It’s surprising that there wasn’t already a wine and cocktail-focused restaurant in New York named after the debauchery surrounding the Greek god of the grape harvest (there is, unsurprisingly, one in New Orleans). That void will be filled when Bacchanal, a “casual fine dining restaurant,” opens its doors on Tuesday. Imagining a best of both worlds situation (a restaurant mullet of sorts) we decided to find out what casual fine dining means at a preview yesterday evening.
Brought to you by Bathtub Gin founders Peter Poulakakos and Dave Oz, Bacchanal offers straightforward, rustic fare. In fact, we only had to Google a handful of words to decipher the menu (velouté is a French sauce with a chicken stock base). Chef Scott Bryan (formerly of East Village’s Apiary) promises no tricks or surprises, just quality, local ingredients (with the exception of the Iberico ham and the octopus, which come from Spain).
The wine list, on the other hand, is anything but straightforward. If you don’t know your stuff, skip the 450 selections and head straight for the cocktails. The one with the baby’s breath may look unassuming, but it will get you nice and drunk, just like revelers of Bacchus in Greek times. “The wine festivities surrounding Bacchus were kind of risqué,” says Poulakakos. “But we thought it would be an interesting name for this historic area – it has that energy.”
The large dining room is slick and dark – rustic meets industrial – with a monstrous bar at its core. Safe to say it can easily accommodate all the hip yuppies that are migrating further and further downtown.
Bacchanal, 146 Bowery, nr. Broome; 646-355-1840