Entries in Fresh (3)


Revolving Door

It has been a while since our last episode of Revolving Door—our periodic coverage of restaurant closings and chef departures.

At Fresh, former owner Eric Tevrow was found guilty of tax evasion in December 2007. In July, the new owners hired chef Michael Ferraro, replacing former chef Kento Komoto, who returned to Japan. Just two months later, Ferraro was out, and the restaurant was shuttered. It will become a Puerto Rican restaurant called Sazon, a sister to the uptown Sofrito on 57th & 1st. We liked Fresh, but it never seemed to be full when it needed to be.

Sheridan Square bit the dust. The cursed restaurant took forever to open. Gary Robins, the original chef, left after less than two months. His replacement, Franklin Becker, tried gamely to rescue the place, but it finally succumbed after its owners had lost $4 million. We had good first impressions, but it’s a bad sign when the chef is gone after six weeks. Some food board participants found the location problematic, but with tons of successful restaurants within a five-block radius, we find it remarkable that the right chef with the right menu couldn’t make it here.

Django, the midtown 300-seater, closed quietly. Was anyone paying attention? We liked our meal there (way back when), but not enough to consider visiting again. I guess we weren’t the only ones.




Note: Fresh closed in September 2008.


fresh.jpgThe 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)

Food: **
Service: **
Ambiance: **
Overall: **


Restaurants fresh. and shore.

Note: Shore and Fresh both closed.


Part of the affectation at fresh. (105 Reade St) and shore. (41 Murray St) is that a period always follows the restaurant name, even in the middle of a sentence. Hence, you do not order the Fresh Salad, but the “fresh. Salad.” Neither the Shore Chicken, but the “shore. Chicken.” A sibling called “coast.” is to open around Labor Day on Liberty Street downtown.

They’re run by the same outfit that supplies seafood to the likes of Alain Ducasse, Le Bernardin, and Bouley. Fresh and Shore (forgive me for eschewing the periods) share a common chef, Daniel Angerer. Fresh is the upscale version (two NYT stars), while Shore got a favorable “$25-and-under” review from Eric Asimov earlier this year.

Coincidentally, I tried both within a couple of days of each other. (I didn’t know that a business associate was planning dinner at Fresh on Monday night, when I chose Shore on Saturday night.)

At 41 Murray Street, Shore is just barely in TriBeCa. Actually, it is technically not in TriBeCa, although some real estate folk now use “TriBeCa South” to refer to the thin wafer of streets bounded by Chambers, Vesey, Broadway, and the West Side Highway. It’s a bit like the rebranding of Hell’s Kitchen.

But I see no evidence that Shore is trying to capitalize on its TriBeCa proximity. Indeed, the exterior seems positively designed to discourage walk-ins. It looks like just another one of the dive bars that permeate the area. The restaurant’s name is on a fading tie-on banner, lending the place a makeshift appearance that makes you wonder if they’re still deciding whether to stay.

With such a seedy exterior, you have no idea that the inside will look so warm and inviting. It’s an airy sea-shore esthetic, with ample space between the tables, a raw bar, space for live musicians, and service that’s both friendly and efficient. Shore wasn’t full the night I visited — far from it. An exterior facelift would certainly help.

Shore has a specials menu that changes daily. Thankfully, they print it and attach it to the menu, instead of forcing us to memorize a list recited by the server. Their main menu changes seasonally. I placed a hopelessly contrarian order: Smothered Barbequed Baby-Back ribs. Well, forgive me, but I was just in a mood for ribs, and it turns out Shore does a damned good job of them. My friend ordered the Boston Batter-Fried Combo Plate, which comes in a paper basket as if you’d ordered it at the shore. It includes shrimp, scallops, lemon sole, clams, and fries. I tasted a good deal of her plate, and it was delightful.

Overall, Shore is a great escape — like going to the shore without leaving Manhattan. Appetizers are anywhere from $4 for a cup of soup, to $16 for a pail of steamers. Mains are anywhere from $8 (fried lemon sole sandwich) to $22 (baked stuffed shrimp).

At Fresh, which I tried two evenings later, the menu changes daily. The décor is bright and airy. You’ll either welcome it like a fresh breeze, or you’ll find the sea-blue murals decidedly kitschy. Take your pick, but I liked it. Service was superb, although we had an early reservation, so there was plenty of staff available to attend us.

There’s a six-course $65 tasting menu, with two choices per course, which is what my associate and I ordered. I’m afraid I can’t remember most of the courses, aside from the foie gras, which was out-of-this-world. A tomato soup came highly recommended by our server, but I was underwhelmed. The main fish course was a hit. Overall, I have had more awesome tasting menus, but at $65 this one is a comparative bargain.