April 9, 2007 | Insatiable Critic

Wild Edibles 

        Quiet as an octopus scooting along the ocean bottom, Wild Edibles stuffed a mini eat-at counter and eight two-top tables into its small seafood shop on a Third Avenue stretch lusting for really good grub. Shimmeringly fresh skate and highly respectable crab cakes emerged from the same chefs who prep the ready-to-eat carryout for Wild Edibles fans in the Grand Central food halls. I got an excited call from an East Thirties resident foodie, who has talked her way into a friends-and-family night. Days later, I scored a table to share linguine alle vongole (cockles, Manila, and littleneck clams) and savory oysters-Rockefeller pizza, quartered and irreverently tumbled into a bowl. There was no lobster roll that night. “Lobsters weren’t good enough today,” we were told. But fish and chips, $12 on the gently priced bar menu, hit the spot. And the skate in mustard sauce was outstanding. I wish I could say as much for weirdly glazed popcorn shrimp. Given your hunger, you can select a fish or crustacean from the menagerie on ice to be roasted ($16 to $20); add your choice of seasoning and a $3 side. Or stop for an appetizer: a flight of six oysters from a dozen varieties handpicked by Edibles’ oyster guru every morning. Choose stalwarts from New England, Canada, and the West Coast, or mix them up—just $15 with three pours of beer or white wine from an all-local list. Dessert is still in flux. Our foursome got a gift of sticky chocolate mousse. All in all, a good deal I’d like to find in my Zip Code. 

535 Third Ave. at 36th St. 212 213 8552