Last Updated on October 1, 2020 by Angie
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Fish Nor Fowl in Garfield is creative fine dining at its best. Our recent visit was the second for us, the first being shortly after they opened.
As the menu format is completely different now from when they opened, and we enjoyed the food even more, we felt that our review was due for an update.
Fish Nor Fowl Has a Unique Space in Garfield
Where to begin? The space is unique with long, sleek communal tables on the first floor backed by a wall of plants and with a high ceiling, all contributing to an open and airy minimalist feeling.
The bar is to the back of the restaurant and the kitchen is open to the main dining area, while the second floor of the space is more intimate with private tables.
On our most recent visit we went with friends and were seated at a communal table on the first floor. For sure, the best way to experience Fish Nor Fowl is to bring a group, order every single thing on the menu (which we nearly did), and prepare to be amazed and stuffed.
Our server set the tone for the meal by providing excellent service from the moment we sat down. Questions about obscure cocktail ingredients, flavor profiles of small plates, and how many dishes to order were all handled with ease. Throughout the meal all of the dishes were explained to us as they were served, which was much appreciated given the complexity of each dish.
A Menu Where We Want to Order Everything
The menu is divided into Small, Garden, and Large sections, with the small and garden dishes being appetizers and small plates meant to be shared. As this is one of our favorite ways to eat, we happily ordered several. Small plates of burrata, caviar, agnolotti, and cured foie gras came to our table as they were ready.
The cured foie gras was a classic choice with very thinly sliced pieces – and thankfully so, because this was (obviously) an intensely rich dish. The dish also included vanilla oil and thinly sliced kumquats for some contrasting sweetness and acidity.
While the caviar dish was good, our favorite small plates were the agnolotti and the burrata. The agnolotti seems to be a constant on the menu, which means you should definitely order it: delicate, homemade pasta envelopes a smooth, creamy white bean puree with a deliciously garlicky pesto sauce on top.
This is totally elevated comfort food!
On the opposite end of the taste spectrum, the burrata dish had tons of light and lively flavors that woke up our palates. The creaminess of the burrata contrasted with bitterness and acidity of thinly sliced citrus, fennel, and bitter greens. On paper we weren't sure how the flavors would all come together, but they did in a truly mesmerizing fashion.
Continuing on in our sharing fashion, we all shared several large plates: the strip steak, braised chicken, and cassoulet. The strip steak was dry aged 40 days, cooked sous vide, and finished with a sear, meaning you can actually order this steak medium rare – which we of course did. It was just as juicy and tender as we expected, but honestly the other entrees we tried were even more impressive.
Normally we have a hard time ordering chicken when we dine out, but we were fortunate enough that the braised chicken landed on our table (someone heard we were celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and this came compliments of the kitchen). The dish was described as an almost stroganoff with a creamy rich chicken stew served on top of tender pappardelle pasta. The meat was buttery tender and the whole dish was just what we needed to combat the last of winter's cold days.
Last, but not least, our favorite entree: the tongue and cheek cassoulet. When you want all the meat, check this one out – lamb tongue, pork cheeks, sausage, and bacon all make an appearance in this dish. Definitely an umami bomb, all the meat was supremely tender and was punctuated with little explosions of sweetness and acidity from a mouth-watering fig mostarda.
Don't Skip Drinks or Dessert at Fish Nor Fowl
Dessert was equally well-executed and beautiful. The chocolate dish has undergone an evolution since the last time we dined here; now the chocolate mousse is served alongside a chocolate sorbet with flavors of basil, malt, and espresso. Double chocolate? Sign me up. But the sleeper hit on the dessert menu is the apple tart with an insanely creamy and floral saffron ice cream topping a just sweet enough apple tart with crust so flaky it will melt your heart.
The bar program is also fantastic and you should plan on ordering a few cocktails. The drink menu has changed since the last time we were here; before, each cocktail was paired with a specific food item, but now the drink item is a separate menu. Standouts include the blue algae (yes, the drink is blue!), the courtier, and the sherry old fashioned.
Fish Nor Fowl is One of the City's Finest Restaurants
While we loved this restaurant at its opening, we love it even more now.
The service is excellent, the attention to detail and creativity in the food is fantastic, and, of course, the flavors are impeccably satisfying. You might expect all this to come at an absurd price, but both times we've dined here we indulged quite a bit and felt everything was very appropriately priced for the experience.
If you're looking for a great date night out or for a celebration meal with friends, look no further than Fish Nor Fowl.
Fish Nor Fowl is located at 5523 Penn Avenue in Garfield.
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