Throwback Fish Friday


‘This is our town, this is Friday night
Dressed in our rags and our rage and our best
Piercing eyes looking for something – anything, anyone.
Stare across the floor as they begin to dance….’

The lyrics from that New Model Army song run through my head as I recall fond memories of a pivotal point in my culinary path.

What was going to be a ‘Throwback Thursday’ post is actually more suited towards Friday this week.

Remember when Friday nights were the sh**? I mean like Friday night would just be party time, throw it all against the wall, stay out till 2 (or later..) in the morning, and spend the rest of the weekend into the next week talking about it (and, of course, recovering). For most of us, the nostalgia of Friday night with the boys (or girls) is something we always carry with us. Ha, perhaps even when we have kids and Friday night is no different than Monday night or we just grow older- secretly in the back of our mind we recall the Friday nights of our youth with great enjoyment and a surge of energy.

When I first started working in food retail in my mid 20’s, I created a fresh fish buying program for my local land-locked community and prided myself on the ultra fresh and stunningly beautiful ocean delights that my little landlubber town just never really saw outside of a restaurant. Oysters, Lemon Sole, Tasmanian Sea Trout, Maine Smelt that ‘smelt’ of fresh cucumbers, Uni, and Wolffish were a few of the many varieties of seafood I was bringing in through a popular word of mouth preorder seafood program every Friday.


Inevitably, I would order a little extra of each to assure every one of my customers got the absolute best product and no tail pieces of fillet. What to do with these extra ocean gems?? Friday night pregame??


The idea at first sounded crazy- Bring anywhere from 5-8 different odds and ends of amazing seafood to a friend’s remote cabin to host a sort of ‘underground restaurant’ for my skater, punk, PBR aficionado and marijuana enthusiast friends. I mean, would they really appreciate the delicate and exotic fishes like I did or were they set with the pizza or Chinese food before hitting the bars or clubs?


Well, the first Friday I brought over my assortment of treats, I sent everyone in a complete state of shock and awe with standing ovations and requests for encore performances. ‘Fish Friday’s became a thing. There was a text roll, people were telling their friends and before I knew it the little ‘pregame dinner party’ turned into a 25-30 person tasting menu/ fish jam session. With riffs like raw oysters and uni, Tasmanian Sea Trout Tartare, Skate Provencal, Fluke en Papillote, and Bouillabaisse, not only was I learning and teaching my friends to shuck oysters, but I was having one of the best times of my life in the the process. I mean, think about eating a dozen of the freshest and crispest Oysters at a rock concert…It doesn’t seem like they belong together but when they are there and done right, it blew people away.

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I say this was a pivotal point in my food path and passion because these friend dinners opened up my creativity in a stress-free and familiar setting and showed me that people don’t just enjoy good food but also love the show and the story of it.


We hosted about 20 ‘Fish Fridays’ over the course of that year and I’m still asked by some of the members if I’ll ever do it again just like the good old times….well who knows.. One thing is for sure though, Friday nights still rock, even if its just in your memories and heart…

A Few Notable Eats in NYC

Over the past few months I have been pursuing more and more freelance chef gigs in New York City working at places like Carnegie Hall, NY Historical Society, New York Botanical Gardens and more. It has been an adventure for sure and WAY out of my comfort zone.. For those of you who don’t know me well, I am well as I call it ‘directionally challenged’.  I get lost in my own county I grew up in let alone a big hustling bustling concrete jungle. I swear its a thing…

Anyway, as a successful person might say, ‘growth happens on the other side of fear or discomfort’. This is certainly true with navigating my way around New York.

I’ve managed to eat my fair share through the city (well about .0003 % of the eateries in NYC) and love sharing my finds and reviews:

Pisticci– 125 la Salle St New York, NY (Harlem)

A walk down into this busy, quaint, yet lovely Italian subterranean space suggests a friendly neighborhood trattoria with a small bar, plenty of tables, and even live music on some nights. I’ve been about 5 times so far and a few dishes I love are Mussels in White Wine, Maltagliati with Lamb Ragu, and Fettucine al Funghi. Generous portions and affordable.

