For many years, the only decent fresh fish you could find in North Brooklyn was the live carp swimming in shallow tanks around Christmastime in the historically Polish community.
That has been changing for a while now, with openings like the Lobster Joint and Littleneck Outpost raising the maritime bar of neighborhood, but local and sustainable seafood to cook at home remained hard to come by. A shifting wind swept in last week with the opening of Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. (114 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-349-0400) several blocks north of McCarren Park.
The fishmarket’s large glass windows on Nassau allow for full-frontal views of fish butchery. Inside, there’s a long raw bar lined with stools, plus a few high-top tables. For those who prefer their gratification delayed, there’s a selection of fresh seafood available to cook at home.
Adam Geringer-Dunn and partner Vincent Milburn met while working in the music industry, and the two Greenpoint residents commiserated over the lack of fresh fish nearby. “The quality and source is dubious at best,” Geringer-Dunn says of the fish that he was able to find close to home.
Milburn, who comes from a long line of Bostonian fishmongers, tapped his piscine connections to source local, sustainable fruits of the sea, while Geringer-Dunn handles the menu.
Inspiration struck in the form of casual, bar-like spots popular in the Bay Area, where ordering tanspires in rounds, diners are encouraged to try a little of everything, and the fish and shellfish are still adjusting to post-mortem existence. All dishes, whether cooked or raw, are dressed and seasoned minimally to show off their natural flavors. There are fish tacos and lobster rolls, as well as raw plates galore.
Geringer-Dunn thinks such dishes are gaining popularity as diners become more health conscious and more adventurous when dining out. “People a couple years ago may have been a little hesitant to try that,” he says, pointing to a sea scallop sliced sashimi style with a wedge of lemon and served on the shell. “Now when we serve one, everybody at the bar is like, ‘I’ll have one of that.'”
More, plus photos, after the jump…
Opening week confirmed that they weren’t the only Brooklyn residents hungry for a taste of of the sea. “It’s been gangbusters,” Geringer-Dunn says. “We can’t stock enough fish.” He says they’re still adjusting to what and how much they can source; fish tacos may go from pollack to skate and eventually shrimp as the day wears on.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 5, 2014