Beautiful Venue, Lackluster Food at Fish Urban Dining

Fish Urban Dining, now open in Ridgewood, offers an unimpressive dining experience.

There is a wow-factor when you enter Fish Urban Dining in Ridgewood. The 11,000-square foot space, which was originally a bank, has soaring ceilings with massive chandeliers, dramatic large windows that are almost ceiling high. The bank vault is now used as a private dining space. There are marble pillars that were previously used on the bank-teller windows and the white clothed tables are set far apart. Ocean-themed black and white pictures don the walls along with sconces that reminded us of coral. The long bar offers small appetizers, sandwiches, sliders and salads, and has three TV sets. The room was prettier than the food.

Fish Urban Dining was opened in July by Karen and Jim DeGilio, managing partners of City By The Sea Hospitality Group. They also own Fish Urban Dining and Cibo e Vino, both located in Asbury Park. Executive chef is Mike DeMiltia, who previously worked at the Central Park Boathouse and Hudson River Club, both in Manhattan.

The menu features a raw bar, fish appetizers and entrees, soups, salads, pastas, a few options for non-fish eaters and desserts. Corn bread madeleines with butter are brought to the table when seated. Starters were three tiny and doughy shrimp empanadas accompanied by a charred tomatillo dipping sauce. Opt for something else. Grilled oysters were also a disappointment, as they were bland and gritty and we could not taste the lemon, thyme, tarragon and Parmasean butter that was suppose to accompany them. Monkfish with a molasses glaze was overcooked and dry and the lobster hash, which was created with potato cubes, onions, red pepper and lobster claw meat, may have been tastier with some added salt or pepper, but neither was on the table. Porcini-crusted wolfish had a flavorful tomato-basil broth and was served with ricotta gnocchi and asparagus. Desserts were the best part of our meal. A Key-lime pie was constructed with graham cracker cookie resting on top of Key-lime curd. A mound of lip-puckering, lime-infused whipped cream completed this dish. A high-quality dulce de leche and pistachio gelato from A Piece of Cake in Rahway was thoroughly enjoyed.

The wine list ranges from $23 to $325 with many in the $50 and up range. Kudos to the waiter who offered to give us a taste of the wine before we ordered it. Flights are also available, which is a great way to introduce yourself to new vintages.

Fish Urban Dining
54 E Ridgewood Avenue

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Porcini crusted wolfish with ricotta gnocchi, asparagus and a tomato basil broth

Photo courtesy of Lowell Saferstein

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