These gorgeous evenings lately have led many of us to hang outside until well after dark, but there is another way to enjoy summer. Hop on The Water Table at the India Street pier for an amazing boat ride through the East River down to the Statue of Liberty, complete with New England-focused food, craft beer, good wine, wonderful cocktails, and a lovely sunset with views of the East River Bridges, beautiful Brooklyn, and the Manhattan skyline!
Captain Kelli Farwell founded The Water Table along with her wife First Mate/Managing Partner Sue Walsh. They raised money a few years back via Indiegogo to buy their beloved WWII search vessel for a dinner boat. As Williamsburg residents, they knew there weren’t any other North Brooklyn dinner cruises (besides booking a private charter yacht), and they wanted to do something different. “There were no dinner boats going out of North Brooklyn, and in our community, people love the ferries. We wanted to tap the resource of traveling on the river and enjoying it.” After starting up the cruises in late 2013, Hurricane Sandy damage forced them to move across the river for a while, but they came back home for a successful 2015 season. Even now, they’re still the only regular dinner cruise option leaving from the Brooklyn side of the East River.
Kelli and Sue had only had experience with recreational boating in the past, so there was a steep learning curve, especially for Kelli, who got her boat captain’s license in the process. She found a lot of help from the NYC boating community, including the East River Ferry. Because their boat is so old, there’s a special energy to it, and it definitely has a life of its own.
As for the food, Kelli brings her experiences from Rye, Dumont, Craft and Gramercy Tavern to the kitchen. The menu rotates seasonally, and they source organically as much as possible. Right now, the $85 three-course menu served on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday sailings includes appetizers (Ricotta and Peaches; Tomato and Watermelon Salad; Kale Caesar Salad), entrees (Maine Lobster Roll and BBQ chicken), and doughnuts from Dough for dessert. Sunday suppers are shorter trips and a smaller menu of Lobster Mac and Cheese, the Kale Caesar and those delicious doughnuts. Additionally, with advance notice, many dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
The cocktail list is impressive and creative (with classics as well). The delicious-sounding New Hampshire is made with vodka, maple syrup, homemade ginger pumpkin butter, lemon juice, and an apple garnish. The crowd is a combination of locals and regulars living nearby, with some tourists too.
The boat will run every year from April through the second week of December, as long as the weather isn’t too crazy. (The boat is heated, but even the Titanic couldn’t handle icebergs.)