In Kip’s Bay is the unexpected: a new upscale seafood shack and oyster bar that devotes two days of its week to the king of all crustaceans: The New-England Lobster. Launching tomorrow, July 6th at L&W Oyster Co. every Summer Saturday and Tuesday nights, you can don a lobster bib, and eat not only two-pound buttered-up, Montauk-style lobster but also stuffed lobster, full of your choice of bacon, onion, & hollandaise, or spinach & cream.
Betony, the new haute-earthy tenant in Brasserie Pushkin’s former space, didn’t entirely do away with the ornate. The chandelier is still there, as are the plush velvet banquettes. The back dining room’s concrete ceiling is etched with abstract Latin geometry, as if one of the construction workers had a Good Will Hunting moment. (Eamon Rockey, the general manager, said it came at the owner’s discretion—“he likes very opulent things.”)
The decorative posturing, which at least is tempered by some potted foliage, is more than backed up by Eleven Madison Park vet Bryce Shuman’s creations from start to finish. Pure pleasers, like the light and vinegary fried pickled ramps, or the cured pink snapper on a basil pesto, abet more challenging dishes. Flavors come in appropriated forms: cardamom is housed in a milky foam over dark chocolate ganache, tomato juice is turned to ice and “snowed” over gooseberry compote, and an asparagus pappardelle tastes of the plant with an intensity that goes far beyond the amount of spears actually in there.
Rockey, also of Eleven Madison Park, matches Shuman’s care behind the bar. An orange rind treated for two weeks with oleo-saccharum sugar tops the ice on an orange julep (“a sipper.”) An extensive beer list pulls in some beyond-rare gypsy beers, like Stillwater’s white sage Saison “Cellar Door”: an ornate herbal brew with a name like velvet.
Downtown also gains an elaborate new hang with the arrival of The Fourth, an American brasserie at the new Hyatt Union Square fit for townies and tourists alike. In keeping with the hotel theme, a helix of dangling bunk bed frames by the artist Brinton Jaecks fills a 25-foot tall dining room. Downstairs, a South American restaurant called Botequim with an open kitchen is set to open later this year. The co-ed restroom, which made for some fun exchanges, shares a door with the Hyatt’s gym. Don’t steal the towels.
Del Posto vet Michael William Davis serves both classics—bi-coastal oysters, shellfish cioppino, a wonderfully juicy pink salt, roasted-brick chicken breast—and more creative fare. A thick piece of hake comes surrounded by tender chunks of pork cheek. The Fourth’s burger arrives on a tomato bun with a sunnyside up egg. For dessert, the Fuller’s London Porter ice cream is as crisp and frosty as a mug of the good stuff. Fennel-sage chicken meatballs and a poached egg are available for breakfast, if the night took you upstairs. Don’t steal the shampoo.
There’s a new pig in town that has taken up residence in the bustling land of the West Village. Enter, Swine, a rustic-American restaurant partially owned by Cris Criswell and John McNulty, formerly of Perilla and Joseph Leonard, with chef Phil Conlon heading the kitchen.
“Swine is a happy middle ground for people who want a good glass of wine in a lively, unpretentious environment, along with snacks or a full meal,” said Conlon, who used to cook at Café Cluny and Extra Virgin. “The menu has a fair amount of pig, like the house-made charcuterie and the 16-ounce Swine Chop, but we really wanted something for everyone. So consequently there are plenty of vegetarian, gluten-free, and pork-free options on the menu.”
Swine also offers a late night haven in an area that lacks eateries open past midnight. Until 3am Monday through Saturday, it will dish out plates like duck fat cashews, pig’s head terrine, and house-made ricotta, with beer, wine, and cocktails, including the appropriate bacon-infused Old Overholt drink called Pig in the City. Inside, Swine channels a classic, rocker dive bar with messy-plastered walls, exposed brick walls, rustic shelving and bare-bones light fixtures. Of course, given it was designed by Jason Volenec who did Tertulia and La Esquina, it has sleekness to the grime. In case eating pork off a refurbished-ping-pong-ball table in a trendy new spot wasn’t enough, they also have a vintage pinball machine upstairs.