There is something to be said for a restaurant that gives the customer a special feeling. Many restaurants never accomplish that feat, and most are unable to pull it off until the food hits the table.
But sometimes you walk into a place and you immediately feel something. TO Dagim, that something is the inherent underwater atmosphere. The first steps in building that vibe are, well, steps. Located on the lower level of the building, Dagim actually has several levels that take you deeper underground. Owner Edmond Adelipour worked with local artist Arlene Mcloughin to design the restaurant’s interior and effortless shows. The color palette and hand painted murals on the walls will make you feel like you are below sea level, not just street level.
When I was invited to experience Dagim, I chose to start with real freshness. The blackened tuna bites were an interesting take on a familiar appetizer for two reasons. The first was the use of pepper crusted tuna to add some spice and the second was the choice to use both tuna and avocado chunks instead of the usual softer textures. The wonton chips provided a good vehicle for the combination and the more distinct pieces allowed the creaminess of the avocado to stand out.
Dagim offers a sushi menu with a good selection of specialty rolls that vary greatly in components. And while I don’t usually prefer mango in my sushi, my personal favorite was the Bond Street Roll. Named after their address, this roll had pepper-crusted mango and tuna inside, avocado and tobiko (fish roe) on top, and a glaze of miso and sweet sauce seasoned on top. The flavors came together brilliantly as the sweetness of the mango, the spiciness of the tuna, the smoky hints of the tobiko and the salty finish of the miso glaze combined for a well balanced bite.
If you go to a restaurant called Dagim, I assume you like fish. But in case you’re not exactly in the mood, Dagim has you covered anyway. They have a few pasta dishes on the menu (adding salmon is obviously an option) and I recommend trying the Linguine Primavera if you’re looking for a non-pescarian meal. Prepared with their homemade marinara sauce, you’ll find a healthy amount of veggies dispersed throughout your pasta. The carrots, squash, and zucchini are all cooked to the point where they’re firm enough to stand out easily and not disappear into the linguine. The fresh garlic and onion give the sauce a nice fullness that serves as a great base for the dish.
Choosing a starter from Dagim’s menu is difficult given the number of options and different preparations on offer. If you’re looking for something that’s both simple and luxurious, try the Chilean Sea Bass in Miso. The flavor of the miso is absorbed into the fish during a 24-hour marinating process, but the mouthfeel may be this dish’s best asset. Chilean sea bass is very delicate, but here it’s expertly pan-seared so that a slight crisp develops on the outside to provide both a nice texture and a casing to keep the fillet from falling apart.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try the Mykonos Sea Bass. Using both of the whole fillets of a sea bass, this dish comes with the two fillets wrapped around a spinach and feta cheese filling. Not only is the result impressive, but so is the taste. The combination of the tartness and saltiness of the lemon caper sauce with the rich taste of the feta will make you savor every bite.
As you near the end of your meal, you’ll want to leave room for dessert. Dairy restaurants usually have an edge over their meat counterparts and Dagim is no exception to that rule. With a pastry chef making different creations every week, you’ll definitely want to weigh your options. But one suggestion I can make is the layer cake. No, this is not like something you might find after your Passover seder. This is a cake made up of many layers of crpes alternating with cream to form a light and fluffy masterpiece. It’s great on its own, but don’t be shy about topping it with one of their house-made ice cream flavors.
So, if you’re looking for an upscale experience that’s not just another steakhouse, give Dagim a try. The atmosphere is aquatic and the flavors are fabulous.
Dagim is located at 8 Bond St, Great Neck, New York. It is certified kosher by the Vaad Harabonim of Queens.
Click here for more details on Dagim’s restaurant and menu
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