As people flock to popular areas, such as Park Slope, and as they evolve and grow as result, the line of where a particular neighborhood actually begins or ends tends to blur a bit.
Such is the case with the area south of the Slope and north of Sunset Park. Most agree that its not Sunset Park, but is it South Slope? Is it Greenwood Heights? Or is that just one of those made up names concocted by real-estate brokers looking to create the next new neighborhood?
Whatever you choose to call this place, what is undeniable is the sudden increase of quality bars and restaurants options in the area.
Sea Witch on Fifth Avenue, between 21st and 22nd streets, which opened this past December is arguably the best reason to travel to this area. In place of nautical knick knacks, the sea-themed bar sports a wall-sized mural with mystical sea creatures and an extra large fish tank behind the bar.
During daylight hours, the large floor to ceiling back windows let in copious amounts of light and give way to what will be a wonderful outdoor area currently under construction.
A well chosen craft beer menu includes 20 on draft such as a brown ale from Allie Every and Lagunitas Sumpin’ Sumpin’. A daily special of a shot of Evan Williams and a Pabst Blue Ribbon is a good deal at $5. Call ahead to inquire about happy hour, as on a recent visit details were still being worked out.
But while the drinks satisfy, the food goes far beyond expectations. The short menu of what appears to be bar staples, are anything but. No longer are the two dirty words “bar food” cause for concern.
The burger, recently named one of the city best new burgers by Time Out New York, could be considered a doppelganger for those at Shake Shack. Both inspired by midwest chain Steak ‘n Shake, the meat from Los Paisanos is a nice, fatty mix of short rib, chuck and brisket and is griddled and served on a soft, lightly toasted Martin’s potato bun. With or without American cheese for just $5.50.
However, the magnificent clam roll for $11, might take the cake. This is a sea themed bar after all. The cornmeal-dredged creamy and sweet whole belly Ipswich clams are lightly fried to absolute perfection with house made tartar sauce to sit atop another potato bun with a piece of iceberg lettuce. (The choice of bun makes it a little difficult to eat, a hot dog bun might be a slight improvement).
One bite instantly transports you to Gosman’s Dock in Montauk, or wherever your happy place might be. Be sure to guard your clams with care or your companions will certainly snatch a few, as I learned the hard way.
Also on the menu are a pork schnitzel sandwich ($6.50), a garlicky, smoky kielbasa and an Indian-spiced veggie cutlet (both for $6). Food is ordered at the bar and a cook brings your order straight from the kitchen out to your table.
With the friendly staff and food like this, Sea Witch would be a welcome addition to any neighborhood.