Here's a look inside (and on top of) Bell Book & Candle, a new West Village restaurant that sources 60 percent of its ingredients about as locally as you can get—from up on the roof. The restaurant uses an elaborate, energy-efficient aeroponic growing system (none of that filthy soil!) to grow everything from Garbanzo Beans to watermelon. Six stories about the restaurant, 60 Aeroponic Towers grow approximately 70 varieties of herbs, vegetables and fruits, many of them heirloom varietals. The bounty is then lowered down to the kitchen via a (carbon neutral) pulley on the side of the building.
Most of the other produce is grown in a cold-weather greenhouse, located in Lancaster, PA, and the meat, fish and fowl is shipped by diesel truck from Alaskan helicopter game hunters. Kidding, it's all from regional farms and producers, of course. The menu leads with Bites and Sides, a section which includes dishes for sharing as well as some traditional sides. There are Crispy Fried Oysters, three fried oysters served in a green chile buttermilk dressing and topped with a julienne of celery root ($9); Lobster Tacos, sautéed lobster with spinach and pepper jack cheese served in two homemade tacos with a tomatillo and avocado salsa ($9); and Drunken Bean Dip, a layered pinto bean dip with Cypress Grove goat cheese and marinated tomatoes ($8).
Entrees include a Roasted Monkfish, Oyster and Chorizo Corn Bread Stuffing, 6-ounce piece of roasted monkfish with oyster and chorizo corn bread stuffing which is toasted and served with a drizzle of chorizo oil ($26); and the BBC Burger, a traditional patty melt served with New York Rye and Vermont aged cheddar and comes with pickles made from rooftop cucumbers and grilled onions ($12). They also serve a late night menu of an abbreviated appetizer and entrée dinner menu as well as oysters, charcuterie and cheese plates
As for the name, Bell Book & Candle refers to a method of excommunication from the Catholic Church (ring the bell, close the book and quench the candle). It's also the title of a 1958 Jimmy Stewart-Kim Novak comedy about a witch who lives in the Greenwich Village, where the restaurant it located (in a landmarked building that dates back to 1900). At the entrance, there's a 15-seat bar area, leading into a 35-seat dining room with more booths in a skylight-lit corridor. The kitchen is open, and there's a 12-seat chef's table made of reclaimed heart pine wood from an old tenement building in the Lower East Side. All the best trends, all in one restaurant!
141 West 10th Street (between Waverly Place & Greenwich Ave) // (212) 414-2355