Jules eats world.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Under the Sea


I always feel like I've privvy to a secret when I walk into Tides, a tiny seafood restaurant on the Lower East Side. The streets are increasingly bustling with bar-goers' activity, but still most of them seem to have overlooked this place. Part of the reason is the size: it has maybe 25 seats, under an undulating ceiling sculpture composed of thousands of bamboo skewers, meant to evoke the sea floor. Tides' welcome is always warm; the co-owner Steven recognizes us and beckons us to a table, and he or one of his servers offers us a few tastes of wine to help us decide. On Friday night we picked a Valipolcella, a faintly spicy red that was light enough that it didn't overwhelm the food.

And the food is the real reason to come here, with a menu that changes seasonally so as to keep us guessing on our periodic visits. This time we started with plump mussels cooked in a creamy -- but not heavy -- tomato-accented broth. What followed was one of the best, if not the best, dorade I've ever eaten. Its skin rubbed liberally with sea salt, stuffed with fresh thyme and rosemary, it was simply grilled, its flesh succulent and flavorful. The grilled veggies on the side were a great complement, even if the plate did get a little crowded. Mr. H's shrimp were less exciting, but tasty as well, rubbed with a tangy sauce and grilled on a skewer. We finished with fresh fruit and a baklava-type pastry with dried cherries and chocolate, then headed, blissed-out, to the bar next door.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I concur wholeheartedly. What you didn't mention is how relatively inexpensive it is for one of the best quality seafood restaurants in the city.

4:56 PM


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