Upstate in East Village

95 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003

Craving seafood on a Friday night, per usual, I scoured the Internet for good options near home.  Upstate popped up a number of times as a low key beer and oysters kind of shack.  They are known for simplicity and freshness.  Sounded good to me.  I hear that normally there is always a wait on weekend nights but we managed to arrive right when a table of two was leaving – score!  We ordered 10 oysters ($2.50-$2.75 each), two of each: Sheepscot River (ME), Fanny Bay (BC), Kumamoto (CA), Hammersley (Puget Sound), and Skookum (WA).  Notice how we only ordered one East Coast type… both LAW and I prefer creamy sweet oysters to briney ones.  Kumamoto oysters won by far, as expected!

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love scallops and will typically always order the scallop dish if there is one.  Well, since I started buying scallops on my own, I’ve stopped this nonsense because scallops are so darn expensive and petty at restaurants.  Case in point.  The scallop special ($18) included four very fresh steamed (I think?) scallops over a bed of summer slaw (zucchini and cucumbers), drizzled with olive oil and vinegar.  It was suuuuuuper simple and very healthy tasting.  I quite liked it and thought that the fresh, sweet scallops went very well with the veggies.  LAW thought it all tasted just a bit too healthy and was not quite filling enough.  I’ll have to agree with the not-quite-filling enough part… four scallops with zero grease equates to an appetizer portion in my mind.  I could definitely have two portions of these, easily!

LAW had the Soft Shell Crab special ($21 I believe… can’t remember).  The dish was well-seasoned (though I wish I had more of the ketchup chili sauce on the side) and the crabs tasted fresh.  Again, the portion was a bit too small for an entree.  The crabs topped a bed of corn and tomatoes, which freshened up the deep fried crab.  Both of our entrees lacked the carbs that we typically need in our meals so we were left a bit… empty.

The serve a complimentary whiskey cake to every table at the end of each meal (yay carbs!).  The whiskey cake was deeeeeeelicious.  It was drenched in a whiskey syrup and was so very moist.  Some parts of the cake were actually so drenched in whiskey that I had to take it a like a shot.  It was a very nice sweet end to a fresh, albeit small, seafood dinner.

Would I come back?  Hmmm… maybe only for oysters and whiskey cake.  Although the seafood was very fresh, the portions are way too tiny to fill me up.  Their prices weren’t extraordinarily low so I know can find equally fresh seafood elsewhere.  Though, on a second thought, if you are not as much of a hefty eater or just want a bite with some great beer (I had the blueberry ale), definitely check this place out.  The scallop dish I had was phenomenal.  Or just come over and I’ll make some for you…


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