Without giving too much away, I live in Washington Heights after having lived in the Upper East Side and being deluded by the fact that anything above Harlem wasn’t that great. I would trek down to Columbus Circle or lower to do my shopping. I would only order pick up believing that anything nearby wasn’t up to par. I even only set up meetings in certain areas of Manhattan as my, like I said deluded, beliefs wouldn’t let me search for what my area had to offer. As time when on and my guard quickly dropped, I began looking around my block. A block filled with a gourmet market, celebrity beauty spots, and eatery’s so eclectic it mimicked hotspots of Soho.
Which brings us to our Restaurant Hotspot – Rusty Mackerel. Tucked away on the residential meets commercial street of Pinehurst, lays a very narrow gem offering a diverse menu. It’s actually hard to place the cultural reference as there seemed to be a bit of Mediterranean, Latin meets “fresh”. And though it’s not farm to table per say, Chef James “Mac” Moran (head chef and owner), strives to offer as much as possible while staying cognizant of where and how ingredients were handled. Plus they offer a variety of specially mixed drinks designed by their in-house mixologist Jess Miller.
A group of men I met during my dinner raved about Rusty Mackerel exclaiming they visit almost “once a week.” They even suggested a set menu of what to order, and what order to order in, to get the real experience. Which is rare for any restaurant I’ve visited in the world. Everyone comes in, selects a meal, and pays no mind to those around them. And though I respect and understand that sort of atmosphere, Rusty Mackerel innately creates a familial situation where you’re surrounded by people who want you have join in on their festivities without being overbearing or forced. It’s a true community inside and outside the restaurant.
My favorite dishes: Soft Shell Crab, Jersey Corn and Pickled Ramps; Cod Croquettes with Saffron Aioli; and Heirloom Tomato Salad, Basil, Sea Salt, and Black Garlic Ice Cream (it’s even better than it sounds…trust).
Drinks you must enjoy: I don’t remember its name, but it consists of Fresh Pressed Watermelon Juice, Lemon, and Jalapeño Tequila. We’ll just call it “Drunk in Love.”
We can’t promise everything we had will be available when you do visit, but we can promise everything you have will be mouthwateringly delicious. And keep coming back. Chef Mac has a lot up his culinary sleeve that may or may not consist of nurturing a neighborhood beehive to create more honey inspired meals.