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Home > Restaurants > Fishtail by David Burke

Fishtail by David Burke

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

135 E. 62nd St., New York, NY 10001 40.764474 -73.967088
nr. Lexington Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-754-1300 Send to Phone

  • Cuisine: Seafood
  • Price Range: $$$

    Key to Prices and ratings

    Upscale
    • Almost Perfect
    • Exceptional
    • Generally Excellent
    • Very Good
    • Good
    Cheap Eats
    • Best in Category
    • Excellent
    • Delicious
    • Very Good
    • Noteworthy
    • Very Expensive
    • Expensive
    • Moderate
    • Cheap
  • Critics' Rating: *

    Key to Prices and ratings

    Upscale
    • Almost Perfect
    • Exceptional
    • Generally Excellent
    • Very Good
    • Good
    Cheap Eats
    • Best in Category
    • Excellent
    • Delicious
    • Very Good
    • Noteworthy
    • Very Expensive
    • Expensive
    • Moderate
    • Cheap
  • Reader Rating:

    7 out of 10

      |  

    6 Reviews | Write a Review

Photo by Noah Sheldon

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Official Website

fishtaildb.com

Hours

Mon-Thu, 4pm-10pm; Fri, 4pm-11pm; Sat, 3pm-11pm; Sun, 3pm-9pm

Nearby Subway Stops

4, 5, 6 at 59th St.

Prices

$20-$39

Payment Methods

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Special Features

  • Dine at the Bar
  • Notable Chef

Alcohol

  • Full Bar

Reservations

Accepted/Not Necessary

Profile

David Burke is a virtuoso chef with a distinct, razzle-dazzle style, and at Fishtail he seeks to impose it on the delicate, dwindling world of seafood. The menu is a predictably dramatic document (fishtail by david burke is its headline), with many sections (eight, by my count) and a multitude of dishes with theatrical, forced-sounding names (monkfish “paella,” calamari mac and cheese, “Dry-Roasted Angry Mussels”). Some of these creations taste forced, too, and a few of them do not. The circumspect downtowners enjoyed Burke’s “Rice Crispy crab cake,” which is covered in crackly puffed rice, fried until golden, and portaged to the table on a block of glass. The baroque seafood tacos were palatable (try the ones stuffed with sweet blue crab or chunks of lemony hamachi dressed with avocado), although a mad Burkian pasta creation called “soft-shell snails” (shell-less escargots, plus gummy pasta shells, plus too much garlic) was barely edible, even after I removed the slippery black snails.

“More is better” has always been one of Burke’s credos, but with fish, where the emphasis is on freshness and simplicity, this can be a dangerous game. The “Angry Mussels” at Fishtail (steamed Nova Scotia mussels drizzled, ineffectually, with chile oil, among other things) are a tired parody of Burke’s famous Angry Lobster, which you can taste at the chef’s non-seafood restaurant around the corner. The “Fussy Fish” section of the menu includes a labored version of Dover sole bombed, inexplicably, with candied grapefruit, and an overwrought creation called swordfish-steak “Rossini” stuck with baby carrots, a block of polenta, and a flap of sautéed foie gras. The calamari mac and cheese turned out to be a goopy mash of squid rings and oversauced pasta, although my helping of “Maine-lobster carbonara” was a decent facsimile of spaghetti carbonara, provided you ignored the lobster, the silly caviar garnish, and the $35 sticker price.

If you avoid these strained attempts at innovation, however, it’s possible to have a decent, even festive dinner at Fishtail. The pieces of halibut and snapper I ordered off the “Simple Fish” section of the menu were fresh and expertly cooked, and so was the seared salmon, which is served on a semi-nutritious bed of stewed black lentils. For an extra $7.50, you can slather your fish with a selection of “Top Hat” garnishes (garlicky clams and chorizo, shrimp-and-leek fondue), but if you’re wise, you’ll stick to the simple caper-and-herb vinaigrette.

Note

Fishtail is a “sustainable-friendly” restaurant, which means roughly 80 percent of the seafood comes from sustainable sources.

Ideal Meal

Seafood tacos, roasted snapper or halibut, banana tart.

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