Oysters at Clark’s Oyster Bar

Martini + Hamster at Clark’s
Clark’s Oyster Bar is dangerously close to my house, and appeals to my need for nice atmospheres, over the top service, potent martinis, and fresh seafood.  The ambiance is perfect, despite the small space, and everything about the experience is pleasant. It’s simple luxury, nothing too seemingly flashy… Only the price.
Peanut Butter Jelly Time
 I like coming here during the day. Lots of windows means basking in the sunlight, while servers in deck shoes pass out bread with sea salt to freshly seated patrons. The partner and I are a bit obsessed with trying all kinds of oysters, and chose to mix and match several. (They have 12 different varieties!) The prices range from $2.75 to $3.25 each. They definitely were some of the best oysters we’ve had in town, despite putting a (fake) mortgage on our (non-existent) house to pay for them.

Oysters!
The drinks were fair in price at about $10 per martini. If oysters aren’t your thing, but seafood still is, you can have their ever-so-popular red snapper ceviche, clam chowder, catch of the day, or even their $24 crab cake. In defense of that crab cake, it’s all crab, and very little “cake.”

The only thing stopping me from a weekly jaunt is the price. Maybe they’re worth it? Maybe it’s a tad too much? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Trapped in Manhattan


Specialty Rolls at Jing
I recently got back from a trip to Manhattan, and I thought I’d share some of the deals I found. Admittedly, I was wandering around aimlessly through Hell’s Kitchen back and forth from a fashion trade show, but I actually found some good stuff! For starters, Jing, a Chinese and sushi restaurant in the famous “Restaurant Row” of Hell’s Kitchen. Decent, cheap, but nothing worth going back to (unless you too wind up lost and hungry in that part of the city). It did the trick, and was particularly easy on the wallet.
 Let’s move on to bigger, and better things:


Lentil Soup (surprisingly flavorful!) at Rafaella
On a particularly cold and miserable day, I decided to stop into Rafaella in Chelsea (near Hell’s Kitchen). The signs boasted of “Lunchtime Happy Hour!” and I was sold.
Salad with Smoked Salmon at Rafaella
Lunch specials run Mon-Thurs from 12-4, and feature a fantastic wine list at a discount. I chose a bubbly, knowing that usually the bubbly is exempt from most discounts, but nooooooope! My bubbly was half off too! High-five, Rafaella!


 The staff is French, the guests do not seem to be local, and guess what? THEY HAVE A SCOUTMOB DEAL! I normally wouldn’t have noticed, but I’m an avid Foursquare user and caught wind of the discount. That meant my booze was half off for the happy hour, and my lunch was the same for me having found the deal. Hopefully it’s still going on, if so, take advantage!

My take on the food? It was great for the price that I got.

Tapas at L’Ybane
 I think I died and went to happy hour heaven at least twice in New York. I found deals left and right, which made the business trip feel more like a vacation (at least for a few hours). One of the best deals I found was at L’Ybane. French staff, dim candle-lit tables, and one hell of a “Chef’s Choice” $20 deal later… I’m completely in love. The aforementioned deal, which my table ordered two of, is enough to make everyone full with plates still spilling off the table. Expect a ton of cheese, olive oil, and dolmas. None of these are a bad thing.
Scallop Ceviche at Fish
I was trying to do this thing in chronological order, but I can’t save the best for last. Fish is absolutely my favorite place in Manhattan. They have this deal called “Red, White, & Blue” where you get a glass of red or white wine and six Blue Point oysters for $8. It’s good. Sooooo good.
Red, White, & Blue at Fish
 The oysters and wine were one of the most obscenely beautiful deals I saw in all my time in Manhattan. It was great. I would go back. That ceviche in the other picture? They need to offer something crunchy with it. Who just spoons ceviche?? Is that an Austin thing? I loved it, I just wanted crackers, chips, something…
 The last thing I will mention is Kodama. One of the best, most wallet-friendly sushi places I found near the theatre district. Also? We were the only white people in there. I don’t know how to take that, but considering that most people weren’t speaking English, I have a good feeling that we were onto something good. 




Brunch at Hillside Farmacy

I admit to being less than dazzled by Hillside Farmacy the first time I ate there, but a follow-up visit about a month later really won me over. Fresh seafood? Yes, please.


The cost of a cocktail is a bit on the pricey side, and the same goes for mimosas. If you have to have a drink with your breakfast (I know I do!) I think the carafe is the most affordable way to go. The orange juice is super pulpy, which I view as a mega-plus.


The croque monsieur (shown above) was a big hit with my partner. He had a pretty bad experience with a grilled cheese-like sandwich, the “dough well done,” on our first visit so I’d steer clear of that one. 


The smoked salmon was a hit with both of us, except for the cole slaw, which is a matter of personal preference. I HATE COLE SLAW!


As pretty as those boiled shrimp look, they weren’t really worth it. Don’t get me wrong, they taste fine. I just can’t justify what you get for the cost on that one. It’s extremely plain, but maybe you’ll be into it; who knows?


As adorable as the food and space are at this hip, little gem… I must confess that the seating is extremely uncomfortable and tables are painfully small. 

Pro-tip: They have half-off all oysters every Monday!

All in all, do I like Hillside? I love it! Grab that citrusy delicious crab salad and a carafe, and go have brunch!

Dinner at Lucy’s Fried Chicken


For Lucy’s Fried Chicken, I’m going to paste my Yelp review since it was pretty accurate, and contains all that I wanted to say:

I really want to give this place 4 stars, but it’s kind of hard after you almost choked on oyster shell pieces in 10 of the 12 you ordered (not to mention after having tasted the quality oysters at Parkside, they weren’t that great). Now for the good stuff:

*Awesome staff: They’re extremely friendly and comped aforementioned “choking hazard oysters.”

*Cute location: It’s just past the main drag of South Congress, and I like the kitsch.

*Decently priced wine: Holy moly! I can drink a glass for under $6 that DOESN’T come from a box that tastes like poison? (Maybe they deserve those 4 stars after all.)

*Enormous portions of good, fried chicken.

All in all, I like it. Being that I am pescatarian- oysters were the only thing, aside from a vegetable skewer or potatoes, that I could eat. My partner had the chicken, and I’m pretty sure he’ll go back for more. Parking is rough, and I’d kill to see them add some more affordable bubbles to the list since fried chicken and Champagne were made for each other.

Pro-tip: Sit at the bar when there’s a wait, it’s full service!

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