Hoping that the fourth time's the charm, Michael Psilakis opened Fish Tag earlier this week in the old Gus & Gabriel space. This time around, the concept is seafood-centric Mediterranean with a menu that offers simply grilled and garnished fresh fish, exotic raw bar plates, while also going for the gusto with richer, fattier food like sheep milk dumplings with crab and urchin fonduta and a lamb burger with "pickled French fries." Ryan Skeen, last seen consulting for Sweetiepie and as executive chef at 5 & Diamond, is in the house, serving as chef de cuisine. What do people think of the second big seafood opening in as many weeks? To the early word.
The Amazing News: Chowhounder msuhotelgrad visits on their second night and reports back that it was an amazing meal. Note that this person left a similar comment on Grub Street and Eater: "We had the Jonah Crab Bruschetta..amazing spice if you like it a little hot. finished off with Sheep milk dumplings. best dish i had in a long time..the whole experience was a homerun." There's even a Ryan Skeen sighting! "Ryan Skeen was in the front of the bar talking to some friends." The final verdict? "Place is a winner." [CH]
The Boring News: The first Foursquare commenter is not impressed: "Keep swimming... Boring atmosphere with equally boring (and inexperienced) waitstaff. The food is overly ambitious. I foresee an early closure with this spot." [Foursquare]
The "Flavor Fiesta" News: Blogger Feed The Model (who, keep in mind, put similar comments on both Yelp and Grub Street) went on opening night and everything came up roses for her. There's the grilled sardines. "A delightful dish, with very good fish that was strong in flavor, and not punishingly fishy, as is sometimes the case." The sheep milk dumplings. "What a treat! The dumplings we extra fresh, the fonduta was light and creamy and full of flavor, and the bay scallops were sweet like candy... Definitely a recommended dish!" Finally, the bouchot mussels & spicy lamb. "Such a great variety of combinations – from seafood to meat to saffron to leeks and chick peas – words fail to describe this flavor fiesta!" She is, however, disappointed with the lack of bread to go with those mussels and isn't really satisfied with the explanation that it's at the chef's request. "Next time I will BYOB (bring your own bread), just in case, and you should too!" [Feed The Model]
The Mixed Bag: Eater commenter, Momobaby chimes in with their take on dinner. "Went to dinner at Fish Tag tonight...interesting conceit: dishes are listed from lightest to heaviest, with wine and beverage recommendations per dish. Wine and beverage list is on the back of the menu. There is a separate menu for cheeses, charcuterie, hard liquor and cocktails. Ryan Skeen and Michael Psilakis were in the house, but it is Mr. Skeen who is doing most of the cooking. Favorite dishes were the mussels and spicy lamb, the sheep milk dumplings and the octopus. The grilled branzino with head cheese was surprisingly bland, and the strong lemon flavor in the mushroom confit did little to improve the dish. Scallop crudo was nice, but the smoked bone marrow overwhelmed the delicate shellfish. No desserts other than ice cream and sorbets from Il Laboratorio del Gelato. Interesting start, and hopefully, it will improve as time passes." [ENY]
The Great News: From the tipline: "I had a wonderful dinner at FishTag yesterday, 11/29. The place had a nice opening, with people coming in by the bunches. My husband and I sat at the bar and had a few dishes: Grilled Sardines, Sheep Milk Dumplings, and Mussels with Spicy Lamb. Overall, very delicious!...Another strange thing was that the restaurant politely refused to serve bread since they are trying out a "new concept"... We finally did get a wedge of it for our blue cheese finale. We loved all the cured fish & meats on the menu, what a treat! I hope the place lasts, because I can already tell the food is amazing. The combinations of fish and meat are really spectacular!" [Eater Tipline]