First Look: Morgans Fish House

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I was the first patron to get a legal pour of wine at Morgans Fish House yesterday. They’d just gotten the liquor license that afternoon.

The restaurant used to RK…An American Bistro. It was sleek — all white. But an all-white room can be unwelcoming, like you’re afraid you’ll track mud into or spill your red wine. That’s changed now:

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The restaurant is owned by the Pearl Management Group — partners Jim Sullivan, Jan Fabry and Lisa McKiernan. They also own Ruby’s Oyster Bar & Bistro in Rye, the Rye Grill, the Elm Street Oyster House in Greenwich, Conn., and Lexington Square Cafe in Mount Kisco. Mark Filippo, who was at Cafe Meze for a dozen years, is the chef.

Like Pearl’s other restaurants, it’s upscale-casual. You can wear jeans, but the food isn’t dressed down.

Lisa took me on a little tour, explaining that they chose a blue from the terrazzo in the bar and used it to warm up the restaurant. It’s a perfect color for a fish place, don’t you think?

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Those of you who have been to Ruby’s will recognize the tall communal table theme:

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And if you’d been to RK before, you’ll surely remember the big open kitchen. Here’s a shot looking toward the dining room. That’s Jim on the left and Mark on the right:

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Across from the kitchen used to be a long straight banquette. Now it’s cozy little nooks:

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They also expanded the bar. It used to be the coat room:

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(There’s my “first glass” of rose on the bar):

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<br>If you’ve eaten Mark’s food before, you’ll know what to expect. Influences from the Mediterranean. A good balance of delicate and bold. Pristine ingredients. (Fans of his signature dish — the artichoke ravioli with truffle oil — will be pleased to know it’s on the menu.)

One cool thing, though it’s not ready yet: After they’re open for a little while, they’re going to be doing “appetizers for the table.” For a set price, you’ll get a sampling, served on tiered plates. Brilliant idea.

Of course, the menu is heavy on fish.

I tried the tuna carpaccio:

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Fantastic. It’s similar to a dish he served at Meze, except that one had octopus. <a href=”http://lizjohnson.lohudblogs.com/2007/01/26/behind-the-scenes-at-chefs-dish/ ” target=”_blank”> (Remember it from this meal?) </a> This one is topped with lobster. Jim Sullivan recommended I try it and I’m glad I did.

Right now, it’s tough to get in to Morgan’s. Like I said before, Mark is not looking for a lot of hype. But I’m very excited about this new addition to the scene. I think it’s going to be a winner.

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22 Elm Place, Rye. 914-921-8190.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

14 Comments

  1. Steve, please go write your own blog somewhere. You have overstayed your welcome commenting here and it’s frankly just irritating now.

  2. I was sad to see “RK” leave but I am looking forward to Morgans Fish House. If Mark equals what he did at Cafe Meze Morgans will be a wonderfull sucess.

    Good Luck!

  3. Tom/kate

    oh i didnt realize we were still in H.S.
    blogs and posts are just that. our opinions.
    I have never attacked a poster, as my dad always said. “class shows”

    maybe you 2 may learn from it.

  4. We were at Morgan’s for opening night and true to form the Pearl Group has another hit on their hands. They should write a book on how to find, open and run a successful restaurant. No I’m not related to any of them ! Just a big fan.

  5. Just found out about the new restaurant from the Rye Record local newspaper and google search the name just to come accross this review. It’s funny, my wife Lisa and I who love Rye Grill and the Elm Street Oyster House, we were thinking that it would be great to have a fish restaurant around. Great addition for Rye. Can’t wait to go there and I hope Mark will have some really really fresh grilled fish on the menu like the ones you find at some great Greek Restaurants like Milos or Avra in Manhattan.

  6. Chris Vergara on

    I had dinner at Morgan’s monday night and I am looking forward to going back. Mark has done the great job we have expected him to do with the menu. Some old favorites and some promising new additions. Can’t wait to watch this restaurant become one of the greats in Westchester.

  7. Just dined at Morgan’s this week and I’ve found a new favorite! Great inviting atmosphere, delicious food and atentive, friendly service. Can’t wait to go back!

  8. Went to Morgan’s with a large group last week, and we were blown away. Food presentation so exquisite it was a work of art. Service attentive and lacking nothing. One of the few places where both the appetizers and the entries were simply amazing, a rare treat.

  9. You guys need to learn about real food.
    Over priced, over rated chef, food is average for the money
    better off at thier other restaurants.
    Service ok, food really nothing special, read the review they recieved last week, on the money.

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