That stylish stretch of Church Street just south of Canal with all the upscale restaurants has a noteworthy new addition, and the name, though vanilla, is at least easy to remember. Church Street Tavern is more intriguing than the moniker suggests; decked out with leather banquettes, black subway tiles, bronze, brick, and brass, the barstaurant is a seductive counterpoint to the dark and sexy Macao Trading Co. down the block. The decor may not be as exotic as Macao, but the cocktail menu is inventive, and chef Chris Burke scores with his finely-tuned menu of crowd-pleasing comfort food.
One thing you should definitely order is the Fried Oysters, which come with hollandaise and a generous shaving of truffle on top. Warm, happy little clouds of edible perfection that melt in your mouth. Also worth highlighting: the addictive Crispy Artichoke; a big pile of fried artichoke clusters surrounding a delicious pool of lemon-tarragon yogurt. Burke says he's particularly happy with his Manhattan Fish Soup, which features saffron and vegetables, and should be increasingly appealing as we continue the long, dark descent into winter.
The Lamb Chops with white beans, coriander relish
Peruse the whole menu here, plus the extensive wine list. More awaits downstairs, where the small speakeasy Bandit's Roost takes the "dark & seductive" theme to the limit with more tufted banquettes and red felt walls with subway tiling. Named after Jacob Riis’s iconic 1888 photograph of the Bandit's Roost alleyway, the lounge offers bottle service, cocktails, and favors customers with a personalized entry card with a code written on it for admittance. Just like that back alley on Mulberry Street depicted in the photo! (We're told you don't necessarily need the code to get in, but it helps.)
313 Church Street // 212-804-7766