Note: Fresh closed in September 2008.
The idea behind Fresh is simple enough. Eric Tevrow, the owner, also owns Early Morning Seafood, which supplies the fish to “every four star and several three and two star restaurants in the city.” So in 2002 he opened his own place in TriBeCa, scoring two stars from Eric Asimov in the Times. Shore, a casual New England-style fish shack, followed in 2004, and Coast a year or so after that.
I paid enjoyable visits to Fresh and Shore a couple of years ago, and to Coast a while later. Shore and Coast were saddled with abysmal locations, and both failed. Fresh still seems to be holding its own. It was perhaps a shade over half full on a recent Thursday evening, with what appeared to be a mix of business diners, families, and romantic couples.
A Ceviche of Artic Char ($12) was uncomplicated, with the lively—well, freshness of the fish—allowed to speak for itself. The excellent Pumpkin Seed Crusted Flounder ($27) took the opposite approach. It came plated in a tower (à la Gotham Bar and Grill) on a bed of chanterelles and butternut squash, and all of the ingredients worked well together. My mom was pleased with Spicy Seafood Stew ($31)—not all that spicy, she said. My girlfriend had the English Batter-fried Haddock ($21), an upscale fish-and-chips that was somewhat misplaced at this type of restaurant; she said it was soggy, and wondered how such a simple dish could be the one they screwed up.
The décor at Fresh somewhat over-plays the seafood theme, with its wicker chairs and blue-tinged walls, suggesting a Caribbean resort with faded charms. But there is nothing at all faded about the excellent seafood, which is why I’ll be going back to Fresh. Service is efficient, and tables are generously spaced, making for a sedate atmosphere that is increasingly rare in Manhattan. Be sure to order one of the specialty martinis, which come in funky glasses with curved stems that are unlike anything I’ve seen.
Fresh (105 Reade Street between West Broadway and Church Street, TriBeCa)