Brian Owens and chef Todd Mitgang have opened Crave Fishbar, a vibrant, convivial seafood restaurant in Midtown Manhattan. Combining an inspired menu with an elegant setting, it arrives four years after the original Crave Ceviche Bar was destroyed in a tragic crane accident across the street, and recalls the spirit of the former restaurant as Mitgang continues to explore creative new ways to prepare seafood.
Fans of the original location will find its signature Spicy Tuna on Plancha Grilled Yucca at Crave Fishbar, along with a brand new, ever-changing menu of exciting seafood preparations. Appetizers showcase Mitgang’s deft approach to raw fish, such as Local Black Bass Sashimi, Local Fluke Crudo and King Salmon Sashimi with Avocado Puree, while entrees take inspiration from cuisines around the world, with dishes such as Olive Oil Poached Local Hake with Salsa Verde, Lardo and Watermelon and Lobster Curry with Thai Apple and Japanese Eggplant. A selection of pasta and meat dishes, such as Homemade Sheep’s Milk Cavatelli and Vinegar Fried Free Range Chicken Leg, round out the menu. Simple, comforting desserts such as a Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Flourless Chocolate Cake with Cashew Buttercream bring the meal to a sweet and memorable end.
A 25-foot-long marble bar at the front of the restaurant is an inviting spot for dinner with friends or inventive cocktails, including The Captain Melon made with gin, watermelon, St. Germain and kaffir lime, and The Conquistador Negroni, a take on the classic drink made with rum, sherry and aperol. The wine list provides playful sensory descriptions for each bottle and glass, inspiring new and unexpected pairings with Mitgang’s distinctive menu.
Designed by Nicole Cota Studios, the 60-seat space gives guests the feeling that they’re dining in the cabin of a beautiful old ship. Porthole-shaped mirrors, panels of weathered, “wormy chestnut” wood and woolen plaid booths appear as though they are from the quarters of the seamen and captains whose portraits are scattered throughout the restaurant.
An eclectic mix of salvaged materials from the original Crave, along with custom made chairs and tables by furniture company Recycled Brooklyn, contribute to the rustic feel of the space. The restaurant is given a splash of color from deep blue wallpaper decorated with striking patterns of jellyfish and squid. In the private dining room, industrial light fixtures illuminate a sprawling ceiling mural of an octopus above a butcher’s block bar that will soon serve a raw bar menu.
Open for dinner seven days a week, and lunch Monday through Friday, Crave Fishbar has taken its place once again as a neighborhood fixture, providing regulars and newcomers alike with an approachable and sophisticated menu in a vibrant setting.
Todd Mitgang, Chef/Partner
Over a decade of culinary experience has helped make Chef Todd Mitgang one of the driving forces behind Crave Fishbar, a lively new neighborhood restaurant in Midtown Manhattan where guests can enjoy his innovative seafood menu.
A native of Roslyn Heights, New York, Mitgang’s culinary inspiration did not come from his family’s kitchen; rather, he developed his passion watching cooking shows in his spare time. After graduating from the University of Buffalo with a degree in business management, he decided to turn his passion into a career and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute, where the intense training eventually earned him a position as sous chef and then executive chef at the seafood-driven Ruby Room (now Lisenda) in Roslyn.
Seeking a greater challenge, Mitgang accepted a position at SoHo’s Kittichai in 2004, where he was promoted to sous chef within a week of the restaurant’s opening and to chef de cuisine soon thereafter. Mitgang’s work with executive chef Ian Chalermkittichai earned the restaurant awards for “Best New Restaurant” from Travel + Leisure and “Best New Asian Restaurant” from Food & Wine. As Mitgang worked the line, he was introduced to the big, bold flavors of Thai cuisine that would help him develop his distinctive cooking style.
Mitgang soon decided he wanted to start his own venture and turned his attention to a restaurant idea he’d been working on devoted to refined, global ceviche. He met business partners Brian Owens and Dino Andreakos, and in 2007 they opened Crave Ceviche Bar in Midtown Manhattan. The restaurant was an instant hit with both customers and critics, who lauded the restaurant for its unexpected menu and warm, comfortable ambiance. When it was tragically destroyed in a crane accident in 2008, the community showed their unanimous support for Todd and his team, hoping that Crave would return to the neighborhood it called home.
