File Under: Hot Dates

Get down with the Red Hook Ramblers at the Dining & Libation Society's Fat Tuesday celebration on Feb. 16 at Rye House

  • My apologies for not getting out the word sooner, but this is one of those events that was booked just as fast as it was announced: Eben Freeman’s Cocktail All-Stars kicks off tonight at the Monday Room at Public. Good luck getting in if you don’t already have a reservation, but those who have a table will enjoy “Things Eurasian: An Exploration of Ancient Flavors and Modern Science.” Dave Arnold, FCI’s directory of culinary technology, Tony Conigliaro of London’s 69 Colebroke Row, Eben, and Michelin-starred chef Brad Farmerie will create the drinks. Tomorrow night, the series hits Madam Geneva from 8 pm to midnight for “Old Shanghai on Bowery.” Featuring cocktails by Eben, Jackie Patterson of Heaven’s Dog in San Francisco, Jim Meehan of PDT, Alex Day of Death & Co., Ryan Magarian of Portland, Ore., and Misty Kalkofen of Drink in Boston, as well as passed canapes. Tickets are $58.88, contact Liz Boothroyd at 212-254-0350 to see if this event is sold out or not. And on Wednesday, Feb. 10, the series closes at PDT with “Old-Timers Night: An Old-Fashioned Experience.” Look for old-school sipping and stirring: only bartenders over 40, and no drink is allowed to include anything more than a base spirit, a sweetener, and one flavoring agent. All-Stars include: Gary Regan, Dave Wondrich, Dale DeGroff, James Menite, Tony Conigliaro, Toby Cecchini, and Eben. Tickets are $78.88 for food and drink, email cocktailallstars@gmail.com for tickets.
  • Also on Wednesday, Feb. 10, Brugal Rum is hosting a love-themed cocktail competition at Clover Club in Brooklyn from 1 to 4 p.m. I’d give you all the details but new food and beverage site, InsideFandB.com, has done a great job already. Check it out!
  • Whether you’re hooked up or single, The Summit Bar is looking to get you hot and bothered this Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Leave it to mixologist Greg Seider to mix up three stimulating elixirs for the bar’s “Love Punch Party” from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Aphrodisiac cocktails will be $7 all night–one for him, one for her, and one for those who want to swing both ways!
  • And you won’t want to miss the Dining & Libation Society’s Fat Tuesday celebration at Rye House on Feb. 16. Tickets are $55 and will get you unlimited Sazeracs, French 75s, Stella Artois, and Red Hook beer while you dine on New Orleans-style hors d’oeuvres such as oyster bienville, crab ravigote, jambalaya, fried okra, crawfish po’ boys, turducken, fried pickles, and beignets, among other delicious eats. From 7 to 10 p.m.

Exclusive! Rye House to Open Tuesday

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The "Appleseed Cobbler" at Ryehouse. Photo by Jim Kearns.

Drinking options around Union Square are about to significantly improve as all-American gastropub Rye House soft-opens this weekend before fully opening on Tuesday. Located at 11 W. 17th St., between 5th and 6th Aves., just down the street from cocktail lounge Raines Law Room, Rye House emphasizes American food and spirits.

 I attended a super-soft opening last night and sampled an Appleseed Cobbler cocktail (Maker’s Mark bourbon, Applejack, cinnamon bark syrup, apples) and Chef Greg Johnson’s phenomenal buffalo sweetbreads paired with a Nectar IPA. Prepared in the style of buffalo wings and served with blue cheese and celery, the spicy, crunchy breading complemented the tender, creamy offal perfectly and made for a playful bar plate.

Owners Mike Janetta and Rob Lombardi (Sala Bowery and Sala 19) and Julio Herencia teamed up with Lynnette Marrerro (Zacapa Rum, Eletteria, Freemans, drinksat6) and Jim Kearns (Freemans, Mayahuel, Pegu Club) to develop the cocktail program. Lynette and Jim previously worked together to create the cocktail menu at now-closed Woodson & Ford. There’s also a selection of domestic craft beers on tap and domestic wines. The long white granite bar with antique shelves is packed with a selection brown spirits, especially micro-distilled/artisanal whiskies and bourbons.

“We wanted to use small-batch American spirits,” said Lynnette. “Every drink had to have an ounce or more of an American spirit. The drinks are American twists on classics. Some, like the Creole Daiquiri, show the best of American fusion. We wanted to have a seasonal julep since it is the quintessential American whisky drink.”

Plates by Chef Greg and Ann McKinney, chef de cuisine, include drunken mussels with wheat beer and tarragon, crayfish po’ boys, beef wellington sandwiches with filet mignon and foie gras on brioche, baby chicken with buttermilk spoonbread, and stout BBQ ribs. Rye House has a front bar area with plenty of seats at the bar as well as two long, farmhouse-style communal tables, and additional communal seating and booths in the back. The decor is a mix of rustic Americana with clean, modern lines, and dim, romantic lighting. I look forward to returning again soon!

The hotly-anticipated cocktail menu here:

The Mansfield: Bluecoat gin or Tito’s vodka, Dolin blanc, yellow Chartreuse, grapefruit bitters ($12)
17th St. Sazerac: Rittenhouse rye, Hine cognac, demerara, Peychaud & Angostura bitters, Marteau absinthe ($12)
Fleur de Lis: Aviation gin, St-Germain, lemon, orange bitters, champagne ($12)
Orange Blossom Special: Overholt Rye, lemon, simple, orange flower water, egg white, soda ($12)
Golden Delicious: Applejack 7½ year, lemon, honey syrup ($12)
Clara Bow: Bulleit Bourbon, St.-Germain, house made grenadine, lemon, mint ($12)
Rye House Punch: Chai-infused Rittenhouse Rye, Batavia Arrack, lemon, grapefruit, angostura bitters, soda ($12)
American  Highball: Buffalo Trace, Averna, soda, orange slice ($12)
Appleseed Cobbler: Maker’s Mark bourbon, Applejack, cinnamon bark syrup, apples ($12)
Rye House Julep: Peach-infused Death’s Door white whiskey, Applejack, mint ($13)
Creole Daiquiri: Old New Orleans 3 year rum, chorizo-infused Sombre Mezcal, lime, pomegranate molasses, cane syrup ($13)

Rye House, 11 W. 17th St. (212) 255-7260. The bar is open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily, dinner is served until 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch service will begin on Nov. 19 and brunch will start on Nov. 28.

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Jim Kearns and Jane Elkins at Rye House opening night.

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The antique bar at Rye House.

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Additional seating in the back room.

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Brown spirits rule at Rye House.

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Buffalo sweetbreads, a small plate at Rye House.