Chef Todd Mitgang is a native Long Islander, but his restaurant resume encompasses everything from Thai cuisine at Kittichai to Mexican street fare at Cascabel Taqueria. So when the opportunity to expand his horizons by opening Bo’s (6 West 24th Street, 212-234-2373), a New Orleans-inspired restaurant, in Manhattan fell in his lap, Mitgang embraced it as a challenge, focusing on the blend of European, African, and American influences that defines this type of food.
And besides, “we didn’t want to be so heavy handed with New Orleans,” the chef, who also helms the kitchen at Montauk’s South Edison and Crave Fishbar, explains. “We wanted to have this place of New York City urban cuisine and have this line of New Orleans flavors running through the menu.” See the Montauk Pearl oysters, for instance, making appearances with accompaniments like green tomato pepper jelly.
Still, some of the Bo’s menu deals in dishes not seen here often. For example: crispy alligator. So far, customers haven’t been squeamish about ordering it, either, Mitgang says, but if you’re not into the idea of eating reptiles, you’ll find plenty of other options: The menu features everything from a roots and remoulade salad to buttermilk fried chicken. The chef’s experience with seafood is a solid match to New Orleans’ renowned love of ocean dwellers, and he’ll also dole out gulf shrimp and roasted oysters.
The food matches a drinks list that’s cocktail-heavy; you’ll find inventive creations, classics, and a whole section dedicated to martinis. The beer syllabus includes Louisiana favorites as well as local selections, and the considerable by-the-glass wine list strikes a balance between old and new world with a couple of local selections, too.
The team channeled New Orleans in the decor scheme, too; exposed brick is hung with ornate fixtures and gilded mirrors, and glass geometric lamps dangle from the ceiling. The sign on the front door pays tribute to a business partner of owner Steven Kristel’s, Andrew “Bo” Young III. Young’s father played an integral role in the Civil Rights movement, and the name is symbolic of the family’s relationship with New Orleans and the importance its cuisine plays in their daily life.
Bo’s officially opened it’s doors a week ago; it’s currently running dinner every night but Sunday.