East Village Eats

Food & Drink recommendations straight from the East Village, New York City

Desnuda Revisited

Posted on | July 26, 2011 | 4 Comments

Desnuda InteriorIs it possible for a restaurant to do a complete u-turn?  Can a leopard change it’s spots?  Honestly, I would have answered no, but I’ve been proven wrong.  After the debacle that was my first visit to Desnuda (recounted here), I reluctantly returned this weekend.

It was a Sunday, so the dollar oysters that had caused so much grief last time were on the menu.  We got a seat at the end of the bar & ordered some beer along with 18 oysters.  We weren’t told what type they were, so I assumed that they’d be Blue Points (which I’m not a big fan of).  Luckily, they turned out to be Beausoleils from New Brunswick, Canada (I was able to find out quite a bit about the oysters using The Mermaid Inn‘s awesome Oysterpedia app).

Served on a bed of sea salt, it looked good, but perhaps my skills were lacking. I loved the briny saltwater taste of the oyster liquor (the residual liquid left in a shucked oyster), but quickly realized that most of this was the salt clinging to both my fingers & the shell of the oyster.  There were 3 toppings served with the oysters; a simple mignonette, a relish of sorts (bland) & an insanely spicy 3rd option.  The relish proved to be the most disappointing, but mixing the 1st & 3rd was sublime.

Seared Sea Bass CevicheWe powered through the oysters & decided to try one of the specials that sounded too good to miss. Sea Bass Ceviche ($20) seared to order.  Basically small, thinly sliced, pieces of Sea Bass marinated in Kafir Lime rind, Soya Sauce & Ponzu Sauce, then hit with piping hot sesame seed oil (horribly blurry picture here) to sear the fish.  I cannot put into words how good this dish was.

My only gripes are the chef’s lack of interest in engaging his customers (perhaps he remembered me from my 1st visit) & the size of the place.  It’s absolutely tiny & you’ll find yourself shuffling to let people past to the bathroom.  There is ridiculous ironwork under the bar (purely aesthetic) that’ll leave your knees scraped up like a Hunt’s Point hooker if anyone tries to pass by.  The ceviches are overpriced to subsidize the $1 oysters, but Desnuda is still worth a visit (great beer selection).  Just don’t expect warm service & legroom.

Desnuda: 122 East 7th St. between 1st Avenue & A


4 Responses to “Desnuda Revisited”

  1. Deb
    July 26th, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    Have you seen the salt slabs from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com. Talk about making everything taste better! I wonder if it would be the same as a “salt bed”?

  2. Angela
    July 27th, 2011 @ 6:18 am

    Walked past this place a bunch of times and have been wanting to try. BTW, love the new site design!

  3. Jason Casséus
    July 27th, 2011 @ 6:46 am

    Desnuda is good again. Glad I went back. Thanks for he design compliment, the font size is a bit small, but I think it works.

  4. Goat Town Puts The Backyard To Work : East Village Eats
    July 28th, 2011 @ 10:48 am

    […] I applaud them for using the space to grow ingredients (perhaps noise prevented them from putting tables out there, I already know that there have been complaints from the open windows in the front), but it does seem a bit late in the season to be planting.  I’ve already wrote about how much I love the food here, but the place does continue to impress me.  On the menu were St. Simon oysters from New Brunswick,  Canada (Similar to the Beausoleil oysters I recently had at Desnuda). […]

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