It's not enough to simply be a restaurant anymore. The space must also house a butcher shop or a grocery store or a museum or...a recording studio? That's the gimmick at Esther & Carol, where there's dining upstairs and a mini music industry downstairs.

In its most recent past life the space housed HPH/Peter Poulakakos's restaurant Bacchanal, which closed in 2015 after less than two years in the former lighting district area of the Bowery. That enterprise also had a downstairs bar, which debuted after the upstairs restaurant opened.

Kevin King, former maitre’d at Balthazar and Narcissa, along with Cordell Lochin, worked with HPH to open this new venture. Executive Chef Eric Lapkin runs the kitchen, which offers an approachable-looking menu of tried-and-true classics like buttermilk fried chicken, a grain bowl, seared salmon and a proprietary burger. The Lobster Crab Cake ($16) with preserved lemon aioli and a La Tur cheese-stuffed Tortellini ($19) with favas in a butter "fondue" sound interesting.

For the curious, that large wooden piece is a "3D milled sculpture bar" made from Spanish cedar that Antoni Gaudí would have appreciated. Downstairs there's a bar and space for the recording sessions, which can be video recorded or live-streamed. They've also got Gibson instruments including the Les Paul Guitar and SG Guitar.

Once all the pieces of Esther & Carol come together there will be three distinct operations: the restaurant, the downstairs venue, and a fast casual takeout window opening later in May.

341 Broome Street;

Esther and Carol Menu by Nell Casey on Scribd