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Bait & Hook Opens On 14th Street: How It’s Looking, What It’s Cooking

Photos: Annie Fairman

While one seafood shack prepares to open on the southern border of the East Village, another opened yesterday up on 14th Street.

In the former Meatball Factory space, lobster traps now hang from the ceiling, the bar is embellished with rope, and a captain’s wheel is mounted on the white-tiled west wall. Div Patel, 38, said he and his partners wanted to “open something that this neighborhood didn’t have: seafood.” (Better not tell him about Mermaid Inn).

Executive chef Joe Bachman, 28, was born in Florida, where his family works in commercial crabbing and fishing, and lived in South Carolina before moving to New York eight years ago. There are a couple of nods to those southern roots on the menu (jumbo shrimp and grits with kale, smoked gouda hush puppies), but the fish comes from the Bronx Terminal Market and the raw bar and fried Ipswich clam bellies are pure New England, with most produce coming from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket. Read more…

Fresh Seafood Coming to the Neighborhood, and Perhaps a Fish Market

Little Neck ClamsCourtesy Village Fishmonger Farm-raised littleneck clams are one of the
types of seafood that will be offered through the
“community-supported fishery.”

It’s a common lament at community board meetings: the neighborhood needs a butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Inevitably someone will add, “And a fishmonger!”

If Samantha Lee’s plans come to fruition, one of those neighborhood needs will be filled. She and two partners have founded the Village Fishmonger, a seafood-pickup service modeled on community-supported agriculture — everyone calls them CSAs — that should deliver its first bounty off the boat in September.

Ms. Lee also aims to open a brick-and-mortar location in the East Village sometime early next year. Read more…

On the East River, the Fishing Is Good But How Are the Fish?

IMG_0029Melissa Cronin

On Wednesday, the last day of school, dozens of students hung up their Gone Fishin’ signs – literally. Along the East River esplanade, kids of various ages tried out their angling skills at a fishing clinic hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

“Our goal with fishing clinics is to get people down here to learn about the river,” said Daniel Tainow, the center’s educational director. “We want to teach people that there are things they can do to help protect the quality of the river.”

While kids threw back anything they hooked, a little further up the river, near the Williamsburg Bridge, it was a different story.

“I eat whatever I catch,” said Wilfredo Castro, one of several East Village residents who lounged by their fishing poles. He fishes on the river almost every day. “The ecosystem is healthy. That’s why the fish like it,” he said. Read more…