Upon descending into the West Village speakeasy, I immediately am confronted with a moment of deja vu as I cogitate and reminisce of the former Beatrice Inn, headed by Paul Sevigny and Matt Abramcyk, which ruled the NYC nightlife scene for over two years in the late 2000s. Best known for attracting models, socialites and heavy party animals, The Beatrice Inn was the place to be at the pinnacle of its brief existence. However, over two years following the Beatrice’s demise, Vanity Fair icon and Editor in Chief, Graydon Carter, announced his plans to transform the former denizon of transgressions into an upscale, neighborhood chop house. Considering Carter’s massive success with the celeb infused Waverly Inn and takeover of midtown’s Monkey Bar, hype immediately emerged regarding Carter’s third undertaking.
Following the soft opening in late 2012, The Beatrice Inn, like Carter’s previous two “clubhouses” received less than favorable reviews regarding its menu and in fact dealt with high turnover as Per Se alum, Brian Nasworthy, only lasted a few months, prior to being replaced by A Voce, alum, Hilary Sterling.
It’s five past Nine on a Friday evening and the front bar is bustling with beautiful people. Akin to the Waverly, the Beatrice’s bar deserves tremendous praise as it not only represents a great place to hang before being seated, but is also acts as a perfect destination to people watch and grab a speciality cocktail before going out. After hanging for nearly twenty minutes, our group was seated. Overall the room was packed, with nearly every table comprised of an eclectic mix of upscale, discerning patrons. The range in age reminded me of a typical upscale restaurant in Paris where no definable age bracket abounds. As we approached the table, I noticed Sting and his wife seated to our right, which underscores the power and influence of Graydon Carter.
Although the menu is limited, it nevertheless is comprised of some auspicious starters including:Garoe Sausage ($15), Marinated Beets ($15) and Dumplings ($14/$26) . The Garoe Sausage (Wild Boar, Squash Brodo, Egg Yolk and Pine Nuts) was small but tasty and the Marinated Beets (Pistachios, Foie Gras, Tardivo and Orange) was quite good. In fact, Carter and Sterling’s menu is indeed vegetarian friendly, focusing on a plethora of vegetable based sides and appetizers that are worth a try. The standout starter were the Dumplings, which were served hot, including ham, goat cheese and gnudi. While the price based on the miniscule portion was prohibitive, the soft texture and creativity of the handmade dish, which reminded me of a warm mozzarella side I relished at one of my favorite’s, Antico Arco, in Rome, is easily one of the best on the menu.
While the menu is devoid of any one standout entree, it features american classics including: Roasted Chicken ($26), Halibut ($32), New York Strip ($45), Veal Breast ($29) and Lamb Porterhouse ($45). Like the Dumplings, quality over quantity abounds at the Beatrice as portions are relatively small but yet the substance and epicurean is omnipresent. Overall, the food and menu at the Beatrice does not encapsulate the modern speakeasy’s brilliance and charm and unique character. The Beatrice Inn stands out amongst many pretentious “wanna be” sceney restaurants because it does not pretend or try to be cool, it is cool. Carter forwent a active website, omits to publicly display a number (a mobile number is used to confirm reservations via text) and continues to fortify his most recent creation by maintaining a very “in the know” crowd, thus, creating a level of comfort and social affirmation. In a city that is inundated with private membership clubs and modern speakeasy’s, The Beatrice Inn represents one of the most genuine and sophisticated rooms that proves to be a quintessential clubhouse for the A-List.
285 West 12th Street
New York, NY, 10014