Catch is a multilevel restaurant in the middle of the Meatpacking District, and the Third Musketeer in EMM Group (the hospitality team behind Abe & Arthur’s and Lexington Brass). But at this newest venture, don’t expect to find much red meat. Top Chef winner Hung Huynh goes strictly seafood, and that’s not a bad thing. The menu features mostly small plates and a handful of entrees all from the ocean, which is fitting since your table will undoubtedly be above sea level.
You’d think a three-story, 14,000 square foot restaurant in the heart of Meatpacking would be a cinch to find, but when it’s disguised as a nightclub, it might throw you off. Once you pass the suited-up gentleman guarding the door (which is really on 13th Street), take the elevator up to Catch’s main lounge, where you’ll be greeted by a friendly hostess who will either escort you to one of their bar areas or to your table. Sure, there’s a bouncer and an elevator, but the vibe is still relaxed and the service is far from pretentious. Oh, and the music is pretty sweet too.
Even if you exclude the wide sushi selection, the menu has a lot of Asian influences to it. But with an extensive raw bar, mussels and “simply cooked” fish entrees, there’s a diverse mix of seafood dishes to choose from. Sharing is encouraged, so split an entree and start with a few hot and cold small plates (we liked the MRC Roll, Hamachi Tartare, Crunchy Rice Cakes and Red Mussels, particularly for its bread-dipping purposes). If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask your server for his/her recommendations. The real Catch? The pretzel bread with honey mustard butter that they serve while you wait.
On any night of the week, dining among you could be a group of [bridge and tunnel] girls dressed to the nines, a former Top Chef contestant, businessmen devouring towers of seafood, a booth of 20-something Europeans, and an Oscar-nominated actor.
The space may accommodate nearly 300 people, but it’s still in your best interest to make a reservation; it can get pretty packed, even during the week. While the first two floors are for dining, the third floor is for drinking – head upstairs to their glass-enclosed penthouse lounge and try one of their specialty cocktails. Inquire about their private event options.
Small plates & sushi around $14-22; Entrees average $30; Big fish platters & seafood towers from $78-115.
March 29, 2012