Once a minesweeper, now a gourmet dinner boat

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Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

Managing partner and first mate Sue Walsh with founder and captain Kelli Farwell at the wheel of the Water Table dinner boat

Diners can now have a drink in Greenpoint, eat an appetizer under the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy a main course next to Lady Liberty — all while seated at the same table.

Called “Brooklyn’s first dinner boat” by its creators, the Water Table makes its first official cruise Friday, serving up mouthwatering views along with its menu.

It’s all set on a World War II-era minesweeper that’s been re-created as a floating New England tavern.

“Brooklyn is more than just a geographic location,” says Sue Walsh, 34, co-founder of the Water Table. “Brooklyn is also an adjective, and a dining experience on a boat reflects what people in Brooklyn are looking for right now.”

Guests will board the boat at the India St. pier in Greenpoint, where commuters take off across the East River for work each weekday on Wall Street- and Midtown-bound ferries.

The Water Table dinner boat is named the Revolution, and was built in 1944.

Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

The Water Table dinner boat is named the Revolution, and was built in 1944.

The Water Table patrons take their seats around a long table in the interior cabin, where they’ll soon savor a three-course prix fixe menu. But not before placing their drink orders.

The ship will make a leisurely loop around Manhattan, or might head into the harbor for a spin around the Statue of Liberty. It all depends on the tides and the captain’s mood. Over the two-and-a-half-hour cruise, there will be more cocktails, an appetizer, main course and dessert.

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While there are dinner service yachts docked in Sheepshead Bay and other Brooklyn ports, they primarily host catered private parties. The Water Table can be rented out for private parties, but it sets itself apart by being a traditional restaurant taking reservations for parties of two to six people.

The prix fixe menu is $ 75 per person, with beer, booze and wine costing extra.

Clockwise from left, corn chowder, black kale salad and Bolognese sauce on toasted farm bread, served at the Water Table dinner boat.

Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

Clockwise from left, corn chowder, black kale salad and Bolognese sauce on toasted farm bread, served at the Water Table dinner boat.

Dinner guests will feast on New England staples like rich corn chowder with applewood smoked bacon, mussel salad with roasted fennel, and Bolognese sauce on toasted farm bread. Ingredients are well-sourced in the best Brooklyn tradition. Kale salads are also on the menu, and butterscotch cookies with a shot of rum are one of the dessert offerings.

The ship’s bar will be as well-stocked as any Bedford Ave. watering hole, with local brews from Brooklyn Brewery and an extensive collection of artisanal rums.

For those who find bouncing over wakes does not mix well with alcohol, Dramamine will also be for sale behind the bar for seasick passengers.

If all goes well this winter, the founders will expand service from one dinner cruise to two this spring, plus potentially add a happy hour cruise as well as a late-night cocktail trip.

The ship itself was built in 1944 and breathes history.

The mussel salad served at the Water Table dinner boat

Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

The mussel salad served at the Water Table dinner boat

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“If you’re opening a New England tavern on the water, you want the boat to feel historical and not like a Nike shoebox,” says Kelli Farwell, Walsh’s wife and co-founder of the Water Table. “This boat is more perfect than anything we could have designed ourselves.”

Farwell, 42, and Walsh, who live in Williamsburg, spent eight months scouring the country for a ship that could host their new restaurant. They located one in California, but learned it would cost $ 100,000 to get it through the Panama Canal and back to New York.

Finally they found the Revolution, a 62-foot yard patrol boat with a wooden hull to protect it from magnetized mines. After WWII, the ship served as a fire boat in New York Harbor, a ferry in Maine, and most recently as a tour boat around Boston Harbor.

Farwell and Walsh purchased the Revolution and brought it back to New York in one 24-hour journey through stormy seas. Though 6-foot-tall waves crashed over the deck, the powerful engine with an exposed drive-shaft held her steady.

Executive chef Drake Aldrich with a dish of corn chowder on the Water Table dinner boat.

Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

Executive chef Drake Aldrich with a dish of corn chowder on the Water Table dinner boat.

Once in New York, the new owners set to work installing a modern kitchen in the “old drafty boat.”

Along the way they’ve had to deal with frozen pipes and grouchy harbormasters and had to figure out waste disposal in a system of maritime laws where any infraction is a federal offense.

The owners are proud of their new business venture, as is the Water Table’s executive chef, Drake Aldrich, who based his improvised kitchen on years of campfire cooking.

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After all, the dinner boat is a long time in the making.

Managing partner and first mate Sue Walsh with counder and captain Kelli Farwell at the bow of the Water Table dinner boat.

Andrew Schwartz/For New York Daily News

Managing partner and first mate Sue Walsh with counder and captain Kelli Farwell at the bow of the Water Table dinner boat.

Two years ago, Farwell and Walsh were heading back to Williamsburg aboard an East River ferry. The captain of that ferry, Paul Sprieser, stopped to chat, and he and Farwell became such good friends that he ended up showing her the basics of how to steer a boat. He also told her he’d quit his own desk job at 40 years old to pursue his life-long dream of captaining a ship.

“The city looks much better from the water than from inside the city itself,” Sprieser told Farwell. “It’s a different perspective on everything.”

This past summer, Sprieser officiated the wedding of Farwell and Walsh (on a boat, of course), and has since offered endless support to the newlyweds on launching the Water Table.

“It was really good fortune that I was on that ferry that night,” says Farwell.

jsilverman@nydailynews.com


You Should Know

Dinner service on the Water Table begins Dec. 6. Visit thewatertablenyc.com for a complete schedule and reservations.


Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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