>> 4/8/11

31 Union Square West
New York, NY 10003
(212) 675-9500

Speeds' birthday was around the corner and since she wasn't planning to be in the city, let alone have a party, so I decided to take her to Blue Water Grill. We both like seafood, and should the name have failed to tip you off, that's what they do. If Blue Water Grill, with it's huge marble ionic columns, flowing blue flag and enough brass to rim a battleship creates the assumption that it's a pricey joint, then let me put that assumption to rest. It is. Appetizers average $15 and entrees average $28.

Blue Water Grill is an exemplar of the diversity of Union Square. Alongside the Union Square Cafe, it's about as traditional a dining experience as New York can offer. Meanwhile, Coffee Shop and Republic attract the young and the trendy. Between them all is McDonald's. The park is the home to a hundred starving artists selling paintings and legitimately-starving homeless selling nothing. The park is also home to the largest green-market in the city.

Blue Water Grill is huge. It's three floors and has live jazz every day. We got there relatively early, around 6:30 and they filled up almost completely by 8. Shockingly, this was on a Tuesday. It blows me away that restaurants which are far more affordable and which occupy a fraction of the real estate are dropping like flies across the city, but Blue Water Grill is still packing them in. Yet packing them in they were.

We started out with a half-dozen Oregon Kumamoto Oysters and a Lobster Bisque. Kumamoto oysters are small, very light, and just about salt-free. These are far removed from the large, briny east-coast oysters you find at most raw bars. The lobster bisque was excellent and would have been more so, except that it was served with these little leek and lobster beignets which really didn't belong. It tasted like a lobster-flavored dough ball... which is exactly what it was, and I could have done without them. I recommend the bisque, I just also happen to recommend picking these out.

My entree was the Sesame Crusted Big Eye Tuna with a tahini spinach and Asian pears in a miso broth. On the one hand, it was very good, on the other, the chef went a little overboard with the sesame crust miso soup that it sat in. Still, overall, quite good. Speeds ordered the Pecan Crusted Mahi-Mahi served with butternut squash, cavalero nero (which, on the menu was oddly misspelled as cavalnero) a spinach-like dark green vegetable in a pancetta sage vinaigrette. The cavalero was oddly dry, almost like a sheet of seaweed, which maybe was intentional, but I didn't care for it that way. Other than that, the mahi-mahi was excellent. It's a very mild fish and pairing it with the butternut squash puree could either be viewed as either overpowering its flavor or as a much-needed accompaniment.

For dessert we split the Warm Molten Chocolate Cake, which came crowned by a malt crunch ice cream, which was fantastic; like eating an ice cream made from the crispy part of a Nestle Crunch bar. Meanwhile, the cake, which was closer to a brownie in texture than to cake and which bled across the plate, was just what I wanted with my coffee to round out the meal. It wasn't too sweet or too dark, too rich or too light. It was probably the best chocolate cake I've had this year.

A half-dozen oysters, a soup, two entrees, two drinks, two coffees and a dessert, plus tax, plus tip, totaled $153.

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