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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Good

Bobby Flay must be one heck of a boss. Chef Neil Mancale worked for him for a record 16 years. When you translate that to kitchen years (it’s kind of like calculations in dog years) that translates to, oh, a lifetime. But Manacle, a former NYC bus driver who grew up on Staten Island, started out as line cook on the opening team at Mesa Grill and just never left. He worked his way up to hold the top-level posts of chef de cuisine at Bolo and Bar Americain. (Incidentally, Neil is not the only one who’s been a Flay loyalist. Flay’s other number two, Larry Manheim, was also with him for over a decade.)

But all good things must come to an end, and last year Neil decided it was time to break away from Flay’s Teflon empire and find out what life in the kitchen might be like on his own. With him, he took a few lessons he says he attributes to Flay: a respect for seasonality and an appreciation for bold flavors and bright colors. But it seems that’s where Manacle drew the line. From the looks of the menu at Apiary, the super stylish East Village eatery he owns with Ligne Roset and partner Jenny Moon, you’d never know the two had ever shared a kitchen. Indeed, Flay’s hallmarks are nowhere to be seen. You won’t find a single habanero, ancho, chipotle, or jalapeno on your plate. Nor will you uncover anything barbecued, smoked or cornmeal-crusted. Absent are pepitas, plantains, chorizo and cornbread. Indeed, the appealing neighborhood-friendly menu at Apiary, which is heavy on ingredients like honey, curry, pistachios, fennel, olives, and lemon, reads (and eats) more like it came from someone who trained under Jimmy Bradley or Tom Valenti. It’s curious, but also impressive to me, that with his first foray out on his own, Neil chose to speak his own unique and distinct language so quickly an so confidently.

The restaurant itself is also quite different than anything Flay has ever opened. It’s small for one, with only 60 seats, and it’s delicately and elegantly designed by the furniture company Ligne Roset, with a smooth long bar hung with cone-shaped ivory fixtures. The modern dining room is divided from the bar by horizontal slots of smooth ebony wood, and is lit softly by silver-coated bare bulbs and a laser-cut crystal chandelier. At your table, you’ll be seated at wildly comfortable “Luca” chairs the color of Pinot Noir. You’ll most probably like to take t ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in East Village :
+ Yujin-- Closed   + Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar   + Mermaid Inn   + Five Points   + Lavagna   + Five Points   + Bond Street   + Jewel Bako   + Alphabet Kitchen   + In Vino   + Bao 111   + Chikalicious   + Il Buco   + Hearth   + Lima's Taste   + Mercadito   + Hedeh   + Momofuku   + Una Pizza Napoletana   + Winebar   + Uovo-- CLOSED   + Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction   + Gotham Bar & Grill   + Colors   + Chinatown Brasserie   + Knife and Fork   + European Union-- NEW CHEF; SEE APRIL 2007 Review   + Aroma Kitchen and Winebar   + Stand   + European Union   + Mercat   + Gemma   + Back Forty   + The Smith   + Seymour Burton   + Belcourt   + Graffiti   + The Redhead   + Double Crown    + Apiary   + Joe Doe   + Apiary by guest reviewer Kiri Tannenbaum   + DBGB   + Northern Spy   + Goat Town   + Saxon + Parole   + Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria   + Acme   + Calliope   + Nicoletta   + JEPPNEY by Claire Jaffe   + Feast   

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