A replacement for the flash-in-the-pan Latin fusion cantina Lorenzo’s has arrived at the Jefferson stop in Bushwick. Daniel Cipriani, the proprietor of Sea Wolf, who also owns a pair of dining establishments in Williamsburg– Lodge and Urban Rustic– as well as the Playland Grill in Rockaway, told us that the surf-n’-turf corner spot has been krilling it, so to speak, since it officially opened a few weeks ago.
In fact, according to Cipriani the 4 pm to 7 pm (!) happy hour– which includes buck-a-shuck oysters, $5 frozen drinks and other boozy specials– has been so successful that Sea Wolf will be upping their oyster order from 500 to 1,000 of those lil guys a day. The restaurant’s epic popularity however spells bad news for anyone who may have already grown accustomed to the margarita and blueberry-lemonade frozen drink varieties– Sea Wolf is being forced to reduce the happy hour specials to include only their strawberry Fernet Daiquiri and pineapple-coconut Painkiller because, as Cipriani explained, “We can’t freeze them quick enough.”
In addition to a variety of ceviches (oyster, clam, shrimp, and even a vegetarian option) and lobster selections, the raw bar carries a range of oysters, most supplied by Righteous Seafoods in Brooklyn, and the mignonettes change frequently. (Cipriani told us that he’ll be trying to source the seafood locally as often as possible.) On the day we spoke to the owner, he said they were doing tarragon-and-cilantro oyster accompaniments.
The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and one standout item on the latter two includes a lobster corn dog (pictured below). The lobster sausage is made from scratch, breaded Coney Island-style, and fried. At $11 (served with honey mustard) it’s a steal when it comes to lobster, but some menu items like the claw-and-knuckle filled lobster roll will cost you what you’re used to paying for lobster– market price was $28 when we stopped by this Saturday.
But be sure to glance up at the specials board, where we found a half lobster tail plus sides for $12 (the price of a nice drink at a schmancy watering hole). You’ll find the board just left of a surfboard artfully decorated with a grimacing shaved-head Britney Spears– you can’t miss it.
A reformed film-industry professional, Cipriani said he got into restauranteur-ing “on accident.” A few years back, he found that he couldn’t get a decent coffee while working on a film in North Carolina. The solution? He decided to open up a coffee bar (because coffee.) Tired of dealing with big egos in the movie business, Cipriani decided to put his skills from the art department to work, and he began designing and building restaurants.
In a way, Sea Wolf’s conception is a similar story. Cipriani loves surfing, skateboarding and fishing, and he maintains strong ties to the surf community in Rockaway through Playland Grill. His friend Peter Schroff, a sexegenarian surfboard shaper slash performance artist who Cipriani described as someone who’s “still running around in his underwear shaping surfboards,” gifted a black-and-white board for behind the bar.
At age 48 himself, Cipriani still goes out skateboarding with his seven children, and keeps a fishing boat at Marina 59 in Rockaway. He draws inspiration for his restaurant from backyard barbecues at his family home in Little Compton, Rhode Island, which he says is like the Hamptons but without the people (which tbh sounds like a dream come true). “I build the places I want to hang out at,” he said. “This place is like the inside of my brain.”
Sea Wolf is located at 19 Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick. The kitchen’s open from 9 am until 11 pm, Monday through Sunday, however, kitchen hours will soon be extended to midnight on weekends.
See Sea Wolf’s menu below.