastes like it was cooked three days ago and held in the fridge since then. Not this. My friend had a good green salad, no mean feat.
My friend's skate served with a haddock-potato cake was a winner. My sea bass was not. It was billed as "roasted whole sea bass with a saffron pilaf" and I was expecting a toasty, slightly charred whole fish, which I would have the pleasure of eviscerating. But this guy had been boned through the back so his flesh hadn't the opportunity to be cooked on the bone, and he certainly had not been roasted as his skin was moist and steamy. It was a nice piece of fish, but not really any more interesting than two filets. The pilaf was tasty, if not overy saffrony.
There were only three desserts on the menu and the most interesting one (apple-pear tart) was already gone when our meal ended so we just had coffee. (We didn't feel either like chocolate pudding parfait of pumpkin flan.) This puzzled us since press reports said the chef's wife was a pastry chef.
Service was uneven. Some waitresses were lovely, others seemed a bit ornery. And there are obviously kinks that need working out--like the lack of desserts, or the really substandard bread that the manager was parcelling out to patrons who asked for it. (?!?)
The wine list was interesting and wildly reasonable. I was drinking overfilled glasses of the Bonny Doon reisling for $6. They had glasses for $5! I don't know if that's going to last.
Apps topped out at $10; many entrees were below $20. The lapses we experienced were certainly understandable given the restaurant had only been open a few days. And when the chef came around we talked to him about some of our gripes--the "roasted" fish, the bread--and he assured us that these would be rectified. I got a good feeling for the restaurant and will certainly be back.