We've got a bone to pick with the BLT franchise and their fish establishments. We didn't totally rip BLT Fish in our initial review, but it's definitely an extremely underwhelming and overpriced restaurant. We had remembered liking their less expensive, laid back Fish Shack more, but a recent trip has changed our minds. It's a shame too, because that menu is right up our alley - fried fish sandwiches, oysters and beers are a few of our favorite things. But I had a feeling there could be a problem after reaching out to my buddy who lives across the street to find out his favorite thing to get here. His response was, "food poisoning." Oh boy.
Now that's obviously more humor than anything else, but I have to say, that lobster roll made us sick to our stomach. I like to consider myself a connoisseur of such delicacies, and BLT Fish Shack's roll is one of the worst I've ever had. It came out looking like chunky lobster chowder on a bun, with aggressive and peculiar seasonings. All that and it's $26. This thing wins the distinguished award of bring the only lobster roll to ever survive a date with this guy. At the end of the meal, all that remained was half a lobster roll, left on the plate, passed over by an entire table of seafood lovers. That's a sad situation.
We're being a little harsh here, and the reality is that BLT Fish Shack on the whole isn't THAT bad, but it should be better. The majority of the raw bar and appetizers will get the job done, but we just can't stop thinking about that awful lobster roll. After another sour experience with their fish establishments, we've decided that the BLT crew might just want to stick with steak.
BLT Fish Shack has one of the biggest and most complete raw bars in all of Manhattan. In the mood for crab? Choose from Jonah, Alaskan King or Dungeness. Clams? You can have either Littleneck or Topneck. There are also periwinkles, whelks and pretty much anything else from the sea that tastes good on ice. We've certainly had some nice crab and lobster selections in the past, but overall the quality and presentation could be better. Our most recent sampling of oysters, a combination of Kumamoto, Wellfleet and Spinney Creek, tasted fine but looked a little strange, like they were matted down in the shells and weren't sucked very well.Tuna Vegetable Tartare
A nice sized helping of raw tuna with an assortment of vegetables, but this pales in comparison to the tuna tartare dishes we've become accustomed to at BLT Prime and BLT Steak.Steamed Mussels with Fries
These are the best thing on the Fish Shack menu, hands down. We're freaks about mussels around here and give these our seal of approval. These come served in a white wine sauce with onion and other goodness. It could use a little more garlic, but on this menu, we're not complaining.Crispy Fish Tacos
A nice helping of fish tacos in soft tortillas, but nothing worth coming for. We're not sure what exactly is crispy about these as they're a bit of a sloppy mess, and the fried fish is smothered in some kind of green spicy sauce that isn't good.Lobster Roll
Epic fail. Read above. It's so embarrassing that I even mis-tweeted its photo (meant to tweet the crispy fish tacos, but this slop was dying to show its face). At least they were playing a good tune.BLT Tuna Sandwich
The table next to ours was eating this and it looked like a slam dunk. Wrong. Hard boiled egg slices on a seared tuna sandwich? No thanks. We had a couple bites of this and that was enough. We did, however, eat every french fry that came with this. Fish Shack does do some damn good fries.
It's no popover, but this garlic bread is a pretty great way to start off a meal. Respect to BLT for always making a good first impression with their table bread.