“What else would you cook in a restaurant on the edge of a greenmarket?” asks Scott Gerber, the brains behind a coterie of hotspots including Kingside and now Irvington (201 Park Avenue South, 212-677-0425). “Our vegetables come from the market, our eggs, our butter. That’s what dictates the menu: what looks great on the stall across the street.”
Situated in the bottom of the W hotel at the top of Union Square, Irvington is a light, bright remodel, filled with reclaimed wood, leather banquettes, and a giant Marcus Pierce painting of a headless horseman.
Chef David Nichols, ex Landmarc, presides over the open plan kitchen, dominated by a revolving rotisserie grill. “It’s a real focal point,” says Nichols. “The ducks and chickens and porchetta spinning on the spit, the vegetables roasting below in the drippings — those potatoes! The smell…it draws you in and lets you be part of the experience. It’s such a comforting way to cook — and eat.
“I was raised on an apple, pear, and cherry farm, so for me, this restaurant, almost in the farmers’ market, is like coming home. I love to highlight fresh, local ingredients, and let them really shine.”
Early favorites include the lamb tartare infused with harissa, and the house-made sausages: merguez flatbreads, wild boar with roasted peppers, and, up at the bar, an old-school hot dog served with a less old-school tomatillo kimchi.
The cocktail list, curated by Nico Symanski, is all in on traditional cocktails with a real point of view. Manhattans and old-fashioneds are cured in barrels for a couple of weeks to round out the flavors. Aged negronis are mixed with house-made soda to give them an effervescent zip, and you can pop the cap on a glass bottle of your very own moscow mule. “Cocktails should be fun and intriguing,” says Gerber. “The spirit we want to create here isn’t fussy. It’s comfortable. Not stuffy. Get dressed up or down, settle in. We hope that people will feel that vibe and treat it like a neighborhood place, where you can just relax and have a great dinner.”
Plus, as a bonus, your server can tell you the name of the guy who pulled up your carrots, and the fisherman who caught your salmon. “I really love that,” says Nichols. “It’s really interesting to know.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 27, 2015