New York City’s floating restaurant situation is improving, thanks to two new boats serving food and bobbing in the Hudson River, the North River Lobster Co. and the fine vessel you see here, Grand Banks. Here’s one thing we’ve learned this summer - people get really excited about boats. I’m not sure this island has had so much interest around the arrival of a sea craft since the Dutch showed up in 1665 and established the city’s first Le Pain Quotidien.
Speaking of settlers, Grand Banks is captained by an explorer in his own right, Mark Firth, who, according to the boat’s website is a “pioneer of the Brooklyn food renaissance.” Mark was one of the founders of the much beloved group of restaurants that include Diner and Marlow and Sons. His conquest of Williamsburg is a significant one, and our lives are all better today because of it. I can’t wait to see what he does with Tribeca. Hopefully he treats the natives humanely.
We recently visited Grand Banks to meet our new future ruler and eat the oysters he has brought with him from wherever this boat originated. Our first impression was that Grand Banks isn’t really a restaurant. It’s more of a skiff with booze and raw seafood on it. It’s also much smaller than what we expected to find after all that fanfare, sort of like if the Queen Mary just ended up being a nicely appointed tug boat. I guess we were just expecting something bigger.
Either way, Grand Banks is a fun little spot with really good oysters and other small plates, and some good drinks to match. The crew are really nice and the views are beautiful, which is probably why you come to eat things on a boat tied up to a pier, rather than a restaurant on land. However, now that we’ve seen it, I can’t say that we feel the need to come back. There are lots of other places to get oysters in this town, and we get motion sick easy. I guess we just weren’t cut out for life at sea.
The oysters at Grand Banks are really good. They’re all as fresh as you’d expect seafood on a boat to be, and they’ve been expertly shucked. Our only complaint is that we ordered two dozen and they sort of skimped on the mingionette. That also might have had to do with the rough waters that night. Either way, they’re on of about five things on this menu, so you should be eating them.
Nice, lightly fried veggies. One of the only hot items on the menu, if you’re into that sort of thing.
We really liked the ceviche at Grand Banks, and it sure is pretty. Order it.
These oysters are baked with shallot marmalade, bacon, lemon, and parsley, and they taste really good. We wished they were a little bit hotter, but then no we didn’t because it’s probably better if this boat doesn’t have fire on it.