Fish Fiend

By Ratha Tep Posted July 19, 2007

A friend and I recently checked out Sea Salt, Orhan Yegen's 14th restaurant, and the East Village's newest paean to seafood (Jimmy Bradley's four-year-old ode, the Mermaid Inn, is across the street). After giving us some time to review the menu, our server posed an unusual question: Would we like to hear what fish they had—or see them? It was a long day, so we passed on the latter, preferring instead to order by traditionalist means. My deliciously homey-tasting red snapper soup, flecked with potato and carrot chunks, would have been perfect if it had been blistering cold outside, but it was so flavorful that I'd gladly order it again in midsummer heat. My favorite dish was the lusciously fatty smoked mackerel, which Yegen later told me he smoked on low heat for eight hours ("Oily fish is great for smoking," he says). Sated and rested, my friend and I strolled over to the fish counter before heading out. Fresh whole fish on ice isn't exactly what I consider eye candy, but I'm glad Yegen cooks them so well.

 

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