It’s very difficult for a restaurant to truly have something for everyone. A steakhouse might have a couple fish or pasta dishes on the menu, but they’re usually perfunctory. A seafood spot might have chicken on the menu, but don’t expect it to be spectacular. The Sea Fire Grill, a standby located in East Midtown, on the other hand, has somehow mastered every aspect of the dining experience: The seafood is fresh and cooked perfectly, the steaks are steakhouse-quality, service is flawless, the wine list is extensive and reasonably-priced, and the dining room is comfortable and well-appointed. We had the opportunity to dine there recently at the invitation of the restaurant, and we’d recommend it without reservation.
Diners enter through a sleek 12-seat bar room, and the long dining room is divided into two distinct sections. Racks of wine line some of the walls, and lighting is dim and has a slight bluish tint. Chandeliers hang overhead. The wait staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and professional, and more than willing to make suggestions without being pushy.
We started with a generous seafood sampler, loaded with East and West Coast oysters, clams, shrimp, jumbo lump crab, and chilled lobster, which the server removed from the shell tableside (if you’re looking to splurge on caviar, three different varieties are available, complete with all the fixings). Other appetizers include a jumbo lump crab cake (with big chunks of crab); a sweet Madagascar prawn with chipotle mayo, grilled pineapple, fennel salad, and kumquats; filet mignon steak tartar; and Spanish octopus with romesco, baby potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and Kalamata olives.
Seafood is flown in daily, and is featured in entrées including blackened Montauk swordfish with panzanella and arugula salad; roasted Nova Scotia Halibut with lemon gnocchi, fava beans, kale chimichurri, and beurre blanc; Atlantic cod with fennel cream, Romanesco, rainbow cauliflower, and celery; and whole Maine lobsters (stuffed with crab if you choose) and Alaskan King crab legs; While most seafood restaurants tend to present their seafood as-is with little accompaniment, Sea Fire’s seafood is the centerpiece of a composed dish. Steaks are dry-aged for three weeks in-house, and include filet mignon, bone-in New York strip, bone-in ribeye, and a porter house for two. Rack of lamb, pan-roasted chicken with farro risotto, and filet mignon with maitake mushrooms and cippolini onions are also available, as are sides including herb fries, sweet and spicy Brussels sprouts, lobster mac and cheese, shishito peppers, and creamed spinach.
The restaurant’s piece de resistance, however, has to be the surf and turf. Instead of the expected lobster tail-filet duo, Sea Fire’s variation starts with a nine-ounce filet mignon and is topped with generous portions of de-shelled fresh lobster, shrimp, and king crab, all atop beurre blanc and red wine reduction. It’s the height of opulence, and it’s simply astounding. If there’s room for dessert, we suggest the warm gingerbread cake, classic crème brûlée, or a creative cheese plate.
The Sea Fire Grill should be on anyone’s short list for his or her next special occasion or celebratory meal. It’s very rare that we encounter a restaurant that provides guests with an essentially flawless experience, but our meal at Sea Fire was stellar from start to finish.