Just a hop and a skip from the New Orleans-themed bar, Ninth Ward, the East Village is set to get another taste of the Big Easy when Paul Gerard's new restaurant Exchange Alley opens to the public tomorrow on Ninth Street. And she sure does look pretty, huh?
Eventually hoping to serve food all day, the quirky restaurant—dominated by a giant painting of a toweled beauty holding up a steak—is starting off with a full dinner menu priced for the neighborhood. That means chef Gerard (who cooked at Sweetwater waaaay back when) is pushing snacks and apps ranging from the anchovy toast ($4) and peppers and pickled watermelon ($5) to the Big Easy BBQ shrimp ($11) and steamed clams casino ($14) with meatball fried pickled okra ($6) and jambalay balls ($8) thrown in for good measure.
Things jump up to the next bracket once you get to the mains, however. So think $16 orecchiette (with sweet sausage, spiced tomato and vodka sauce) and a $26 lamb chop (with quinoa tabbouleh and black olives). If you want veggies like charred kale or greek fries with those, you'll have to pay $6 a pop (or get three for $15). As for desserts? They are all $8.
Meanwhile there is the decor. And while we haven't actually been inside yet, from the photographs the space (designed in collaboration with partner Billy Gilroy of Employees Only) is of the eclectic style with lots of wood, quirky light fixtures and the like that clearly wants you to think the place has "been there forever." Will it actually be there forever? We'll soon find out!
424 East 9th Street // 212-228-8525 // Make a reservation