Uptown’s Latest Catch: East Pole Fish Bar


Photos by Liz Clayman

As far as reliable local dining goes, Upper East Siders have come to look to Tom and Anthony Martignetti, the restaurateurs behind trusty standbys The East Pole, Pizza Beach, and Eastfield’s—and with good reason. These are boîtes where the food is great and the vibe is just right—offering a little escape inside the neat design of each establishment’s walls. And now there’s a new catch to be had, which, since opening last October, is proving to be an equally satisfying member of the family: The East Pole Fish Bar, at 964 Lexington Avenue.This isn’t your ordinary fish bar; it’s an expansion of the popular 65th Street staple The East Pole, serving up more fish and seafood dishes in a swank environment that makes you feel like you’re stepping onto a yacht. Following an ethos of seasonal and sustainable food, executive chef Joseph Capozzi works with some of the best local fish purveyors, from Island Creek Oysters to Montauk fishermen, to create a stimulating seafood menu.Keeping with the simple elegance of the original East Pole, The East Pole Fish Bar is outfitted in teak wood instead of walnut, and brass shelving instead of steel, which create a mid-century nautical feel like that of a vintage Riva yacht. The effect: as if you’re dining on board. The modern-classic design by owner Anthony Martignetti features marble floors, navy blue lacquer walls, and teak wood tables shimmering with a marine yacht varnish. The unmistakable curved-glass façade located on a landmark Lexington Avenue building has become a welcome new fixture to the neighborhood.Chef Capozzi offers dinner nightly and brunch on weekends. The all-fish menu includes a full raw bar, with the exception of one meat dish: a New York strip steak. Signature dinner options include sharable starters such as fried oyster sliders, a torched wild salmon roll, and peekytoe crab salad, while main dishes include a scrumptious lobster burger, shrimp and squid tempura, grilled striped bass, and roasted corn and clam chowder. There’s always a fresh catch, which comes with two market sides.“We have had this project in mind for years, but were waiting on the landmark commission to permit building a gas kitchen in the rear of the building,” says owner Anthony Martignetti. Tom Martignetti adds: “With both Anthony and I living in the 70s on the Upper East Side, we are extremely pleased and excited to bring a sister restaurant to the flagship East Pole in a neighborhood we love.”Continuing to work with small-production wineries from around the world, The East Pole Fish Bar has a curated wine list that specializes in under-the-radar sparkling wines, along with limited-edition and vintage wines by the glass—including high-end natural white and orange wines that complement the fish-driven menu. Though certainly a dinner destination in its own right, The East Pole Fish Bar is also a sort of cocktail lounge—a much-needed destination in the area for late-night dining and great cocktails. After all, it is a Broome Street Hospitality Restaurant from the Martignetti brothers, and the flavor of that downtown street name certainly holds its own uptown.