off the menu
An offshoot of Sushi Noz in Chelsea, a pop-up boutique from the Greek chef Maria Loi and more restaurant news.
By Florence Fabricant
In their latest venture, Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, who own four highly regarded restaurants in the West Village, have been seduced by history. And it’s not just the history of this location, which was built in 1911, and formerly housed Fifty, Commerce, Grange Hall, Blue Mill Tavern and a speakeasy before that. “We’re taking it back to a colonial tavern,” Ms. Williams said, even including a Tavern Room, fitted with a dark wood back bar, a zinc counter, custom stools and compact booths. They also did their homework, looking to an old store in Virginia that was once a train station for floor and ceiling boards, a Vermont maker of Shaker-style furniture for the chairs and benches in the large dining room and even the fonts Ms. Sodi used for the menu. “It’s all about simplicity and craftsmanship,” Ms. Williams said. Food in the tavern, open now with the dining room coming soon, starts with oysters served raw, pickled or fried. Then the choices are smoked cod cakes, country ham, marrow with mushrooms, greens with buttermilk dressing, spoon bread and baked apple. Wines are domestic, mostly East Coast. The dinner menu, in the sparsely decorated white-tablecloth dining room, will feature roasts like duck and pork. For breakfast, also on the horizon, there will be scrapple, porridge, eggs and smoked fish. In keeping with the historic approach, bartenders haul ice for drinks like milk punches and switchels in 25-pound blocks with vintage tongs, and electronics are hidden in drawers. There is no espresso machine. But at the same time, Ms. Williams and Ms. Sodi insist it’s not a theme park frozen in the past: They use olive oil, not typical of the era being evoked. “It fits with some of our dishes, but we’re also thrilled to be using ingredients that aren’t French or Italian, to be exploring a new genre,” Ms. Williams said. “We’re having a lot of fun.”
50 Commerce Street (Barrow Street), no phone, thecommerceinn.com.
The very traditional Sushi Noz on the Upper East Side, with two intimate rooms for high-priced tasting menus, has opened this similarly upscale offshoot in Chelsea. Here, the $400 omakase, served at a counter seating just seven and relying on imported and domestic seasonal ingredients, can run to 30 courses. The price includes gratuity but not beverages or tax. The chef, Junichi Matsuzaki, was at Sushi Noz. The company’s uptown fish market, next to the Upper East Side location, is closed for renovations. (Opens Wednesday)
458 West 17th Street, no phone, noz17.com.
Maria Loi, the Greek chef, restaurateur and television personality now based in New York, has opened a pop-up boutique selling products she imports from Greece, like olive oils, honeys and pasta, along with items that she likes from some Greek companies, like sauces and tahini. This shop, in the Plaza, about a block east of her restaurant, Loi Estiatorio, also carries prepared food, including baklava, and will be open until through Feb. 14.
The Plaza, 1 West 58th Street, loiestiatorio.com.
The name of this bar, in the first NH Collection hotel in North America from this hotel group located in Madrid, is a pun, nodding to its Madison Avenue address, as well as the era of “Mad Men,” the business of advertising and the three-martini lunch. Martinis and an updated manhattan made with tequila are some of the drinks. Food is provided by the Serafina chain, which will be opening a location in the hotel.
NH Collection New York Madison Avenue Hotel, 212-802-0600, nh-hotels.com.
To raise money to help the state’s tornado victims, Cote Korean Steakhouse in Manhattan and Cote Miami are, through Friday, donating $10 of the $25 price of their Cote Fashioned, made with Kentucky bourbon, to the Lee Initiative, a nonprofit that works with restaurants on the community level. Cote is also matching each $10 donation. The cocktail is available for sipping in, only.
leeinitiative.org, cotenyc.com, cotemiami.com.
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