Fish and Rose – a tale of restaurants on two islands

Chilmark chef Chris Fischer and his team are currently operating Fish and Rose, a pop-up restaurant in Manhattan. — Photo by Gwyn McAllister

The look is vintage New York — a former subway station complete with white-tiled walls, cement floors, exposed pipes criss-crossing the ceiling, an old sprinkler valve, and even an imposing steel accordion gate — but the menu is pure nouvelle Martha’s Vineyard at Fish and Rose, a pop-up restaurant run by Chris Fischer and the teams behind Beetlebung Farm and the Beach Plum Inn Restaurant in Chilmark. The upscale restaurant has industrial feeling decor and features simple preparations of farm fresh foods.

The group has temporarily taken over a space in lower Manhattan. Bordered by the Bowery, Soho, and Chinatown, not long ago the area was all but deserted at night. Now it’s home to a number of trendy restaurants and boutiques.

Fish and Rose opened on December 10 and will serve dinner every night through December 30. The kitchen staff, manager, and host, like the core ingredients of the menu, are all imports from the Vineyard, while the wait staff are New Yorkers hired temporarily for the duration of the business’s run.

Once a week, the Fish and Rose team receives a shipment of edibles from Vineyard farms and waters: West Tisbury wild oysters, produce from Morning Glory Farm and Mermaid Farm, meat from Beetlebung and the Allen Farm.

The menu changes frequently and features seven items, all of which can be ordered individually or as a tasting menu ($50 for four courses, $75 for all seven items). On a recent late dinner visit the restaurant was almost full with well-dressed middle-aged New Yorkers mixed with downtown hipsters sitting at crude wooden benches and tables in the attractive two-room space. Diners in the main room could view the scene on the the street through wall to ceiling windows or witness the action in the open kitchen located directly behind the bar. It was a lively crowd that frigid winter night that would have pushed the decibel level up in your average restaurant space but, thanks to the 20-plus-foot high ceilings in the old subway station, the noise level was comfortable and the scene congenial.

Restaurant staff were somewhat reluctant to comment on the venture, but host Kathryn Arffa noted that the many New York-to-Martha’s Vineyard transplants involved in the operation were happy to be in the city, where they still have family and friends. And, most importantly, she said, “We’re so glad to be bringing the best of Martha’s Vineyard produce and meat to New York.”

Fish and Rose, open through December 30 for dinner, 4–11 pm, is located at 10 Kenmare St. in Manhattan.