Ed's Chowder House

When something isn't working, it's best to go back to the drawing board -- David Bowie dropped his failed folk act and garnered wild success as an androgynous alien, while Michael Bolton gave up hard rock to become the same. Doing a 180 in the old Centercut space, Ed's Chowder House.

Hitting you with uncluttered, ultra-fresh, East Coast "sea shack cuisine" from Michelin-starred chef Ed Brown, ECH twists its predecessor's meaty surrounds to look the coastal-classy part, tailoring the mahogany-paneled dining room w/ Cape Cod-ish white & blue striped wallpaper, wicker furniture, fishermen-centric artwork, and a raw bar; white paneling also recasts a barroom intended as a snacking/tippling stopover before dining or hitting the hotel's roof (tip: claim you were only trying to stop it from drunk driving). On the comfortingly familiar side, there're five different styles of chowder (e.g., New England, sweet corn, Manhattan-style blue crab), towering platters of fresh shellfish, lobster stuffed in rolls or served bake-style in a cast iron pot with corn/littlenecks/new potatoes, and simple roasted/grilled/steamed fish (some served whole), including local fluke, Chatham cod, Montauk striped bass, and weakfish, whose girlfriend has to open jars for it. More evolved fare includes starters like Caesar salad w/ crisp oysters, tuna tartare with quail egg, and scallop ravioli; entrees such as herb crusted skate w/ horseradish mashed potatoes and Atlantic salmon w/ creamy leeks and red wine; and lobster done up grilled w/ vegetables over spaghetti, planted in creamy risotto, or baked in a pie featuring a crust of oyster crackers, so named for outfitting their shells with gun racks.

For odd-hour eaters, the bar serves its own all-day menu of stuff like chowder, tuna sliders, burgers, striped bass sandwiches, and fish n' chips, plus a range of frosty craft beers (Blue Point Toasted Lager, Ommegang Rare Vos, Goose Island Stout...) and cocktails including Mai Tai's, various Bloodies, and Hemingway Daiquiris, so strong you won't even notice when Michael Bolton lands and commences probing you.