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Penny

Christine Drinan, Founder

There are some new spots that you know will be on the scene for a hot second. And then there are some that are way overhyped. Neither is the case of Penny restaurant, a new seafood counter in the heart of the Village. This is the review.

Atmosphere

Located on the second floor above Claud wine bar, Penny has a clear identity from the start. You know you’re entering a casual seafood restaurant, yet the attention to detail and the premium materials take the decor to that next elevated level. There’s a beautiful bar with a marble countertop that you know is expensive that is the focal point of the primarily bar seating dining room. In lieu of uncomfortable bar seats though, you have custom stools that are sleek in design but also supremely comfortable. You could sit there for hours if there wasn’t such a long wait as the restaurant is mostly walk-in only. I loved the color accents of the room and particularly the brass and elegant lavender table lamps that are built into the bar. If you are into design and like the less is more approach, you’ll appreciate the atmosphere of Penny.

The bar is also the kitchen for the cold items of Penny restaurant, where the chefs churn out the creations like a sushi chef would. The place is done up to perfection for the seafood bar that it is.

As far as the other guests go, pretty much everyone in Penny at this point is a real foodie and local New Yorker. It’s like you’re all in it together as your mind is blown by how the food, like the decor, could be so subtly yet clearly elevated. People are stoked to be there. This is a perfect place to come with a plus one or two of people who love food.

Food + Wine

Before I had the chance to drop in, I thought that Penny would be a version of Mary’s Fish Camp. (Which I love, by the way, and am quite sad to hear that Mary’s Fish Camp is closing at the end of April). Instead what I found was the Le Bernardin of casual seafood restaurants. Like the decor subtly elevates the atmosphere of Penny restaurant, it’s also that same nuanced approach with the food. I didn’t quite understand how a raw bar could inspire so much discussion until I had Penny’s rendition. You know they are breaking out the court bouillon and enlisting some sort of magic sorcery as the ice box took a raw bar for me to a level I haven’t quite yet experienced.

That Ice Box Though

The shrimp was perfectly poached and sweet. The mussels had the perfect amount of olive oil. Even if you don’t like clams, you will at least like or love Penny’s version. The oysters were so sweet that they melted in my mouth. The mignonette was an example of the small details that make the big difference. The mignonette was presented where half of the sauce had finely diced shallots and the other half had cucumber. Kind of like the “divorced fish” concept of Contramar. The star for me though was the sea scallop dressed in citrus and seaweed. It had the perfect amount of flaky salt and was beyond fresh. The icebox could potentially serve two but I ate it all on my own.

Other Notable Dishes

I double downed on the clams and ordered the razor varietal. The clams were topped with delicately pickled carrot, celery and cauliflower-ettes and drizzled parsley oil. In lieu of the squid stuffed with a tuna “sausage” that is a Penny crowd favorite, I opted for the $49 caviar beggars purse. This dish was a crepe stuffed with raw diced scallops, creme fraiche and lemon zest topped with a dollop of caviar. I like anything caviar and was happy I had my curiosity satiated, but I probably wouldn’t splurge on it again. Instead I would have tried other menu items like the tuna carpaccio I saw them assemble for almost every order.

The Lobster + The Cod with Clams

I normally order the lobster which was also my server’s favorite dish, but instead I opted for the clams and cod with ramps and ramp oil. I drank the broth like it was soup. It was so subtle but so perfectly cooked I couldn’t deal. This dish won’t be enough flavor for everyone, but I liked it because of the flawless execution of the dish.

Don’t Forget the Wine

Although their sister restaurant Claud is a wine bar, I was still surprised at how comprehensive and impressive the wine list is at Penny. They have cool stuff like wines from Jura and a chilled Sicilian red that went perfectly with the seafood. You don’t have to break the bank either to get a good glass or bottle of wine.

Service

For a casual place, you normally get wait staff that’s looking for their next gig. Whether that is the case with the team at Penny, they are clearly loving their work experience. The team is so intimately familiar with the food and can describe it in detail worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant. There’s no pretense at Penny though; servers are friendly and super efficient.

Overall: 8.5/10

One of my favorite restaurants to open this year.

FAQs

Q: Where is Penny restaurant in NYC located?

A: Penny restaurant in NYC is located above its sister restaurant Claud at 90 E 10th St 1st Floor, New York, NY 10003.

Q: Does Penny restaurant take reservations?

A: Penny restaurant in NYC takes very limited reservations. They mostly take walk-ins for a prime seat at the seafood bar.

Q: What are the hours of operation of Penny restaurant?

A: The hours of operation of Penny restaurant are as follows:

Monday
  • 5–10 PM
Tuesday
  • 5–10 PM
Wednesday
  • 5–10 PM
Thursday
  • 5–10 PM
Friday
  • 5–10 PM
Saturday
  • Closed
Sunday
  • Closed

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