Fin Raw Bar and Kitchen


We’ve come to Fin several times over the years. When it first opened. Once a couple years in. And then maybe once again son after. The good news is, the first time we rolled in, it was a great time. The food was exciting, the environment was great and we had a really fun time with our group of friends.

The not-so-great news is that it went downhill with each visit. The second was less fun, the food less good and the service not as flawless. The third time, I was already thinking that perhaps we didn’t need to come back any time soon.

First. Fin is loud. Like ear-splittingly loud. Like you have to yell across the small table to be heard loud. And there are crowds. It’s just hectic. And maybe some of that is due to the large bottles of wine sitting at every table and the night-out-on-the-town feeling of its early days. Or maybe they just screwed up when they built the space and didn’t realize every surface was going to amplify sound. I think they’re now a hybrid BYOB joint, sharing the liquor license with its sister bar next door, The Crosby. But I imagine the booze, brought or bought, is still flowing pretty heavily most nights of the week.

Second. I don’t do oysters. If I wanted to swallow snot I’d sleep on my back. So that kind of eliminates the raw bar part of the restaurant for me. That leaves the kitchen. Now, I do love fish, so this is up my alley. But when you’re serving fish that is relatively unadorned — which is what they do with the wood grilled fish selection — you have to cook it perfectly. Undercooked and it’s mushy. Overcooked and it’s dried out and too meaty. So your eating experience can balance on a couple minutes in a pan or oven. On each of my visits after the first, the attention to the cook became less focused and I got fish that wasn’t blasted, but just didn’t quite hit the mark. Let’s call it uninspired.

Otherwise, I’m sure one can have a perfectly fine evening here. I don’t know what the broski culture from next door has done to the clientele, but it can’t possibly get any louder. Fin was a revelation back when, but I do think the bloom has come off the rose a bit as the town has embraced more and more midscale eating establishments to compete with it.

183 Glenridge Ave. – Montclair