A breeze blew pleasantly through the open doors and windows of Sel Rrose, where a few parties getting an early start on the evening perched on stools and sipped cocktails in highball glasses. The long, narrow spot is lined with tables and sparsely decorated; drinkers at the white stone bar face a distressed exposed wall and what looks like a large garden ornament featuring a small cherubic character hoisting a bowl-shaped fountain above its head.
Per the Sel Rrose blog–worth perusing for history buffs and anyone curious about the origins of the spot’s name–architectural inspiration for the space comes from Paris’s Maison de Verre, “a gleaming glass cube of a private home that is a stunning example of the early modernist movement in architecture.” The name pays tribute to Marcel Duchamp’s feminine alter ego Rrose Sélavy, and the cocktail list is built as a nod to Duchamp’s perfume Belle Haleine. That’s why you’ll find menu descriptions read like a fancy soap shop’s product list, with concoctions that include vanilla bean, lavender, herbes de provence, and plenty of citrus.
The blog also dives into the restaurant’s place in New York City, naming oyster cellars and dance halls that thrived in this town in the 19th century as inspiration. It explores the rise and fall of New York’s oyster trade, a once-booming fishing industry that halted in 1927. And it gives a detailed account of former inhabitants the Sel Rrose address, revealing that the earliest tenant of 173 Bowery/1 Delancey was a watchmaker back at the beginning 19th century, and the plot has been home to hotels, a hosiery maker, and a publishing house over the years.
Sel Rrose comes from Home Sweet Home and Fig 19 owner Kristin Vincent, who plans to install a kitchen that serves oysters, raw bar items, and French seafood dishes sometime later this summer.
In the meantime, a first taste of a couple of the cocktails:
The Fresh Widow, a soothing blend of rye tempered by coconut syrup, sweet pineapple, and tart lime.
The Belle Haleine stirs together gin and sweet vermouth plus salted vanilla bean syrup. It’s finished with a topper of Champagne, adding fizz to an otherwise voluptuous drink.
The thyme-centric French 27, made with thyme-infused rum, a smoked honey syrup, lime, and more champagne.
The aromatic lavender piscine twists a traditional champagne-based piscine cocktail by adding an ice cube studded with bits of lavender plus syrup imbued with herbes de provence.
Sel Rrose also offers a three French wines.