New York, NY10036
Times Square this past Friday was packed, as usual. Mimes and topless women and dance troupes and buskers of all typed vied for attention as tens of thousands of people wandered aimlessly, soaking in the neon and the noise. But in this morass of people, two people had a purpose. A destination. Dinner. Tourists and traffic and Tickle Me Elmo be damned, they weren't missing their reservation just because a few folks from Somewhereelseville wanted to take selfies with a person in gold bodypaint. Emma and I all but jogged single file, in zig-zag formation, around every type of person humanity has to offer, from the R train subway station uptown to Blue Fin.
Blue Fin is a sprawling, upscale Asian fusion seafood restaurant located at the W Hotel. Its first floor is a cozy, relaxed bar where I could imagine escaping the bustle of the city for lunch if I was here on vacation and my non-existent wife and even-less-existent kids wanted to say hi to the street performers while I ate and had a cocktail. Up the glass-lined staircase lies the main dining area and that's where Emma and I were seated. We were given a huge booth and a loaf of bread, ordered some drinks, and took a little time to soak in the menu.
The vast, vast majority of Asian fusion restaurants go out of their way to be trendy. It's almost like there's a law requiring them to give off clubby vibes. They have to be the kind of place where people who just turned 21 - who had spent their whole college lives drinking blue and green cocktails made from the bottled mixers you see in the supermarket - would feel like, despite an emoji tattoo and despite totes spending their whole meal on Snapchat or Instagram ("Check the cray manbun by bae has!"), they're hundo p grownups. Blue Fin is more refined... though there was a dude there with a manbun. There's no dress code, per se, but everyone was dressed nicely. I wore jeans and a collared shirt. Emma had an LBD. We fit in just fine. No one looked they had just rolled out of bed or was dressed like they had just come from a Yankees game. Like all but a select few restaurants these days, the dress code is simply: don't be a bum.
Emma ordered the Tuna Tartare as her starter, diced raw tuna in yuzu juice with ginger, Japanese chili pepper, and lotus root chips. The tartare was perfect; slightly tart and the consistency of Jello, as it should be. The chips and pepper basically served as decoration. I for one couldn't taste any spice and the chips were the definition of flavorless. But they look nice and plating matters. For my appetizer, I ordered the Red Hot Lobster Maki Roll, a lobster roll with avocado and topped with salmon and a spicy creamy sauce that they term "Chile bean sauce"... but which I don't think exists... mostly because Chile beans don't exist. I suppose that it's possible they meant chili beans, but that would imply a can of Bush's. Let's reword this. By "Chile", they meant chili; by "bean", they meant pepper; and by "sauce", they meant aioli. Regrettable typos notwithstanding, the roll was excellent. Emma scraped off the aioli because she found it too hot, but I enjoyed it.
For my entree, I ordered Prime Filet Mignon Tataki, a filet mignon, cooked medium rare, sliced and served sushi roll style beside their Japanese eggplant salad. The steak was very good. Butter tender and with a little bite from a slight pepper crust. My only complaint was that it was a little cool. Cool as in not-quite-warm, like it had been finished before Emma's entree was ready and sat in the kitchen for too long. The salad was good if you like baked eggplant dishes, which I personally am indifferent towards. Also I'm slightly allergic to eggplant and it makes the back of my throat itch. I still ate it, because I'm not going to let the food win. Emma went for the Miso-Yake Chilean Sea Bass. This dish was the winner of the night. The fish was amazing. Under its miso-yaki glaze (sugar, mirin, and miso), it couldn't have been cooked more perfectly or been more tender than it was. If you enjoy light but hearty, rich and slightly sweet fish entrees, then this should absolutely be your choice. Sharing the plate was a green tea noodle salad with edamame and asparagus. The noodle salad was pretty good, but next to the fish, all but forgotten.
For dessert, I ordered the Yuzu Panna Cotta, a tart panna cotta (yuzu is similar to lemon) topped with raspberries, blackberries, and a sweet sesame brittle candy. Perfect. All it needed was an espresso, but I was still on my wine. Emma ordered the Trio of Mochi, three rice cake dough balls filled with ice cream. From right to left in the photo they were Strawberry which Emma liked the most by far, green tea, which was sweet with the slight hint of green tea dry bitterness, and Mango, which Emma tried to eat but failed because it was still frozen solid as a rock. She attempted to warm it some by cupping her hands to create a little igloo dome, but to no avail.
So in conclusion, Emma and I had a great time overall, and were glad we went. The atmosphere was great, from the very polite and warm staff, to the chic decor and all of its hundreds of little lights glimmering like stars. It was neither too loud to have a conversation, nor so quiet that it felt awkward to talk. The food was, on average, excellent, as it should be for the restaurant's price point. However, there were a few missteps, such as my a-little-too-cold steak and Emma's frozen solid dessert. And finally, though we did order each dish with a wine pairing, there was no coordination of that and the wine just came whenever our current glass emptied. It was slightly annoying, but truth be told, I was so relaxed eating here that beyond mentioning it here, I can't really complain. Others will though, I am sure.
Our meal, cocktails and two pre-fix dinners with wine came to about $225 before tip.