Seafood Below Central Park at The Wayfarer

Seafood Below Central Park at The Wayfarer

The Wayfarer is a seafood restaurant with a steak house mentality—an emphasis on the delicate flavors of fresh fish meets the traditional, aesthetic grandiosity of a meat palace, with steaks and hearty sides to satisfy those who’d rather stick to land-sourced fare. Not that one should, that is. Here, seafood shines like the sparkling sea it came from.

The vibe is modern with retro splashes, pop art displayed in the open-layout space, with an indie-pop/golden oldies soundtrack. Edison bulbs hang over groups of business men, well-dressed tourists, and mannered servers. It’s the kind of place where your napkin gets folded as soon as you place it down.

A Sexy Beest (gin, Benedictine, cardamom-honey, yuzu, allspice dram, ginger; pictued below) is a nice way to set the mood, the gin’s sting softened by spiced honey in a coupe glass. East Coast oysters make for brine-y slurps between sips. Food presentation here is a bit theatrical. Deconstructed lobster bisque becomes recognizable once the waiter pours broth onto a creme fraiche-topped disk of diced lobster meat. Creamy without being heavy (no small feat). Braised octopus, one thick tentacle sliced three ways, is tender, and drizzled with rhubarb gastrique alongside charred leeks and garbanzo beans. Salmon is served with crispy skin, vinegary beets and a beet emulsion bath. Five juicy prawns are tossed in a cream sauce with herbs and chopped onion over a bed of avocado.

A Wayfarer nightcap (bison grass-vodka, agave, lime, apple bitters, celery bitters, black cardamom), in a Collins glass and topped with black pepper, was very much like the experience as a whole—refreshing, complex and well executed.

» The Wayfarer, 101 W. 57th St., at Sixth Ave., 212.691.0030, www.thewayfarernyc.com