When it comes to restaurants, I really don’t care about the ambiance. All I want is good food at a good price – and not surprisingly, my mom and dad are the same way. So when my parents came into town (Andy’s thoughts in italics – yes, my dad), I was looking for a restaurant that both mom and dad would enjoy. Finding a restaurant can often be difficult with them, as my mom prefers Italian and my dad will loudly announce that he “LIKES ASIAN.” Seafood is something however, that we can all agree on. It would just so happen that right before their arrival, someone tipped me off to Wild Edibles, a seafood market near my apartment in Murray Hill.
I was a little apprehensive about dining at a fresh seafood market and was really concerned it was going to smell way too fishy like it does when you walk by the seafood station at a grocery store. Honestly, there was no odor at all when we walked in, but sadly there weren’t any tables for us. There is counter-top seating that can fit a few people, and then one row of tables along the right hand side of the restaurant. At 8pm on a Saturday night the place was hopping and it was about a 45 minute to an hour wait. There isn’t really a bar to just sit back and relax at, and instead of heading to a local watering hole, we headed home to join my roommate and friends for some Gato Negro, Chile’s cheap but still passable merlot. This ended up being a nice pre-dinner break since it was close to the restaurant.
We kicked off the meal with calamari – I know, no surprise there since it is my typical go-to starter. The calamari wasn’t overly oily or bready, which was good. While it was served with a marinara sauce, there was no need for it, simply because the chipotle aioli was far superior and had a fabulous kick to it. I could have eaten that spicy mayo all night. I agree that the chipotle aioli was far superior to the marinara which was just average. The calamari was very fresh and tender. We also ordered a crab cake that was perfectly cooked and had that great chiptole aioli to dip in.
My family is big into sharing bites of our meals, so we all agreed that we couldn’t get the same thing. I had my heart set on seared scallops with a warm bacon vinaigrette, but sadly, they were out of scallops. The whole family was disappointed until they announced the substitute – a soft-shell crab sandwich. My mom will do nearly anything for a soft-shell crab, so she was ecstatic. I tried a bite of it, and it was very good, served on a brioche with lettuce and tomato, and a little aioli sauce on top that wasn’t spicy. The dish was also served with fries.
My dad got the pan seared pollack with clams and braised leeks. I never ate pollack before, but it tasted like every other white fish I’ve ever tried, so it was good to me. I’m starting to think I don’t really like clams too much, so because of this, the dish wasn’t my favorite. The Pollack was perfectly cooked to the exact point of flakiness, I personally like clams so they were a good flavor contrast to the milder Pollack. There were a number of other choices on the menu but I tend to go for whitefish like pollack or halibut if I am confident it is fresh, which is certainly the case at Wild Edibles.
Mahi mahi is one of my favorite fishes, so since Wild Edibles was out of scallops so I went with macadamia crusted mahi mahi with a quinoa salad (the salad had pieces of pepper and onions in it). I enjoyed my fish and the orange vinigarette that was on the dish, but could have done without the salad. I would have much preferred a rice to quinoa. Despite buying a box of quinoa about six months ago and still struggling to pronounce the name, this was my first time having it. It was an odd texture to me and I felt like I was eating something I shouldn’t be eating. I also usually love onions and am the first to get an onion bagel, but there was too much onion in this dish for me. From my little taste of this the fish was well seasoned and cooked to the point of firmness but not overdone.
Wild Edibles is a great place to go to enjoy a delicious seafood meal that isn’t ridiculously priced, as most entrees are between $18-$24. Don’t expect ambiance, though. There is one line of tables and bright fluorescent lighting. Still, if you want to leave with your belly full of delicious food and some money in your wallet, head to Wild Edibles.The Basics Name: Wild Edibles Location: 535 3rd Avenue between 35th and 36th Who to bring: Per Andy – Friends who like good fresh seafood at a fair price without the pretense that goes with more upscale fine dining restaurants Price: $$$ Overall: 4 stars. Â One of my favorite seafood places in the city.