With glamorous fine-diners, pared-back forager haunts, ego-driven celeb chefs and molecular pyrotechnics dazzling New York from top to bottom, it’s rather refreshing when a restaurant opens to little fanfare with the aim of becoming, in their own words, just your favourite neighbourhood joint. Chef Ryan Hardy (Aspen’s Montagna, Little Nell) and former Cru sommelier Robert Bohr’s new venture, Charlie Bird, eschews the hype in favour of an Italian-influenced, street art-plastered, honest-to-good offering that, while keeping things simple, is anything but plain.
The bi-level dining room is a sunny vision of raw wood, leather bucket chairs, Lyle Owerko print-lined walls, and mustard-yellow banquettes, with a peppering of vintage curios, like the 40s and 50s microphone collection proudly stationed by the front booth.
The menu is similarly fuss-free and inviting, with market-driven plates including Long Island fluke with pickled walnuts, lamb tongue and fried zucchini blossoms, and seasonal housemade pastas like casarecci with sausage, broccoli rabe and clams, and spaghetti with uni and spring onion.
Bohr’s wine list is unsurprisingly a star in its own right, with a broad selection of more than 100 bottles curated in conjunction with Momofuku wine director (and CB investor) Jordan Salcito. Simply good!