I suspect that much of Gambrinus’ appeal stems from being able to sit outside, drink vodka and smoke rather than being related to the Russian restaurant’s swashbuckling theme or the food. The indoor bar is fashioned to look like a boat–and so is the exterior–so peering in from outer porthole window has the potential to suck you into a maritime-themed vortex. For good measure, the male servers wear sailor suits.
It was still warm enough for the picnic tables when I went and that’s where every patron was clustered. I’m also not so sure that it’s a seafood restaurant, despite the full name, Gambrinus Seafood Bar and Restaurant, and the eight different fish involved in the entrees. Soups, grilled meats and potato dishes seemed to get more play.
Unintentionally, I ended up with three dishes, all appetizers technically, sharing many common ingredients. The assorted cured fish platter with salmon and sturgeon was good, and a concession because they didn’t have all of the meats for the meat platter.
If there’s a menu section called “dough entrees,” it can’t be ignored. That’s how I ended up with seafood blintzes filled with shrimp, fake crab and cream sauce. People witnessing my broadcast on social media seemed to think this gross, which wasn’t true at all. There’s nothing problematic about dairy paired with seafood, and krab is legit.
The “subtlety” salad was in a similar vein, including smoked salmon, roe, and a form of thousand island dressing that was not all that subtle.
The benefit of the now cold weather is that the piano player won’t be so alone.
Gambrinus * 3100 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, NY