September 5, 2005 | Ask Gael

Why do I feel a sea breeze on Delancey and Norfolk?

        Like most dedicated offspring of ambitious immigrant restaurateurs, Steven Yee and Allen Leung intended to escape their feeding heritage. But careers in technology and finance somehow led to a partnership with Mary’s Fish Camp veteran Judy Seto and to Tides, a stylish 22-seat lobster shack on the Lower East Side. As you’d expect from her résumé, Seto’s lobster roll, banked with sensational sweet-potato fries, is lush - the perfect bun overflows with chunks of velvety flesh touched with dill and cucumber bits in lemony mayo. We love the jicama-carrot slaw and the chef’s slightly salty corn pudding. Equally appealing are deftly fried oysters and clams, the tartar sauce, her aïoli, and crisped soft-shell crab, though undercooked black-bean salsa must be an error. Alas, red snapper, whole fish of the day, is overcooked (we said “rarish”), and two out of five scallops are over the hill. Still, I’d send you here for the touching romance of the venture, the ambitious design by LTL - 120,000 bamboo skewers riding organic waves on the ceiling - and that aristocratic lobster roll. An espresso brownie under a drift of whipped cream is just enough dessert for four.

102 Norfolk St. nr. Delancey St. 212 254 8855