It’s the Last Week For Fishtail’s Special October $5 Menu (I Recommend the Burger + Oysters)
Sit down restaurants are not really what Midtown Lunch is all about. Sure, the $10 price cap disqualifies most of them, but even so… ML is about adventure, and value, and finding something different. Everybody knows that if you are willing to shell out the cash, and have a couple hours to spare, there are tons of delicious lunches to be had in New York City. This site is about finding the less expensive options that save you from eating boring turkey sandwiches and build your own salad every day for lunch.
But every so often, a deal comes along from a fancy sit down restaurant that is just too good to ignore (like Del Frisco’s $9.95 steak tips bar menu loophole- since closed.) So when I read about Fishtail’s new October $5 menu, I had to go check it out.
Fishtail is a David Burke restaurant, specializing in seafood (natch), just outside the Midtown Lunch boundaries (on 62nd and btw. Mad+Lex.) But when I heard I could get a burger and oysters for under $10 for lunch, I knew it would be worth traveling those extra couple of blocks into the only-place-worse-than-Midtown known as the Upper East Side.
Their special October fest menu is clearly not as good as the regular menu, but it’s nothing to turn your nose up at. There’s raw oysters (5), raw clams (5), a hamburger, a tuna burger, or a portabello burger, plus French fries, and milkshakes. And the best part is, everything on the menu is $5. So choose only two (and ignore tax and tip) and you’ve got yourself a Midtown Lunch. For me, it was a pretty easy choice: burger and oysters!
I’m a huge fan of oysters, and while 5 bluepoints for $5 is shocking expensive for somebody like me (who has done most of their oyster eating in New Orleans), for New York it doesn’t really get any better than this. The oysters were a good size, and really tasty. Squeeze of lemon juice, dip in the cocktail sauce, with a bite of bread chaser and we were in business. The cocktail sauce could have used more horseradish, but what are you going to do. This ain’t the bayou.
As for the burger, it’s a seasoned patty served on an english muffin- you can pay extra for cheese or bacon, but I wanted to keep the lunch under $10. I forgot to say I wanted the burger medium rare, and the waiter forgot to ask so I ended up with an overcooked to my taste medium burger. Not the best burger to be had in Midtown, but for $5 it was completely worth it.
Don’t like oysters? Fishtail’s shoestring fries are awesome. Nuff said.
As for the other sandwiches on the menu, I didn’t try the portobello burger- but I did sample the “big eye” tuna burger. I’ll just say this… avoid. I’m sure they’re not making any money on this entree for $5, but you’re still obviously getting the bits and pieces with some filler, and I didn’t really like the heavy char the grill left on the burger. The smokiness completely masked the flavor of the tuna, which is probably the point when you get a burger made up of tuna leftovers. I’m sure some people won’t mind it, but for me I like my tuna super expensive and rare (or slightly seared), or cheap and in spicy tuna roll form. The whole charred, smoky thing just didn’t do it for me. (Their tuna tartare tacos, available at dinner, on the other hand… delicious!)
I saw somebody else order a milkshake, and they’re kind of small for the price… but I can’t imagine they taste bad. All in all, despite not liking the tuna burger, it’s still a great deal… especially if you stick with the burger and fries or oysters. They also have desserts, so if you’ve got a sweet tooth maybe burger + dessert will be your thing. Whatever you do, just hurry up… because the deal is only available weekdays at lunch, or after 10pm, for the month of October. You can find the full menu here. [PDF]
Fishtail, 135 E 62nd St (btw. Park+Lex), 212-754-1300