The Restaurant Dieter’s spouse was trying so hard to do the right thing. As I’ve previously mentioned, eating out is his passion. When we’re in New York, it’s nearly an obsession.

I had a nice lean turkey sandwich on a bagel with an apple for lunch. He walked a couple of blocks to his new favorite, Luke’s Lobster. But TRD Spouse was trying hard yesterday when he went online to make reservations for pre-theater dinner with a friend.

With his overworked Open Table account humming, he booked Pier 9 in Hell’s Kitchen because of its emphasis on fish. Isn’t love grand.

The menu was promising. It offered dishes for the decadent diner (Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese) to, in the entrees, a section entitled “simply prepared.” With baby bok choy as a side, it featured six fish choices and three sauce choices: green curry/shiitake, lemon/Tuscan olive oil/capers and verjus emulsion. The latter turned out to be a butter sauce,  so I opted for the curry/shiitake.

Razor Clam Ceviche

For a starter, you can never go wrong with ceviche. I always imagine a half-cup of so of fresh fish, drenched in a bright acid with a nice clean flavor. That was spot-on on most counts, but the portion was sorely disappointing. Three shells contained, at most, three tablespoons of ceviche. It’s New York, but at $13 one somehow expects a little more.

Whoever was prepping scallops in the kitchen that day had a really heavy hand with the salt. Mine were so salty they should have been sent back as inedible. My friend ordered the seared day boat scallops, which came in a celery root puree with eggplant, capers, raisins and pine nuts. Ditto on the salt. The TRD Spouse, having little to no diet concerns, had what looked like a half a paint can (literally) stuffed with lobster, corn, potatoes. He loved it.

For dessert, TRD Spouse and guest both had the salted caramel rice crispy treat with chocolate mousse and mascarpone ice cream. I tasted the latter and could easily have eaten a sizeable bowl of that.

Instead, I opted for the fresh fruit plate. It is my patriotic duty to order fresh fruit, given how few restaurants are thoughtful enough to include it on the dessert menu. What arrived at the table was a beautiful mosaic of slightly ripe watermelon but perfectly ripe strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and pineapple.

Despite drinking multiple glasses of water and ice tea, I left the restaurant with that salty taste for something — anything — and therefore settled into my seat at the theater with a box of milk duds. And then just before turning in for the night, I had some cookies from the deli across the street.

So bottom line on Pier 9 is: go but ask the chef to go easy on the salt.

Spread the love