Essex Pearl is a market + kitchen, serving up fresh catches and a seasonal menu inspired by culture and seafood from around the world. Our obsession for seafood stems from our love of travel, our desire to be close to the coastline and our passion to discover new and exotic flavors. For these reasons, we are committed to curating our market with quality seafood and providing our customers with healthy, delicious, and innovative dishes from our kitchen.
CHEF x FISHMONGER
Within 24 Hours
Traditionally restaurants have a relationship with their purveyors to fulfill their seafood orders. However, Essex Pearl is reimagining this relationship. At our roots, we are fishmongers, with 30+ year relationships with fishermen around the world, we have a direct line from tide to table.
This union between fishmonger and chef shortens the traditional supply chain from 5+ hands to receiving our product within 24 hours of it being fished. What does this mean for our customers? It means that we can guarantee that our seafood in our market and kitchen is the freshest, of the highest quality, and is sourced with full transparency.
Sourcing directly from fisherman allows us to bring high quality products to our market + kitchen. Understanding seafood seasons and when they taste the sweetest guarantees the best flavors all year round.
Our goal is to create an open space and line of communication with our customers. We strive to be a place where people can learn more about the simplicity of preparing fish and how we all can make healthier food choices through seafood.
We believe in preserving the oceans for generations to come. Transparency is important to us and we hope to inspire our customers to join our initiative to create awareness around sustainability.
CEO + FOUNDER
Born and raised in the Lower East Side of New York City, Steven Wong’s passion for fresh seafood has been woven into the fabric of his life. Wong grew up working at his family’s seafood market, Aqua Best, as well as spending summers absorbing knowledge from fishermen in Martha’s Vineyard before taking over the family business at the age of 26. Understanding the cultural needs and wants of New York City’s culinary scene, he started traveling extensively throughout France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam to source the best seafood from around the world. Wong has since built a worldwide network of fishermen that he trusts to service the city’s top restaurants and ultimately inspired him to open his own dining establishment. Wong is proud to embark on his own culinary journey through the lens of Essex Pearl, where he will bring global flavors to his family and neighbors on the Lower East Side.
Similarly to Steven, Freeman Wong also grew up working in the family business from a young age. Wong’s unique talent lies in his extensive knowledge of seafood and each product’s unique flavor profile. He acts as the domestic fishmonger, hand-picking all the products each morning at the Fulton Fish Market. Wong has set out to educate the local community about seafood and how to select the best product. You can find him behind our fish counter at Aqua Best or managing the operations of the market at Essex Pearl.
EXECUTIVE CHEF + PARTNER
Chef Bun Cheam started his culinary career in Pennsylvania, where he grew up after immigrating to America from Cambodia with his family in 1989. Once earning his chops in his home state, Cheam moved to New York City where he spent three years working at Commerce in the West Village, moving from commis up to tournant, learning classical French techniques and mastering the craft of pasta making. Drawing inspiration from his previous experiences (Talde, Wong), rich immigrant heritage, and travels, Cheam created a worldly menu that blends Latin, European, African and Asian flavors to showcase Essex Pearl’s freshest catches.
GENERAL MANAGER + SOMMELIER
Nicole Walko joins the Essex Pearl team with 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry - specifically focusing on seafood. As Essex Pearl’s General Manager and Sommelier, Walko will oversee floor management and staffing, as well as curating the wine and beer list and of course suggesting the perfect pairing. Previously, Walko was recognized by Les Dames d’Escoffier in 2016 for “outstanding potential in the wine and beverage industry,” With a passion for global flavors, Walko draws inspiration from old staples like Tokaj, Hungary as well as new destinations
like the Faroe Islands.