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What to Order at The Eddy, a Newcomer to the East Village

On East 6th Street between First and Second Avenues stands The Eddy (342 East 6th Street, 646-895-9884), a new venture from chef Brendan McHale and co-owner Jason Soloway of Wallflower and Mother’s Ruin. Dressed in a black-and-grey exterior, its muted look is welcome on this stretch, famous for its Indian restaurants festively decorated with Christmas lights. Step inside, however, and the arch-backed bar glitters with candlelight and terraced Edison bulbs. To the right, you’ll find a pillbox dining room decorated in whitewashed brick, restored wood, and dark blue chairs, banquettes, and booths.

 

Kelvin Uffre’s shakers are the clattering soundtrack for this handsome, shimmering backdrop. The genial bartender, formerly of Aldea and Maison Premiere, has constructed a menu of complicated, proprietary cocktails that remain nuanced despite the occasional laundry list of ingredients. To wit: a breezy, tropical Mont Blanc refresher combines shochu, boutique vermouth, jasmine-infused coconut cream, Clandestine absinthe, pinot grigio, and grapefruit; it’s half cobbler, half flowery piña colada.

Let’s also give the bar team props for the inspired garnishes. Depressed by one too many lemons served with my tacos as of late, I felt especially flush receiving this ornately carved lime wedge. The drink this distinguished citrus adorns, another floral riff on a classic (this time on a rum swizzle), mixes damson plum gin with rosehip-infused rhum agricole, and the Caribbean syrup called falernum — infused with guava, of course. There’s also a bracing, bitter take on an Old Fashioned with rye, minty Branca Menta, macadamia gomme syrup, and an Italian amaro called Genepi.

Mr. McHale takes a pointed approach to his food that straddles that tenuous line between casual and fine dining. Eight of the 12 savory dishes are small plates or bar snacks (although not labeled as such), and the meal begins with a preface from the front of the house: “We serve family style, which means food comes out when it’s ready. We encourage sharing.”

Buck the trend, and you’ll do just fine with entrée portions of pastrami beef tongue ($24), grass-fed rib eye ($29), or lamb loin ($26). There’s also vegetarian ricotta gnocchi ($21) with pea greens and pickled ramps, but those with brinier ambitions should look to the upper half of the menu. Discover lightly seared cuttlefish tangled with sweet peppers and strips of pancetta, the meaty cephalopod only slightly softer than the lardons. Both surf and turf are bolstered by piquant garlic and almond ajo blanco puree and a pile of herbal, celery-like lovage leaves.

More in your face is dill-flecked smoked arctic char ($6) in a small preserve jar meant to spread onto salted potato skins. The char is smoked generously enough that it can stand up to the slightly oily skins, the dill a fragrant and sweet counterpoint. The jar could be a bit larger, but at least you get potato skins rather than middling toasts. It’s an inspiring highbrow/lowbrow mash-up — and we all know the kind of passion potato skins can inspire:

Another high/low bar snack, this raft of bacon mashed potato tater tots ($7) wearing grain mustard and English pea puree berets is heavy enough to stand as an appetizer for one. That spring pea puree is nice and verdant.

Three tiny puffed beef tendon cups ($5) hold a ranch-like charred onion crème. Topped with trout roe for smooth salinity, the crunchy bites deliver a nice punch, but they’re not much of a bargain compared to the rest of the menu.

There are just two desserts. One of them is a scoop of ice cream with pretzel crumbs and dehydrated cake for $9. Look, instead, to the cardamom panna cotta with rhubarb ice, basil, olive oil, and a lashing of sea salt.

The Eddy is off to a strong start. And as it relates to its siblings, it performs admirably in its function as equal parts serious cocktail bar and ambitious dining destination.


 

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The 10 Best Frozen Drinks in NYC

Break out the acid wash denim jorts — it’s downright summery outside. And no better way to celebrate a warm day (or pretend that it’s swimsuit season) than with a frozen drink. Here are our 10 favorites around town.

10. Kelvin Natural Slush, check website for locations

Alex Rein and Zack Silverman made an icy splash with this frozen drink company in 2010 and have since found love and thirsty admiration from food celebrities like Martha Stewart and Andrew Zimmern. The customizable beverages can be mixed with fruit purees, herbs, and booze — several versions of which can be found in the warm months at Madison Square Garden. Seasonal suggestions from Kelvin’s slush jerks always satisfy, but we’ve got a soft spot for their lightly floral citrus tea with bourbon.

9. Bushwick Country Club, 618 Grand Street, Brooklyn; 718-388-2114

This East Williamsburg wonderland for the tight-pantsed and snark-raving masses offers many of the hipster watering hole trappings that Brooklynites have come to know and love: kitschy decor, a photo booth, picklebacks, and a slushie machine that whirs nonstop, spewing forth frozen sweet tea vodkas and whiskey and Cokes whose mugs frost over with the promise of relief and inebriation. There’s a charming albeit dilapidated mini-golf course in the backyard patio. When the weather’s nice, there’s no better place for a brain freeze.

8. Nights and Weekends, 1 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-383-5349

With cocktail and food menus that play fast and loose with tropical influence, this sister establishment to beloved neighborhood restaurant Five Leaves plies revelers with plenty of rum and tequila, plates of mojo pork ribs, callaloo, and fish tacos served grilled or fried baja-style. Frozen margarita flavors change daily and use premium Combier triple sec, and a rotating “slushie del dia” keeps patrons well-lubricated with fruit flavors like watermelon and mango.

