Much has been written about Death & Company since they came on the East Village scene a few months back. As you likely know by now, high-end cocktail people take their craft quite seriously and Phil, the head bartender here is no exception. Made with an array of well-selected spirits, juices, alternative liquid sweeteners and homemade bitters, each cocktail strives for a chilly, complex, and balanced flavor profile. Many of the drinks offered are not just trendy throwback drinks, but classic old ones refashioned and developed around the desire to showcase a particularly interesting class of spirit and/or producer. Get ready to try some Old Overholt Rye, an artisanal Mezcal, or some old-fashioned-new-kid-on-the-block Plymouth Gin surrounded in a glass by like-minded flavor neighbors. Look at this comment from when Gothamist last wrote about this spot, owner of small mescal producer Del Maguey is thrilled to learn that his product is being showcased. There is a real mutual appreciation here between the owners, customers, the bartenders and spirit makers.
The room itself is quite cozy and the no crush door policy of “leave us your cell number” makes for an enjoyable place when you are finally seated – this place is not for the inflexible need it now types. This relaxed room has given rise to some substantial grazing both at tables and along the bar.
Your table's food selection can be a light power-me-through-another-cocktail bite or strung together like endless plates of canapés at a cocktail soirée. And people are treating it like a restaurant, food sales are almost running even with liquor sales, oddly mirroring the menu offerings of 16 food items versus 19 liquor based cocktails. If you actually add back the non-alcoholic beverages into the food category, where they belong for “restaurant accounting”, it moves towards a statistical dead heat.
In the kitchen, an owner from B3 is putting together properly pre-portioned bites, and over a few visits things seem to be getting tweaked (Short Rib) towards getting each of the one-shot bites just right.
They are all the way there with an innovative cork-sized Fish & Chips that rolls a thin slice of fried potato around a tempura flounder, individually silver spoon plated Mac & Cheese with toasty breadcrumbs, and few tiny crème brulee with roasted pear in a pastry cup. Regardless of how you feel about crab cakes, the plating here with rouille deserves extra special mention for the inclusion of a Bouillabaisse back to wash down the marshmallow sized cake. Let us know in the comments if there are some dishes you liked or did not enjoy.
While all this might sound like a normal well functioning restaurant, doing good business and finding its stride, it turns out things are more complicated than that. We don't want to get too political, but Owner Dave Kaplan and Ravi DeRossi are having a rough go of it with Community Board #3, and have a Full Board Meeting set for tonight where their license comes up for a vote. Everything they are putting into their dream is in jeopardy, not unlike the plight of Heathers a few weeks back. Details are below if you are available to make yourself heard, and as an incentive to lure you there here is a great tip from Ed Levine on some exquisite Chinatown dumplings he first had at Calvin Trillin’s house. They are at Super Tasty, a noodle shop given tons of play by Robert Sietsema before he defected across the street. Anyhow, they have boiled pork dumplings made from tender shredded pork and toothsome dough, which priced at 10/$3 blow away any of the mainstream places like Dumpling House and Prosperity Dumplings. Grab some frozen ones for quick midweek dinners, 50/$8.
Community Board 3 Full Board Meeting
Tuesday, February 27, 2007 - 6:30pm
ChinatownYMCABeaconCenter located inside MS 131
100 Hester Street (Between Eldridge & Forsyth Streets)
Super Tasty restaurant is at Eldridge just south of Grand.