News and Reviews
The restaurant affiliate of the fish market of the same name, is merrily bobbing on the swells of 26 successful years. Known by regular patrons as E.F.G., this soignée seafood house excels at turning fresh catches into beautiful plates of food for a crowd, seven days a week, under pressure.
Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times
Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times
We dined twice, on sweltering nights. Eating at E.F.G. is a little like swooning aboard a vintage Grand Banks yacht, with a top-drawer caterer below decks and a cool sea breeze — in the form of perfectly calibrated air-conditioning — blessedly blowing through the whole enterprise.
The trim décor lifts the mood. It all just adds up: varnished wood, stately banquettes, shimmering porthole sconces, port and starboard lanterns, an ocean blue abstract canvas and bold French posters — one of which, featuring a jubilant red-suited bellhop astride a giant lobster, inspired E.F.G.’s logo.
Did I mention the decorative oyster plates that run the length of the dining room wall? The little window that allows you to watch as a kitchen worker shucks oysters, one every 10 seconds? Our smart, unassuming waitress? The water glasses that were never less than half full?
On a Monday night, when a weekly lobster special was on, the place was packed like a can of brisling sardines. Our 40-minute wait seemed shorter, perhaps because everyone — hostess, bartenders, waiters maneuvering around us — was so nice. We nursed drinks and watched a parade of ruddy pound-and-a-half lobsters go by on the arms of servers, along with giant baked potatoes.
The menu, which offers delight and variety, changes daily based on the availability of fish. Rick Ross, the owner, and his buyer go to the New Fulton Fish Market five times a week. Arsenio Flores, the longtime chef, balances blasts of Americana like jumbo lump crab cake with lobster sauce and red-pepper preserves, with more classical preparations like skate wing encrusted with herbs, almonds and pine nuts with a retinue of bronze potatoes, pancetta, savoy cabbage and Grenobloise sauce.
First-rate appetizers included the grilled calamari with snappy roasted potatoes and slim green beans in a summery tomato and basil pesto sauce; crisp breaded octopus with shaved fennel, pickled onions and candied lemon vinaigrette; taut grilled shrimp brushed with adobo oil; and a sweet-and-sour salad of endive, thyme-scented sautéed onions, Gorgonzola, fig jam and lemon vinaigrette.
But two starters had less pizazz: a salad of peekytoe crab and avocado ornamented with limp gaufrette potatoes; and pan-seared scallops that hadn’t stayed in the pan long enough to caramelize, atop a tired corn salad.
For an entree, you can’t do better than fish and chips, at $19 the least expensive on the menu. Made with snow-white New England cod on the night we ordered them, the super-fresh fillets were dipped in beer batter and fried to perfection, as were the husky potato wedges stacked alongside them.
On the other end of the price spectrum, pan-seared wild Alaskan salmon with grilled asparagus and a brisk navel-orange gastrique was $36; the pale, luxurious fillet had huge, glossy flakes but lacked the beefy flavor that I associate with wild Pacific salmon. (The same dish was offered with organic Icelandic farmed salmon for $26.)
No matter, I am still daydreaming about pan-seared golden snapper over garlicky crushed potatoes with wild mushrooms and peas in a creamy sea of mustard beurre blanc; saffron risotto with a bounty of shrimp, scallops and crab meat; and broiled gray sole with baby carrots, haricots verts, leeks, capers and thyme-laced fumet.
Nothing on the dessert menu swims, but don’t let that stop you. Pretty blackberry and lime mousse, lemon sponge cake layered with whipped cream, chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream in a dressy hazelnut tuille, robust sorbets with precision-cut fruit, and blissful Almond Joy ice cream. You can’t go wrong.
We saw, too late, a chocolate soufflé float past on its way to a table. How had we missed that? As if we needed an excuse to go back.
Eastchester Fish Gourmet
837 White Plains Road
THE SPACE Seating for 75 in a stylish, nautical-themed storefront with one or two bum tables near the front door. The bar, where patrons can also eat, is squeezed during peak hours. Wheelchair accessible.
THE CROWD Mostly adult, with a smattering of children. Nice casual dress. Impeccable but never stuffy service.
THE BAR Full service bar, with craft beers on tap. Astute, fairly priced wine list with many bottles around $40.
THE BILL Soups and first courses, $8 to $14. Entrees, $19 to $38 (for a DeBragga and Spitler shell steak). Desserts, $7 to $11. Major credit cards accepted. Monday lobster special runs year-round, $26.95. On Thursday, clams are $1 each and oysters are $1.25 each.
WHAT WE LIKED Endive salad; shrimp with adobo oil; calamari with tomato and basil pesto sauce; octopus with fennel and pickled onions; fish and chips; golden snapper with mustard beurre blanc; saffron seafood risotto; gray sole with vegetables and capers; skate wing with Grenobloise sauce; Almond Joy ice cream; lemon sponge cake; blackberry lime mousse; chocolate lava cake; sorbet trio with fresh fruit.
IF YOU GO Lunch, Thursday and Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner, Monday to Thursday, 5 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m. Reservations taken for groups of five or more. Parking on Summerfield Road and in lot behind restaurant with meters that operate until 7 p.m.
RATINGS Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.