First time hearing about Gambrinus Seafood Cafe was on Serious Eats. Whats not to love about a Russian pirate themed restaurant in Brighton Beach that served sushi? The author of that blog post didn’t dare to try the sushi but WE DID. Oh hell yeah, that was one of the reasons why we went or why I REALLY WANTED TO GO!
After hanging out a bit at the Beer Island on the boardwalk, it was not an island at all but just a fenced off area filled with sand, umbrellas, tables and chairs and loads of beers, Howard, Matt, Phae and I strolled down the boardwalk towards Brighton Beach. Of course being on the boardwalk I just had to get an overprice corn dog. By the time we got to Gambrinus I was sweaty and sticky. Once we walked in we were greeted by waiter wearing a blue/white striped shirt. It was more a sailor look than pirates but oh well. We were seated outside which meant no nice a/c. But once I cooled down it was pleasant to be outside with cars zipping by behind and large group of people drinking bottles and bottles of vodka next to me.
Now we were here for the sushi, lets order some food!
Well first off we all ordered our very own liter of beer while Phae fancied up and got vodka. Looking through the menu they pretty much have all your usual choices of sashimis, sushi rolls and even the ever so popular sushi boats! Of course on the other half of the menu you’ll find their Russian dishes, I think it was Russian I was in a Russian restaurant.
Last year Matt had his bachelor party over at Titana’s and the each plate of food was HUGE!! We’ve should’ve known or guess that that might be the same with Gambrinus but nope. For the whole table we ordered the spring salad with radish, scallions, eggs and sour cream and a sauteed mushroom and potatoes with loads of garlic which we thought was around $10 then somehow on the bill became $23. WOW $23 for a plate of mushrooms and potatoes! Crazy! Whats even more crazy was that we didn’t bother double checking with the waiter, hm. I blame the alcohol. Phae and Matt ordered a spicy roll platter, a plate of fries, a plate of fried calamari. Howard ordered a blintzes with mushrooms. As for me I ordered a spider roll and a chicken stroganoff with fries.
As I said before we weren’t expecting much but when the food started to come out we knew we went a tad bit over board (pun fully intended) with ordering. I think we all agreed that the 2 starters were the best dishes that night. The mushrooms with potatoes in a garlic sauce, may be pricey, but the garlic was so overwhelming that it was deeeelicious. The spring salad with radishes was quite refreshing and flavors were great too.
The fried calamari was a little bland and the cocktail sauce didn’t help much. If they had treated the fried calamari like they did with the fries then it would’ve been awesome because the fries were covered with garlic! Garlic fries! Yum! Or…AARRRRRRRRRRR! Thats me being a pirate. No?
What was also delicious was my chicken stroganoff. Creamy, heavy but no pasta. I’m used to having pasta with beef stroganoff but instead I got..wait..wait…for it…. FRIES! Sadly my fries were just plain boring fries.
Damn I know you were curious about the sushi and yes it was on purpose for me to leave it till the end to tell you about it. It’s like why they put milk at the back of the supermarkets. So we ordered a platter of spicy sushi rolls and a spider roll. Their appearances looked promising so I was happy. I took a bite of the spider roll and it quickly saddened me. It didn’t taste fresh. The seaweed was a little stale and chewy, the fried soft shell crab was okay, and the rice was too sticky. Overall it was just meh. It was pretty much the same for the spicy rolls. It wasn’t even spicy. I know, I should’ve expected this from a Russian pirate themed restaurant. But hey at least we tried it. Next time we’ll stick with the Russian side of the menu and bring extra dollars for the mushrooms and potatoes dish.
– Gambrinus Seafood Cafe 3100 Ocean Pkwy Brighton Beach, Brooklyn