In the following months, Mitgang took on a number of consulting projects for restaurants including Cascabel Taqueria in New York City, where his menu of upscale, chili-laced tacos, cemitas and guacamole earned the casual restaurant praise from New York magazine and Time Out New York. In June 2010, he returned to his Long Island roots as the opening executive chef of South Edison in Montauk, a beachfront destination beloved by locals for its relaxed atmosphere and fresh approach to seafood.
Two years later, Mitgang and Brians Owens have brought back the spirit of the original Crave with Crave Fishbar, where Mitgang continues to explore creative new ways to prepare seafood for his guests to enjoy. When he’s not in the kitchen, Mitgang cooks at home and explores New York City’s restaurant scene with his wife.
Brian Owens, Partner
Brian Owens brings over 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry to Crave Fishbar, Midtown East’s newest neighborhood restaurant where the sophisticated design and distinctive seafood menu make it both a local haunt and dining destination in New York City.
A native of Bayside, Queens, Owens grew up in the Manhattan pubs and restaurants his father owned, eventually working his way through every aspect of the business from the kitchen to the host stand. While pursuing an MBA in Accounting from Hofstra University, he started working in his uncle’s midtown lounge, One51, managing bottle service and working the front door by the age of 20. After helping his uncle launch Suede, Owens opened the Gallery lounge at the Gershwin Hotel when he was only 24. He most recently helped Master Sommelier, Laura Maniec, launch Corkbuzz Wine Studio, in Union Square.
An idea soon developed for a restaurant devoted entirely to refined global ceviche. In 2007, Owens collaborated with respected Kittichai chef Todd Mitgang to create Crave Ceviche Bar in Midtown Manhattan.
The restaurant’s distinctive menu and warm, rustic setting made it an instant favorite with both locals and critics. After it was destroyed in a tragic crane accident in 2008, Owens was determined to reopen in the same neighborhood where Crave got its start. Powered by the longstanding support of its loyal customers, he slowly brought the idea of Crave back to life, joining forces once again with Mitgang to create a restaurant with the same vibrant spirit that helped make the original such a success.
At Crave Fishbar, Owens works with Mitgang to ensure the comfort of each guest, handling all front of house operations and searching for the perfect wines to complement the menu.
Jason Steinthal, General Manager/Partner
Jason Steinthal brings his enthusiasm for the hospitality industry to his role as general manager of Crave Fishbar, the vibrant seafood restaurant in Midtown Manhattan owned by Brian Owens and chef Todd Mitgang. In addition to running the front-of-house, Steinthal is the beverage director, creating the cocktails and curating the wine list..
Originally from Scarsdale, New York, Steinthal developed an interest in wine through his father, a wine aficionado. After earning a degree in journalism from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, he moved back east to New York City. He heard that City Winery was opening in SoHo and jumped at the opportunity to work at the wine-focused venue. In 2008, he started there as a barback and within just five months, he was promoted to bar manager. Steinthal continued to hone his skills at City W inery for another two years.
In 2010, he moved on to Pulino's, Keith McNally's restaurant on the Bowery, where he worked as a bartender on the opening team. As he built his experience behind the bar, he applied for a general manager position at South Edison, a new Montauk eatery opening that summer. Steinthal was excited by the opportunity and was hired to head up the front-of-house. While there, he made an instant connection with chef and owner Todd Mitgang and under their leadership, South Edison earned a glowing review in The New York Times in the summer of 2011. During the off-season that year, Steinthal moved to San Francisco to spend the winter with his father and return to his bartending roots at Tyler Florence's new restaurant Wayfare.
When Mitgang and business partner Brian Owens reopened Crave Fishbar across the street from its original location, the decision to join them was an easy one. At Crave Fishbar, Steinthal's favorite part of his job is that every day is new and different. He enjoys meeting new people and providing guests with an experience that they have never had before
When not greeting guests at Crave, Steinthal cooks for friends and family. He always looks to Mitgang for recipe ideas.