Thursday, August 9, 2012

Restaurant Review: Ed's Chowder House

This week, I met one of my good girlfriends for a last dinner before NYC Restaurant Week ends tomorrow. Since both of us are huge into seafood, we decided on Ed's Chowder House. Our other thought process was that the restaurant was not that expensive, so if we decided to go off the prix fixe menu, we wouldn't be shooting our wallets in the foot.

Turned out to be a good decision.

After reviewing the prix fixe offerings and comparing to the regular menu...we decided to order from the regular menu. The best part about going out with this particular friend is that she, like me, lovessss to share food. So when we order a few dishes, we know that each of us will get half of them. Not actually the case this time due to personal preferences once we tasted the mains, but it causes the decision making process to be even more fun since we vote on options. And every single time we end up with supreme deliciousness.

We started out (obviously) with wine. Ed's has a great list of wine by the glass and does my favorite thing...has wine, on ice, in the dining room so that the waiter can bring you a small taste to ensure you don't end up with a wine you don't like. As if that ever happens...

crispy calamari with saffron aioli and marinara sauce

After telling an absolutely hilarious story about weekend shenanigans, we dove into the appetizer menu. And uhhh omg was it good! My friend had never had oysters before, so obviously we had to get one each so that she could try one. She put her faith in my to choose an oyster that wasn't too briny (I don't want to scare her off on her first oyster or she'll never have another one again!) so I chose Naked Cowboys. 

We then debated back and forth about the rest of our appetizers, spoke with both a manager and our waiter about their personal favorites, and basically ended up flipping a coin! Our top contenders were spicy steamed mussels, fried calamari, scallop ravioli, beer braised clams and cod cakes. Obviously, we ended up with the calamari, as you can see from the picture. Our other selection was a bit unique...

scallop ravioli with white wine sauce and herbs

OH MY GOD. We both decided that the scallop ravioli was literally the best thing we've ever tasted. Like...I had a mouth orgasm from these. Inside each of those raviolis is literally a plump sea scallop. And the white wine and butter sauce? To die. I would return to Ed's Chowder House JUST for these raviolis. And, to be honest, I probably will.

Moving on to our main courses: we again had a few contenders. From my recipe post, it's obvious that I have an adoration of lobster rolls. The first time I go to one of the city's New England clam shacks, I always order a lobster roll...what can I say, I like to compare them!

Ed's version of the classic lobster roll, served with house slaw

Ed's was a very good representation. The only thing I didn't like was the herbs. Look at the picture...they are literally sticking out of the lobster roll like, still on the stem. Ick. Besides that, it was perfectly mayo-y (I think I just made a word up) with little chunks of celery adding a fabulous crunch. Yum!

My friend liked the lobster roll, but was clearly not an addict like me. And while I liked the taste of our other main, I think I made it clear I preferred the lobster roll when I took a bite and moaned. So, while we normally share half and half, we decided to take the mains that we liked best. I chowed down on my lobster roll and finished it in about four minutes. She ate a bit of hers and then had the rest wrapped up for lunch the next day. Leftovers!

The second entree was a fillet of Chatham cod (decided on because my friend had also never had cod) with a potato chip crust, served with sauteed spinach and a mustard sauce. I have to be honest--the potato chip crust was definitely not what I expected...i thought it would be crushed up, the way pretzel chicken is, but as you can see...its literal chips slapped on top of the cod. Very odd. Very good though!

All in all, I would definitely return to Ed's Chowder House. The other clam shack I go to is Mermaid Inn on Amsterdam and 87th. In my opinion, Ed's had the better lobster roll...but I am a sucker for Mermaid Inn's ambience as well as fish entrees. I think I will have to decide in advance what I plan on ordering and determine my restaurant after that. However, I highly recommend Ed's, especially if you are visiting the city, visiting Lincoln Center or staying in Columbus Circle or Midtown West.

To visit Ed's Chowder House, find it online ( or in person on the second floor of the Empire Hotel, located between Columbus and Broadway on 63rd...right across from Lincoln Center. 

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