BY ERIN PALISIN
Although it is not as well -known as its sister restaurant and bar Cowgirl (reviewed on TGP by Carolyn Onofrey in 2010) located in the West Village, Cowgirl SeaHorse is one of the best well kept secrets in Manhattan and a popular neighborhood favorite. Located at the South Street Seaport in the shadows of the Brooklyn Bridge, the “make yourself at home” atmosphere, beachy décor and friendly (and generously pouring I might add) bartenders and staff make this place an every-day escape from the fast paced New York streets. Buy one get one free happy hours seven days a week, $2 Taco Tuesdays, housemade frozen Maragaritas (including prickly pear and blood orange flavors) and an overall reasonably priced and surprisingly diverse menu are what you will find at the Cowgirl Seahorse.
There are several menu items that are complete must haves. My first culinary experience at the Seahorse involved devouring the best pulled pork sandwich I had ever tasted. The vinegar based barbeque sauce is the perfect combination of tangy and sweet. It is flavorful enough to only need a small side to top your pork with. Throw in a side of homemade hush puppies, and the Seahorse had a very happy customer. It took a few visits for me to move on from the pulled pork, but once I did, I certainly did not regret stepping outside of my pork comfort zone. The grilled fish tacos are the most popular menu item, and rightfully so. The light tacos (served grilled or fried, go with grilled) are topped with a light, refreshing mango salsa.
Lastly, one of my mantras of menu ordering is to never order something that I could easily make at home. After all, doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of eating out in the first place? In staying true to my beliefs, I very rarely order salads at a restaurant. Unless of course it is the All Chopped Up salad at the Seahorse. I don’t know what kind of addictive substances they put in their lemon poppy seed vinaigrette dressing, but it’s working. However, if your boss is J. Peterman and you need to be drug tested for your upcoming business trip to Africa, wait until your next visit for the All Chopped Up. (Hopefully we have some Seinfeld fans out there, otherwise that reference was totally wasted).
The only warning I leave you with is expect to wait awhile for your food. If you are in a hurry, the Seahorse isn’t for you. Perhaps the long wait for food is just part of the laid-back, vacation style vibe of the whole place. (Although the black-eyed pea salsa and homemade tortilla chips they often set down complimentary at your table paired with one of the aforementioned frozen margaritas make the wait a lot more enjoyable).
Because of its location, expect to find a large Wall Street happy hour crowd that does not seem so Wall Street at all. Instead of heading to the over-crowded, suit flooded Stone Street, meander over to the Cowgirl Seahorse for a surprise that will keep you coming back for more. Worth the trip downtown for non-neighborhood locals or for tourists soaking in the sights at the South Street Seaport.