Blue Water Grill
31 Union Square West, at 16th Street, Union Square, (212) 675-9500
Getting There: N,L,Q,R,W,4,5,6 to 14th Street- Union Square
Blue Water Grill
The royal blue flag that flutters in the breeze above the street in one of Manhattan’s most bustling neighborhoods immediately grabs your attention, in an area where everyone is vying for your business. If a mere flag itself can be prominent in such an area of high energy, the proprietor that proudly displays it should equally stand out. The flag itself is a symbol for Union Square’s Blue Water Grill, a relatively nondescript restaurant if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. In fact, aside from several reddish awnings and umbrellas out on the patio section, and without our trustee smart phone, we may have walked right past it. And while we may not have seen it immediately, we left wondering why it took us so long to try it for the first time.
Restaurant Review: Blue Water Grill
The ambiance inside Blue Water Grill is tasteful, from the clean white uniforms of the waitstaff to the elegant candelabras that adorn the walls and ceiling. For your first time dining at Blue Water Grill, we recommend trying to get both a reservation and a table upstairs overlooking the dining room and raw bar below. Anytime you can get a unique view in New York, you need to take advantage of it. At its essence, Blue Water Grill is a seafood restaurant. Although they do offer a lemon-basil chicken dish ($21) and a ten ounce filet ($32) for meat-lovers, we were here first and foremost to taste the fare from the sea.
The menu here is not vast, which is adequate as long as what is being prepared is exceptional. They offer a full sushi & sashimi menu with both house and specialty rolls ($6 to $14) and three refreshing salad options, including a Thai shrimp salad ($12), with fresh strawberry, papaya, and hearts of palm. We passed on other delicious sounding appetizer options like the cedar wrapped Alaskan king crab ($16) and the freshly made Maryland crab cake ($12.50), and opted for the shrimp dumplings ($10)- tender, shrimp filled noodles, coated in a savory lime coconut sauce, and served with a bed of field greens. The sauce was light and provided a dipping sauce throughout the dinner for our hearty baskets of bread. As one of our guests also dined within the confines of the seasonal restaurant week menu, we were treated to a taste of a mouthwatering goat cheese salad, served with mixed greens and sweet apples- a pleasant complement to the creamy cheese.
Again, while the seafood paella ($29), and olive crusted mahi-mahi ($25) looked delicious while being delivered to other patrons, we had it on good authority to taste the blackened swordfish ($27). Served over a fusion of sweet potato and crabmeat hash, the soupy sauce mixed with the large cut of fish proved to be a perfectly cooked balance of taste harmony. Each bite provided a kick of the spiced fish in concert with the smooth coating of the curried-like sauce, which impressed my pallet sublimely. Similarly the sticky rice that accompanied the incredible ginger-soy lacquered Chilean sea bass ($30), and doused with wasabi vinaigrette may have been the taste of the evening as the sea bass and swordfish battled back and forth for table supremacy. The Chinese broccoli was also a pleasant addition as a side. Finally, the pan seared Atlantic cod mixed the spice of a delicious red pepper puree with a sautéed corn over a bed of spinach and fresh garlic. Needless to say, the plates were being passed around the table for sharing before we wiped them dry.
There might not be enough good things to say about this restaurant. Considering it is a member of the BR Guest family, which in New York City alone manages Ocean Grill, Atlantic Grill, and the Dos Caminos chain to name a few, this restaurant is special. The service from hostess to waitress was impeccable, and not at any point did we even have to ask for anything. There is no better review than when one cannot find something to complain about, and although it may have taken us a couple years too long to try Blue Water Grill, we were so impressed by our experience that we are literally writing a book about it. Well, not a book. But maybe a blog…