A masterclass on how to do seafood right
There is nothing better on a hot summer day than dining with family or friends with fresh and delicious seafood. And recently, the Meatpacking district in NYC has added what we consider to be one of the best seafood spots in lower Manhattan. The restaurant’s name is Mollusca and serves some of the freshest and tastiest seafood dishes that we have had this summer.
As soon as we walked into Mollusca we noticed the incredible natural light the restaurant gets that brightens the entire area up. Paired with a chic modern interior and having the indoor lights dimmed to provide an intimate feel, Mollusca feels like the perfect place to bring a date or have a night out in Manhattan. The décor and furnishings looked high end and upscale bringing a level of sophistication to the restaurant. And the servers at Mollusca were all so friendly and were so knowledgeable about the menu which helped give us the perfect recommendations for each course we had.
Mollusca has an extensive wine and spirit menu that any drink aficionado would appreciate. With so many options to choose from, the perfect food and wine pairing is right at your fingertips. Additionally, Mollusca has some fun takes on classic cocktails as well as some original recipes that are perfect starters for your dinner. From the cocktail menu we tried the Normandie Club Old Fashioned 2.0 and the Guava Swizzle. The Normandie old fashioned is made with coconut infused bourbon, pear brandy, spiced hazelnut demerara, and topped with walnut bitters. This drink is definitely on the stiffer side and is perfect for those that enjoy a darker liquor. The woodiness from the bourbon comes out perfect with a hint of that tropical note from the bourbon. That subtle coconut flavor feeds in perfectly to the fruity notes of the pear brandy and finishes with a hint of spice from the demerara that lingers on your palate.
The guava swizzle is definitely more for someone who enjoys a fruitier and sweeter drink. Made with aged white and black rum, pimento tree berries liquor, and house made guava puree, this drink felt like you need to be on a tropical island to drink it. Each sip gives this refreshing fruitiness with bursts of berry flavor that pairs wonderfully with the fruity and bright notes from the guava puree. And the way that this drink looks with the hombre pinks made it even better.
To start our dinner we decided to try the Mollusca Signature Oyster – because how could you go to a seafood restaurant and not have oysters. This oyster is a single oyster that is topped with black caviar, fresh uni, and paired with a mignonette sauce. The oyster on its own was so fresh and juicy and just in one bite you get such a complex myriad of flavors that envelops your palate. The oyster has a burst of flavor and brininess that you can expect from a fresh oyster and paired with the uni adds a beautiful layer of sweetness to the bite. The caviar adds a decadence to the oyster and paired with the mignonette sauce adds a pronounced brightness that balances the sweetness and salinity from the oyster.
We also ordered the popcorn shrimp that came with a creamy spicy sauce as another appetizer. The popcorn shrimp were all so plump and juicy while having a nice crispy exterior that wasn’t oily at all. The shrimp burst with flavor after each bite and pairing it with the sauce made the dish much more enjoyable. The sauce is a creamy sauce that isn’t too spicy where it overwhelms the flavor of the shrimp but rather has a budding heat that helps finish the dish after each bite.
For one of our mains we chose a dish that screams summer, a lobster roll. The lobster roll at Mollusca is assembled like a traditional lobster roll is. A warm pillowy brioche roll that carries some bib lettuce and the creamy and sweet lobster on top. And this lobster roll was delicious. The brioche roll was warm and soft without being soggy from all the moisture from the lobster. The lobster was paired with onion, chives, and mayo to give a creamy texture to it while also having some of the sharp sweetness from the onion to accompany the sweetness from the lobster. The lobster itself was so plump, juicy, and burst with flavor after each bite which made it all the more enjoyable. And the addition of the lettuce gives a crunchy texture which helps break up the bites and not let it be very one note with textures.
Our next dish to try was the Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass that was paired with a shishito velouté, carrots, cucumber, daikon, and a leek julienne. The sea bass was flaky and perfectly cooked. It has great moisture in the middle and was not dry in the slightest which can sometimes deter people from having fish like sea bass. The shishito velouté adds a bit of smokiness to the fish and pairs beautifully with the sweetness and umami flavors from the sea bass. The addition of the shredded vegetables on top gives great crunchy texture to the dish while adding in some herbal notes and freshness that brightens the dish up.
Our last main course dish was a pasta dish and it was the II Grande Raviolo with a herb ricotta and egg yolk filling topped with pearl street ossetra caviar and fresh truffle. The raviolo was large and took up the entire plate so it is definitely something that can either be shared or enjoyed as a main course. And with any raviolo, you have to cut the middle open to see the runny yolk pour out all over the plate. And when we did it, the yolk was perfectly runny and covered the entirety of the pasta with the silky goodness. The herb ricotta is creamy and adds an amazing freshness to the dish that makes it very filling. The cracked pepper on top is the perfect balance of subtle spice to the dish and pairs well with the truffle and caviar.
As we finished our meal, we reflected on how every single dish we ordered was so flavorful and had so much thought and consideration into how the dish was constructed. It is so frequent that you go to a seafood restaurant that relies so heavily on the protein that not enough consideration is taken into the preparation, presentation, and pairings. At Mollusca, the chefs really do put a lot of thought, as well as technique, into each and every dish which makes each plate stand on its own. We will definitely be coming back to Mollusca to try more of their delicious offerings and we strongly recommend you do too.