Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Brooklyn Nibbles: Things Get Very Fishy in Bay Ridge

October 16th, 2008 · No Comments

In recent months Bay Ridge has seen two new Middle Eastern grilled fish restaurants open up… both within one block of the Bay Ridge institution that is El Bahary Fish Market. While El Bahary was once the go-to place for grilled fish in Bay Ridge, it now has competition from Asmak Taama (on the same block) and Samakmak, on 4th Ave between Bay Ridge Ave and Ovington. We watched the two new joints during their late summer build-ins with much puzzlement. Can the area support THREE grilled fish restaurants? Is a nasty fish-smear campaign in our future? Below find our reviews of two of the three grilled fish joints. We need a few days away from grilled fish before we tackle the remaining restaurant, Asmak Taama, so look for that review in the near future.
Vanessa Raymond

El Bahary Fish Market
With its 2007 “Best of” shout out from the Village Voice and another nod from Robert Sietsema in his book “Best Ethnic Food in New York City”, El Bahary can probably weather this storm. That being said, Bahary is a no-frills dining experience that may not appeal to everyone. You order at the counter, pick your fish from the ice bin, & eat over a large sheet of paper that gets rolled up & thrown away when you’ve finished piling upon it tiny bones and scraps of skin. The grilled herb-encrusted fish is not always perfectly moist, so there is definitely room for an enterprising new establishment to take the lead.

This new comer has a formal dining room and a wide seafood menu that includes Italian, Moroccan, and other Middle Eastern dishes. The appetizers, especially the slightly spicy potato salad and the roasted eggplant, were very tasty indeed. The fish (we had the branzini) was perfection itself. Blackened but not scorched during the grilling process, the skin needed only mere suggestion from our fork before it fell away from glistening flesh below. Parsley and lime added further flavor, as did a steaming serving of seasoned rice. This place has some serious chops, and Bahary had better watch it closely.

Tags: Bay Ridge · Brooklyn Nibbles