The Manhattan Fish Market reminds me of Pastamania, in that the prevalence of usually-cash-strapped teenagers is indicative of the wallet-friendly prices and so-so quality.
I'm not a food snob per se, but I think I've outgrown the tampered tastebuds of a perpetually broke student. The Manhattan Fish Market would be considered super value-for-money if I were 13. And if I were 7, I'd think this was "haute cuisine", which kind of makes commercial sense seeing as this restaurant is located at United Square, which is teeming with children. But now that I'm much (MUCH) older and have that little bit of disposable income, I'd rather fork out a little more and go somewhere else for really good fish and chips. Like the ones at Five & Dime.
I've come to the realisation that my tastebuds have outgrown these mid-range restaurants: the ones with passable food but priced very affordably. Not hawker food though. To me, hawker food will always stay awesome and I will continue to love it even if I become a billionaire.
That said, The Manhattan Fish Market isn't too bad. If you adjust your expectations accordingly, of course. In order to rein in the lunch crowd and after-school kids, 2 set lunches (a main & a soup-of-the-day) are attractively priced ten cents below 20 bucks on weekdays for 6 whole hours from 11am to 5pm.
The Grilled Glory Dory was a large slab of flaky moist fish, seasoned well and served with plain-ish spiced rice and unsalted steamed vegetables. I didn't take to that watery cream draped over it though. The fish alone would have been good but for that very extra dressing.
The Feeesh 'n Cheeese was similarly spoilt by a watered down version of tartar sauce. The fish, on its own, was fairly fresh, lightly battered, properly seasoned and fried well. The sauce was just redundant. The cheese on the fries was also of the fast food variety, it got sickeningly cloying real fast.
The soup-of-the-day, Cream of Mushroom, surprisingly didn't reek of instant canned soup. This was more cream than mushroom essence so if you're a fan of heavy cream, good for you. Further, the consistency was a little blob-by. I couldn't finish this, so Jal slurped it all up. That's the thing about guys: they're happy to eat rubbish. They really are trashcans for us womenfolk, aren't they?
The Manhattan Fish Market
101 Thomson Road
United Square #B1-32
Tel: 6352 6008
Open daily from 11am to 10pm