Forgive Fishtag for having the most complicated menu in Manhattan, with appetizers mixed willy-nilly with entrees, and certain dishes, for no apparent reason, on another sheet of paper altogether. The waiter will explain, you’ll say “huh,” and then you’ll sit back in this cozy brownstone restaurant and order what will likely be one of the most satisfying meals you have in the city. That’s because Fishtag not only sources wonderfully fresh ingredients, it pairs them in creative ways. A platter of cheese or smoked fish, for example, will come with three or four lovely jams and sauces, so that you can build your own taste sensations. Branzino isn’t just grilled, but stuffed with headcheese for an over-the-top rich dish. Smoked octopus, another highlight, is served with a puree of hearts of palm, dates, and olives. Or you can have any fish on the menu simply grilled with just a touch of lemon. Chef Michael Psilkas, also of Kefi, understands the appeal of simple preparations.
- Pauline Frommer