The Eddy is a jewel box of a restaurant nestled between identical-feeling Indian restaurants at the eastern end of 6th Street's Curry Row.
Chef Brendan McHale and partner Jason Soloway (Wallflower, Mother's Ruin) have created a respite, a calm eddy in a river of chicken tikka masala: beautiful reclaimed-wood beams, whitewashed brick, navy-blue banquettes and booths.
There's much to love about the place. Here's our admittedly biased top five:
① Mr. McHale. Full disclosure: McHale, who cut his teeth working with Barbara Lynch in Boston and at the late, beloved Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar in the East Village, was most recently Tasting Table's Test Kitchen & Dining Room executive chef. "I've been thinking about opening a restaurant since I was 15," says our talented former colleague. We're proud of the guy.
② Black-tie bar snacks. McHale's expressive, elegant but not-too-serious New American bites--like super-creamy bacon-tater tots ($7)--are a running leap above standard-issue bar snacks. His thoughtful take on a chicharron: an ethereal beef tendon puff ($5) topped with a riff on sour cream and onion dip and a few pearls of trout roe.
③ Classic drinks in classy cups. Who can resist a cocktail served in an antique teacup? Our Lily of the Valley ($13), a gorgeously violet-hued combination of Greenhook Gin, blueberry lavender cordial, lemon and sea salt, came in a fluted, gold-rimmed china cup.
④ Cerebral seafood. McHale's an avid fisherman, and The Eddy is named as such because New York State is the origin of fly-fishing in the United States. His treatment of seafood is downright artful, as in a texturally beautiful scallop crudo ($14) served with fish sauce- and sherry-inflected mushroom escabeche.
⑤ Nice lines. We were wondering why we liked the dining room so much, and then McHale pointed out: "The lines in the beams in the dining room match the ones in the bar, and the arcs in the lighting match the arcs in the beams." Pretty cool. And just really pretty.