Entries in John Tesar (1)


Rolling the Dice: Fishtail

The Line: Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews David Burke’s Upper East Side seafood shack, Fishtail. The Eater odds haven’t been posted as of 6:05 p.m., but we’re going to go ahead and record our bet anyway.

Update: Well, it turns out that Eater never did post the odds. Lucky for us, as our prediction (below) was wrong, so we avoided losing $1 on our hypothetical bet.

The Skinny: Fishtail had a rough early start. The original executive chef, Eric Hara, left in late February to take over the Oak Room. Dallas native John Tesar replaced him in March. We’ve heard nothing about the restaurant since then. The only major-media review, one star from Adam Platt, pre-dated Tesar’s arrival.

We liked Fishtail, rating it at 2½ stars. Like Platt, we visited while Hara was still there. Our only complaint was that the tables were packed uncomfortably close together. The fish, however, was impeccable. What we cannot assess is whether the kitchen is consistent, and whether it has improved or regressed since Tesar took over.

There are a dozen reasons why a restaurant like Fishtail would not appeal to a nitwit like Platt, even if the fish were prepared perfectly. Bruni is a far more intelligent critic. Nevertheless, the vibe of an Upper East Side socialites’ restaurant is not likely to appeal to him, and no doubt he will find some of Burke’s compositions too cute for their own good. We’re fans, but sometimes we feel that way ourselves.

Our guess is that Bruni wouldn’t be bothering to review this place so many months after the opening review cycle, unless he had something positive to say. To award one star would be an insult, and while Bruni has done that plenty of times (and will again), he’s not likely to do it for a restaurant everyone had forgotten about.

The Bet: We are betting that Frank Bruni will award two stars to Fishtail.