Alex Raij and Eder Montero are experts at creating charming Spanish gems. Mostly renowned for putting their own spin on Basque tapas in welcoming dining rooms in Brooklyn (La Vara) and Manhattan (El Quinto Pino and Txikito), the duo decided to go in a slightly different direction with their new seafood concept, Saint Julivert Fisherie. Their edible inspirations guide diners through micro trips to global ports of call, sailing them from Grecian beach towns to the coasts of Peru and Portugal. What remains in Cobble Hill, though, is the seasoned perspective they infuse into every dish that comes out of their kitchen.
Saint Julivert really puts the “fish” in Fisherie.
There are no fewer than a dozen types of seafood represented on the small-plates menu. Some dishes are true-to-form throwbacks to Raij and Montero’s previous Spanish-inspired endeavors. The paper-thin octopus carpaccio—a Txikito staple—remains an elegant crowd-pleaser, as do the snackable Cantabrian anchovies soaked in sweet butter and the mussels en conserva marinated with pimentón aioli.
Where the kitchen truly tests its culinary limits is when it swims away from the Iberian Peninsula. Saint Julivert’s version of a tuna bake, toasted in a cast-iron casserole dish and tossed in a rich tomato sauce tinged with Middle Eastern flavors like turmeric and curry leaves, trumps your mom’s any day of the week (sorry, Mom). The kanpachi collar, meanwhile, looks like no other seafood dish you’ve encountered in New York, resembling what I’d best describe as an underwater boomerang. When robustly rubbed with Jamaican jerk seasonings, it tastes like nothing else you’ve had before, too—in a very good way!
The accompaniments steal the show.
Mayonnaise whipped with vanilla sitting underneath late-season tomatoes. Saltines fried to a nutty, golden crisp alongside Peruvian ceviche. A Portuguese steak sandwich slathered with lardo. Much like in the movies, the supporting characters turn good dishes into exceptional ones.
A coastal-inspired wine list steers you away from Napa and Tuscany.
The selection of seaside wines dares you to try something new. Only die-hard oenophiles will know wineries like Andrović off the Pelješac Peninsula, Uruguay’s Bodega Garzon, and the biodynamic Georgas Family east of Athens, but you’ll be drinking like you’re in the know all night long. If you’re determined to rosé to the break of dawn, the complex grapefruit and tarragon notes inside a glass of Idlewild’s The Flower is well worth a few sips.
High-end dishes are balanced with laid-back hospitality.
While Raij and Montero’s dishes lure you in, it’s the sense of community that will keep you coming back. Waiters casually greet you with a “Good seeing you!” and stop by to chat during breaks in service. Comparing tasting notes with diners sitting nearby will feel natural, not intrusive. And if you’re so lucky to land a kitchen-facing bar seat, the sous chefs will happily give you the inside scoop on the food they’re about to send out, while gently cutting avocados for the guacamole and using tweezers to place herbs atop pickled shrimp. Getting to know your neighbors has never been so tasty.