It was on one of those recent, unbearably hot days that I dined at Fulton on the Upper East Side. We braved the stifling heat, all sufficiently hungry but unable to get a table inside where it was busy and seemingly louder than the quieter outdoor tables, albeit a pleasant ambience and a casually elegant crowd. We had practically become one with the pavement, melting into the sidewalk and feeling the temperature rise every time a car drove by, but we tempered ourselves with sweating glasses of white wine and light dinner options. Our server was as knowledgeable as could be. He was friendly, upbeat, and extremely patient with all of our questions and abundance of indecisiveness. His pleasant, fun, eager attitude reminded me of Tyler Florence’s personality on ‘Tyler’s Ultimate.’ I couldn’t believe how stellar his performance was considering the fact that he was wearing dark blue jeans in the heat. The crab cake appetizer was decidedly the best crab cake I have ever eaten. It was moist and creamy, without the small bits of crab and pieces of pepper and panko separating from each other. Both the green salad and the arugula salad were impeccably fresh and appropriately sized. The grilled octopus, as seen in the photo, was perfectly cooked so that it was neither too chewy nor too fishy yet. It had that ‘grill’ flavor, that ‘grill’ smell. The whole branzino was also grilled to perfection, and I overheard other Fulton regulars choosing the same option, mentioning how often they frequent the restaurant and order this light, filling white fish. Even though the suffocating heat had not lifted by 10pm, we decided against a cool sorbet or homemade ice cream flavor and opted for the warm, mixed berry crumble with almond struesel and brown butter ice cream. I shamelessly monopolized the small ramekin, breaking the crisp, crumbly topping, scooping dripping, sweet, plump blueberries onto my spoon, and dipping it into the vanilla ice cream before shoveling the dollop into my mouth. Between the heat, the crumble, the fish, and the intermittent ice cubes, I had a feeling of fullness that could have only been cured with a walk up to Carnegie Hill and back (if only it weren’t so brutally hot). As if the service were not exceptional enough, we were each rewarded with adorable, complimentary cookies, presented in cellophane bags and tied with a ribbon. Beautiful presentations and fantastic fare, I highly recommend this refreshingly ‘downtown’ seafood restaurant on the upper east side.
Categories: Restaurant Review