Toast– 3157 Broadway New York, NY (Harlem)

From the looks of the place from the outside, it’s nothing more than a bar and lounge serving typical American bar fare. And well that’s pretty much what it is! Great cocktails, wine, beer selection and awesome salads, fries and burgers done right without breaking the bank. Enough said.

Dinosaur Barbecue-700 W 125th St, New York, NY (other locations as well)

Now I won’t be that guy claiming to know the best BBQ joints around and I also won’t claim Dinosaur is AMAZING but it’s good. It’s a busy place, great bar, great smell and plenty of menu options. A good choice for BBQ if your in the neighborhood. My favorites here are the chicken wings and Syracuse salt potatoes. Sure I’ve had plenty of better BBQ but I like the atmosphere of this place.

Bahari-31-14 Broadway, Astoria, NY

From what I’m told, there are no shortage of great Greek restaurants in Astoria and this one stands out among them. Again, this place has a real family and neighborhood feel- the kid of place where the waiter asks your name and you turn around to see a table of 12, kids, highchairs and all. Things are just done right here, like Grandmas cooking- nothing fancy but just good comfort food- garlicky baba ganoush (melintzanosalata), spicy feta cheese spread (tyrokafteri) and various entrees like cabbage rolls, grilled swordfish, beef rolls with sides of lemony potatoes, green veggies and simple salads. I was there with 3 others and we ordered 4 apps, 4 entrees and 2 bottles of wine and our bill came to $130. WOW. Great value.

Landmark Diner-158 Grand St. New York, NY (SOHO)

I literally stumbled into this diner on my way to a meeting and was pleasantly surprised and humored by it. Apparently they claim to have the best pancakes around but since I didn’t try them, I’m not sure that’s just a tourist lure or what. What is great to me is that it’s your typical cheap greasy spoon diner with plates of eggs, toast and home fries for less than 5 bucks, bottomless regular coffee and amusing Chinese waitresses calling you baby and honey. It was a riot! On a cold a rainy morning it was a perfect bit of comfort and humor to camp out in before I had to get to work.

Babalucci’s– 331 Lenox Ave, New York, NY (Harlem)

Sourdough pizza…I know what you’re thinking- “Sourdough pizza when you’re in New York?? Get out of here country boy!!” And you’d probably be right..haha but it’s good and they have this lunch special called the polpette panini which is this awesome meatball sandwich on crunchy wood oven toasted bread with a nice side salad. Cozy spot, nice staff and good ‘flatbread’.

Patsy’s Pizza -2287 1st Avenue, New York, NY  (Harlem)

Ok, ok I’m trying to redeem myself from the last review. Patsy’s Pizza has been a New York Pizza institution since 1933. It’s just good New York coal oven fired pie not meant to have tons of creative toppings. I did however have the recommended onion pie which is raw white onion that are cooked just enough to still retain the crispness but bring out a little sweetness.  Awesome sauce..

Fried Dumpling-106 Mosco St (between Mulberry St & Mott St) New York, NY (Chinatown)

Small shop that sells only one thing- fried pork dumplings. Boy are they good!! And at the price of 5 for $1.25, 10 for $2.50 is the perfect grab and go lunch to eat while walking through the crazy sidewalks of Chinatown with fish stalls on the sidewalk, whole roasted ducks hanging in the window and someone trying to sell you a fake Rolex on every corner. These dumplings are awesome but don’t expect the woman serving them to be warm and fuzzy, she’s all business and will yell if you don’t keep the line moving.

Cafe Lalo– 201 W 83rd St, New York, NY (Upper Westside)

Out of all eateries and restaurants I’ve been to in NYC I was least impressed here. I tried, I really did! It’s basically and overcrowded, overpriced and very underwhelming cafe menu that perhaps has the only claim to fame of being the cafe from the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’. What seemed to be a charming cafe from the outside turned out to be a headache and claustrophobic’s nightmare with staff that are pushy and just want to turn over tables. Sorry Meg Ryan and Tom fans…first and last time I’ll go here.

Well there you go! I’ve got a list bugger that my amazon wishlist of other places to check out so I’ll keep these review posts going!