Chapter One is located at 33 Greenwich Avenue, click here for the website, 212-842-9146, and is open for dinner, Mon-Thu from 4pm-midnight, Fri-Sat, 4pm-1am, Sun 4pm-midnight, for brunch Sat-Sun from 10am-4pm. Lunch coming soon.
Chapter One is a classic example of what an American tavern should be. Straightforward, unpretentious, friendly and comfortable, it’s a place that proves that fine food and drink doesn’t have to be fussy, and casual doesn’t have to mean ordinary. It’s a place designed to appeal to its West Village neighbors. Chapter One is direct and uncomplicated with a focus on quality and substance, rather than pomp and circumstance. Guests are equally welcome whether they come looking for a complete dining experience, an evening of cocktails and snacks with friends, or a couple of beers or glass of wine at the bar.
Chef Warren Baird’s kitchen is professional and fine-tuned. He has worked at some of the finest kitchens in Europe and is blessed with the good looks of a movie star,
Partner Ann Marie Delaney, who manages day-to-day operations, grew up in the restaurant business, learning from her father Austin Delaney, one of the creators of the successful Rosie O’Grady Irish restaurants and bars. Her experience includes managing three top restaurants in Boston and working with two James Beard award-winning chefs, Lydia Shire and Michael Schlow. Back in New York, she worked alongside her father as General Manager and Wine Director at his Harbour Lights restaurant at the South Street Seaport. Sadly, after 25 years in business, Ann Marie was forced to close the doors after Hurricane Sandy. But now a new story has begun with Chapter One in the West Village.
Ann Marie chose a historic location on Greenwich Avenue as the perfect place to celebrate American food and drink. The decor honors Old New York with archival photographs of the old neighborhood, a classic bar with plush barstools, and a sleek, elegant design accented with Oxblood banquets and pewter-topped dining tables, and great views of the street from any seat in the house.
Chef Warren Baird heads the kitchen as Executive Chef. Trained at Johnson & Wales in Charleston, SC, Baird worked for many years in Charlotte before landing in New York at Esca, where he served as sous chef. At Chapter One, he is combining hard work and raw talent to produce an enticing menu of his own invention; rooted in the classics and distinctly American. The ingredients are prime: Hereford Beef, Long Island Duck, Berkshire Pork, and fresh local seafood and vegetables, and the menu changes with the seasons.
Everything is made from scratch, beginning with the bar snacks—crispy spiced chickpeas, house-made pork rinds, and smoked almonds. Starters for fall include cast-iron cornbread baked to order and served hot out of the oven in its skillet with a dab of melting maple butter. Whipped salt cod will convert the hesitant—it’s comfort in a dish, blended with smooth, smoked-potato puree with caramelized onion, perfect for sharing. And for those who look for comfort in a bowl, cauliflower soup is heavenly: smooth, creamy and savory, with the light sweet touch of caramelized brown butter apples, garnished with the complementary flavors of crisp sunchoke chips. Another new menu item is grilled quail beautifully prepared and served on a soft bed of mushroom barley with bright-red beet-raisin chutney.
The mains have been updated for fall too: Herb-crusted cod, moist, tender and delicious, is served with brilliant bacon-braised endive and roasted Brussels spouts. Brick chicken is the Platonic ideal of a classic: crispy skin, matched by equally crisp leaves of kale and highlighted with delectable delicata squash, cooked until meltingly tender with hazelnut butter. Seared scallops are paired with celery root puree and a sweet-tart-crunchy apple and fennel salad. 12-hour pork belly shows off Baird’s Southern roots with a side of chorizo-apple pudding and beer-braised collards. Perfectly rendered duck confit (the best dish in the house) is matched with perfect companions—red cabbage, maple-flavored rutabaga and crispy sweet potato. In addition, there’s a spectacular new side dish, mac n cheese with house-made bacon and thyme, baked and served in a cast-iron skillet.
For dessert, Chef Baird dips into his pastry experience with a bit of savory influence—smoked chocolate pudding is enriched with cocoa nibs and capped with creamy buttermilk mousse. Salty, sweet and bitter (beer) come together in the apple-IPA fritters, served with salted caramel ice cream and walnut streusel. The warm carrot cake is uncommonly good, yet still homey, drizzled with vanilla goat-cheese fondue and showered with candied kumquat on top.
Weekend brunch includes egg dishes such as an elevated version of the bodega standard egg sandwich, with house bacon (12-hour pork belly sliced, confited, pressed and deep fried), avocado and jalapeño mayo. Local duck has a starring role on the brunch menu as well: from a sunny side up local duck egg (richer and more satisfying than chicken eggs), alongside with chorizo-apple pudding and Brussels sprouts, to duck confit hash with poached egg and smoky hollandaise. There’s also an amazing breakfast burger piled with white cheddar, onion jam, house bacon and an egg on an Orwasher’s potato roll with toasty hash browns. Baird also makes “other than egg” dishes his own: For example, he does a 3-day cure and a 2-hour cold smoke on Scottish salmon before presenting it with cucumber, crème fraiche, pickled onion and black bread. For his ricotta pancakes, even the ricotta is made in house and served with luscious thick lemon curd and blueberry syrup.
The beverage program represents the same philosophy as the food—high quality, but accessible and uncomplicated with a comprehensive list of American spirits, including 80 bourbons, including rare and highly desirable expressions of Pappy Van Winkle, and 53 ryes. Guests will be glad to learn of the introduction of three different levels of bourbon flights ranging in price from $15-$35—a great way to dip into the extensive offerings. The cocktails are classic and well built: The Old-Fashioned is prepared with 12-year-old bourbon, and the Sweet Manhattan is mixed with rye. The beers on draft include Old Speckled Hen, Sam Stout and selections from local brewery Captain Lawrence. Delaney, who completed a wine certification at the CIA at Greystone in Napa Valley, also oversees the wine list including wines by the glass sourced from City Winery, and a changing bottle selection. Ann Marie’s future plans include wine dinners featuring winemakers that she has met from around the world, who will come and pair their wines with Chef Baird’s creative cooking.
Celebrating the origins of authentic, regional American cooking is what Chapter One is all about. To highlight this mission, Chef Warren Baird has introduced The Heritage Dinner Series, the first Sunday of every month. The goal is for guests to enjoy the pleasures of American food and drink, presented in a straightforward, honest and authentic way. The first was a Southern Dinner based on Baird’s experience as a chef in the American south, featuring real southern sweet tea and bourbon punch, fried chicken and banana pudding. To prepare for the upcoming dinners, Baird has delved into American history, researching archival menus and paying homage to the time period and region featured at each dinner. A recent Colonial Harvest Dinner focused on the influence of Native Americans on our culture and cuisine, while a future dinner will highlight the NYC Prohibition era. For more information on the Heritage Dinner Series, visit www.chapterone.nyc.
Really nice people and a nice easy-to-take place.
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