Peix Bar de Mariscos
Sometimes the atmosphere of a place can outshine the food. I found that to be true at Peix Bar de Mariscos in NoLita, although the food is no slacker either. But there was something about this intimate spot that had me hooked from the moment we arrived.
Maybe it was the candlelit tables or open air kitchen that made you feel like the chef was cooking a meal just for you. Or, the overly friendly staff (not in an annoying way) that bent over backwards to accommodate us. It is the kind of place you might venture into for a romantic meal or turn into a favorite neighborhood hangout. The bar makes a pretty mean margarita along with other specialty cocktails, although most people come here for the wine.
Start with some snacks, including olives and baked mushrooms, or Pintxos, slices of a baguette topped with goat cheese and Spanish ham. Our meal began with Croquetas de Bacalao, deep-fried codfish balls that are super crunchy on the outside, soft and flavorful on the inside. A fish ceviche arrived steeped in citrus, although it could have used a bit more heat. Grilled octopus was quite tender served in a light paprika sauce, and while a Caesar salad, piled high with fresh anchovies, proved a bit much for my wife, it was actually one of my favorite parts of the meal. Next time we’ll have to try the lobster sliders which seemed popular at nearby tables.
Zarzuela made for a wonderful main course. Think of paella in reverse. Here the seafood is the star. Fresh shrimps, mussels, cod and salmon fill the plate with a cube of Spanish rice in the center to sop up the terrific tomato broth spiked with garlic. A strip steak with potatoes, and grilled asparagus, was cooked perfctly, although it could have used a bit more seasoning. A whole fish is also served daily. Desserts include a peach tartine served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and poached pears in red wine.
Peix Bar de Mariscos is worth a stop when you are in the mood for some Spanish tapas to share with some special friends.
Review By: Thomas Rafael