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This long-running downtown seafood spot (founded 1997) was conceived as something of a counterweight to the ponderous Oyster Bar at Grand Central, a looser and hipper spot where, nonetheless, the number of raw oysters offered was impressive. The place is even more relaxing today, because the tumultuous bar scene has calmed down, making it a quintessential date spot. The warm octopus salad with onion vinaigrette makes a pleasing starter, with tentacles as supple as glove leather, or you could build a meal around one of the towering plateaux de mer featuring Jonah crab claws, periwinkles, lobster, and raw clams. The bouillabaisse is one of the most authentic versions in town, only lacking the glueyness that sends the Provencal original into orbit.
Landlubbers looking for high-end sea fare on sailor salaries need sing sad chanteys no more: Every day (except Monday) at AQUAGRILL from 4 to 6 p.m., they can slurp $1 bluepoint oysters (18 maximum per matey) and guzzle $3 Pilsner Urquells with tattoo-less Hamptons yachtsmen. The bartenders are super-nice; the decor--whitewashed walls, marble bar, outsized floral sprays--as seaworthy as the Med. More »
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