It’s a great New York story. Childhood pals John Doherty and Tom Struzzieri come together years later and decide to open a restaurant. While still conceptualizing, the former visits the Hamptons home of another friend, the exalted designer Mark Zeff – who has built a celebrated aesthetic canon around the brand Black Barn. He is taken with Zeff’s inimitable style, and their new restaurant becomes a sublime realization of their shared philosophy.
Black Barn, the dining destination, is quite a spectacular place – a “rural” escape that just happens to be located at the intersection of Chelsea, NoMad and The Flatiron. Under Zeff’s stylistic direction, the main dining room sits below a dramatic, skeletal-looking set of barn rafters; and that vibe carries on to the furnishings and lighting, creating a setting that is rustic yet elegant, cozy but opulent. There’s also a Tavern room, for a more casual rendezvous.
Doherty, a former Waldorf Astoria chef, has created an earthy menu: slow cooked Colorado rack of lamb, local venison loin, butternut squash ravioli, Irwin Farm foraged mushroom toast. Yet the dishes are hardly unassuming, but instead rather elegant, even sumptuous.
“After spending what seems a lifetime at the Waldorf serving haute cuisine on silver platters,” explains Doherty, “I just wanted to break from that scene, yet still serve the food I love to cook and eat. So Mark created this rustic, very comfortable environment that I geared a menu to. At Black Barn, everything is connected – all of your senses are stimulated to bring you to the same place.”
All this month, the restaurant’s Chef’s Table will offer a special All Black Truffle Menu, featuring such ethereal creations as scramble duck egg with shaved truffles and wild boar raviolo with truffle butter.
And if you love the aesthetic of the restaurant, make sure to pop in to Mark and Kristen Zeff’s Black Barn Shop in DUMBO, which stocks carefully selected home objects from around the globe.