Restaurant: Aquagrill – 210 Spring Street, Manhattan, New York
It was recently my mom’s birthday and she, along with my dad, traveled into the city to hang out with her two lovely sons (one of those lovely sons is me!). The trip of course revolved largely around food and as our first stop, we decided to check out Aquagrill for brunch.
There’s a reason this place is nearly always included in lists of New York City’s top seafood restaurants. Fresh ingredients (including plenty of fresh fish) and a killer raw bar combine with a welcoming atmosphere to give diners the perfect dining experience, regardless of the occasion. This meal lived up to the expectations.
First impressions of Aquagrill – it seemed like they truly wanted us there. It’s hard to put into words, but the hostess and team at the front of the restaurant were extremely attentive, friendly and genuine. It’s clear that every diner is truly valued.
It was a beautiful summer day so we decided to sit outside in Aquagrill’s covered outdoor area lining the corner of 6th Avenue and Spring Street. The outdoor area is large enough for a sizable number of tables without feeling cramped and is covered so you’re not sitting directly in the sun overheating. The color scheme outside is largely blue and white, conveying an almost royal feel, and a stark contrast to the yellow and gold interior colors. We were lucky enough to snag the coveted corner table.
I’d never been to Aquagrill for brunch so I didn’t know what to expect. The menu was a nice mix of seafood and classic brunch dishes. I ordered:
- Warm Octopus Salad: with Roasted Peppers and Peppercress in a Roasted Onion Vinaigrette
- Grilled Rare Yellowfin Tuna:
with Avocado, Arugula and Grilled Onions (the specific sandwich I had was a special for the day and a take on this that ditched the avocado and included roasted red peppers)
First up, the warm octopus salad was extremely refreshing on a hot summer day. True to its name, the dish came out warm with octopus piled in the center and roasted red peppers and peppercress scattered throughout. All this was tossed in a roasted onion vinaigrette. Don’t worry, the onion flavor wasn’t overpowering. This salad was very light and all the ingredients tasted fresh. Great flavor all around.
The grilled rare yellowfin tuna sandwich was equally as delicious. I didn’t expect there to be as much tuna as there was, but this sandwich was stuffed to the brim with plenty of the stuff. This, along with roasted red peppers, arugula and some mayo was sandwiched between two slices of artisan bread. The sandwich had a great flavor in general, but the bread brought it to the next level. It had a nice crunch to it that really rounded out the sandwich. I decided to have some fries as well and they were doused in the perfect amount of salt to keep me craving more. Can I order another one of these?
Our water glasses were never left unfilled, our napkins were refolded when we got up from the table, and most important, our wine glasses were never empty. The service was seamless, prompt and professional.
If you visit a seafood restaurant in the city you expect that prices are going to be a little high. However, I was pleasantly surprised by Aquagrill. The octopus salad was $13 and the yellowfin tuna sandwich was around $15. Only $15 for all that perfectly cooked tuna in a delicious sandwich? I’ll easily pay that every time.
As I said at the beginning, there’s a reason Aquagrill is included on lists of the best seafood restaurants in New York City. Taste, atmosphere, service and value all combine under one roof. There have been very few times at restaurants that I’ve felt they were truly appreciative I was there, and Aquagrill rises to the top as the leader in that list.