Alias may not have been a destination restaurant, but it was a regular stop for LES denizens before it shuttered last year — it was a low key spot especially popular for brunch and its killer Monday night deals. So when Michael Reynolds and Carlos Baz decided to pick up the lease for Black Crescent (76 Clinton Street, 212-477-1771), they retooled their original concept idea so they could fulfill a bit of Alias’ former role.
“Initially, we were going to do cocktails and oysters only,” Baz says. The pairing made sense — Baz comes from seafood purveyor Wild Edibles while Reynolds has worked at Booker & Dax, the Beagle, and the bar at Gallows Green. But when Hurricane Sandy derailed the deal they had in the works for the Verso space on Avenue C, they landed on Clinton instead, and the oyster program expanded into a wider seafood menu.
And thanks to Baz’s background, it was an easy switch: “We were able to put our hands on some of the best seafood on the Eastern Seaboard,” he says. “So we could put super high-end seafood in front of our customers for a really reasonable price.” The team brought on chef Dustin Everett, a Momofuku Ssam Bar alum who also worked with New Orleans chef John Besh. He built out the menu to include highlights like smoked and pastrami-cured salmon and the poached cobia.
As for the drinks list, says Reynolds, “We’re as much of a cocktail bar as you can be while wearing tee shirts and not being snooty. We have people who know what they’re doing, and we’re doing the classics with our spin on them.” Check out the rabbit key, a blend of bell pepper-infused gin, yellow Chartruese, lemon, and honey. And expect the beverage board to change: drinks will be seasonal, Reynolds says, like the food.
The space itself has been given a significant facelift: Alias’ tiny bar has been replaced with an l-shaped counter, a community table anchors the center of the room, and wood paneling gives the space a more tavern-like feel.
Black Crescent opened in the middle of last month, and it’s currently open from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. daily. Stop by between 6 and 8 p.m. or midnight and 1 a.m., and you’ll be privy to $1 oysters. And eventually, look for brunch, too.
Hit the next page for a few photos.