7. Otto’s Shrunken Head, 538 East 14th Street, 212-228-2240

Before Tiki took the city by storm a few years ago, this eccentric island-themed bar — replete with naugahyde booths, faux grass over the bar, and plenty of bamboo — found success among the city’s punk adherents, who perhaps ironically flocked to 14th Street to hear their favorite bands and slurp down sizeable carafes of Polynesian and frozen cocktails. Steer clear of inventions like the scurvy dog (cinnamon vodka with butterscotch) in favor of fruit daiquiris and a creamy chocolate slushy reminiscent of that most esteemed of Floridian tipples, the Bushwacker (basically, a chocolate pina colada).

6. Skinny Dennis, 152 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn; no phone

Don’t let the Williamsburg-Honkey tonk atmosphere deter you: This sibling to pooch-friendly bar Lucky Dog serves one of the city’s finest frozen drinks (in a borough that already shows plenty of love for slushies), an amalgam of Oslo coffee, milk, vanilla, sugar, bourbon, coffee liqueur, and brandy dubbed Willie’s Frozen Coffee. The icy mixture receives an extra slug of bourbon on top, and Skinny Dennis bartenders serve the concoction in the quintessential Greek-inflected coffee cups that have become synonymous with down and dirty NYC java.

5. Debasaki, 3367 Farrington Street, Queens; 718-886-6878

Low-lit Flushing Korean joint Debasaki is known around the populated dining neighborhood for its ‘gyoza’ chicken wings – hollowed-out, boneless wings filled with vegetables, cheese, or shrimp – as much as for its pitchers of frozen soju (a clear Korean distilled beverage with a lower proof than vodka). Available in fruit flavors like frothy, pink strawberry and a thick, creamy plain yogurt variety, the drinks pack tons of flavor but little intoxicating punch, leaving you to sip away for hours with little fear of repercussion.

4. Uncle Boons, 7 Spring Street; 646-370-6650

Besides cooking one of the best versions of curry-based Thai noodle stew khao soi, this quirky Nolita restaurant from Per Se vets Matt Danzer and Ann Redding, which opened last April, serves infinitely appealing Chang and Singha beer slushies. The frosty suds are agitated in a motorized ice bucket, which helps create enough movement within the bottles that the beer maintains its slushy state. They’re innocuous compared with other beers, but there’s no better relief from Uncle Boons’ chili-spiked fare than these frozen brews.

3. Battery Harris, 64 Frost Street, Brooklyn; 718-384-8902

What was once expansive beer garden Loreley has been transformed into this Caribbean restaurant and bar, which sports the same large outdoor patio for partying when the weather’s nice. Head bartender Saul Ranella — formerly of La Mar Cebicheria — mixes a lineup of inventive cocktails with an island bent (while still occasionally utilizing Peruvian ingredients like Pisco, maize, and mint), including a slush-ified take on that ambassador of Anglo-Caribbean drinks, the Dark’n’Stormy, and a frozen version of the Peruvian purple corn drink called chicha morada mixed with passion fruit juice, Pisco, and traditional Peruvian Amargo Chuncho bitters.

2. Daily slushie from Mother’s Ruin, 18 Spring Street, 212-219-0942

Yes, this place is down the street from #4 pick Uncle Boons, but Richard Knapp and TJ Lynch have imbued this spacious Nolita watering hole with a ramshackle charm. Tin ceilings and large back tables encourage socializing in addition to drinking, and a slushy machine holds court up front, filled with whatever flavors strike the bartenders on that particular day. Sweet fruits are on heavy rotation (anything with bananas is a good bet), but the machine occasionally plays host to frozen bloody marys as well.

1. Frozen Horchata from El Quinto Pino, 401 West 24th Street, 212-206-6900

This gorgeous tapas bar from husband and wife team Alex Raij and Eder Montero expanded into an adjacent space last year, finally giving the restaurant a proper dining room dubbed “El Comedor.” Even with the ornate back room up and running, the U-shaped bar up front is still the place to be. True to its Spanish roots, El Quinto Pino’s bartenders serve a variety of sherry and gin-based tipples. Half-dessert, half-cocktail (which could be said for many of the picks on this list), the frozen horchata bears little resemblance to the Mexican cinnamon-and-rice-milk concoction most people associate with the name, basing this version instead on an icy scoop of frozen chufa tiger nut milk, which melts lusciously into a shot of brandy.

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Bars FOOD ARCHIVES NYC ARCHIVES

Recipe: Cedilla Chope From Mother’s Ruin

The drink: Cedilla Chope

The bar: Mother’s Ruin

The bartender: T.J. Lynch

The ingredients: 3/4 ounce Cedilla Acai Liqueur, 3/4 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce ginger syrup, Pilsner or wheat beer

The process: Shake cedilla, lemon juice, and ginger syrup with ice. Top with beer. Garnish with a lemon wheel and ginger slice.

For the ginger syrup: 1 cup unpeeled, fresh ginger; 1 cup sugar; 3 cups water

Cut ginger into chunks and put into a food processor until finely chopped. Put ginger, sugar, and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium to low heat until it becomes a thick syrup (about 30 to 45 minutes). Strain the syrup through a sieve, then chill.