Give me a reason to visit my old 'hood, and I'm happy as a clam. The Upper East Side is an impeccably clean, quiet, and pleasant New York City neighborhood. A more residential neighborhood than that of some of it's counterparts, the UES is void of Wall Street Bros and clueless tourists. I was ecstatic to receive an invitation to dine at BKB (c/o,) which boasts a new location for seasoned father-and-son duo, Eric and Adam Miller's East Hampton oasis: Bay Kitchen Bar.
As summer's end approaches, Manhattanites are packing up their summer digs in the Hamptons and heading back to the city. Lucky for them, BKB is now open year-round on the Upper East Side. It features a "sea-to-table" concept consisting of fresh, local ingredients, clean Mediterranean preparations, and inspired cocktails. For a Long Island native like Eric Miller, sea and farm-to-table is not a new trend, but a way of life, having built relationships with local sources over the past 30 years.
Classic concoctions and unique mixology fill the cocktail menu at BKB. A creature of habit, I couldn't resist starting with a gin cocktail from BKB's unique beverage list. The Giddy Up features Tanqueray Gin, Verjus Blanc, ginger, honey, and seltzer. My counterpart indulged in Paper Ships: chamomile-infused Pierre Ferrand 184 Cognac, Nonino Amaro, and Cointreau.
BKB is lucky to have Eric Heine on board- a wine expert and Sommelier, who previously worked at Craft with Bravo's Top Chef culinary superstar, Tom Colicchio. Equipped with incredible knowledge and an unparalleled sense of hospitality, Heine provided A+ service throughout the evening.
The kitchen at BKB is run by Executive Chef Eric Miller: a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a recipient of the 1985 "Chef Of The Year" award by the Aspen Times. The menu is a mix of classic sophistication and modern playfulness, offering "normal" size portions and focusing on quality over quantity. This allows diners to taste several dishes without overeating and truly take time to enjoy a night of dining out.
We started with warm bread and a homemade chickpea spread, followed by oysters with mango ($6) to refresh our palettes. Then we moved on to our appetizers: delicate, crispy crab cakes with a citrusy corn salsa ($9), a beautifully charred Moroccan-spiced grilled octopus ($21), and a decadent short rib dumpling with thick, truffle-perfumed sauce ($18).
For our entrees, we stuck with fish. This is, after-all, a sea-to-table concept. The salmon special highlighted a perfectly cooked filet of fish on top of creamy, veggie risotto ($32). It wasn't too heavy or rich, which nicely balanced out the fish. Additionally, we couldn't resist ordering the lobster roll ($29). It's the perfect summer meal, and is accompanied by crispy, salty, waffle chips.
Dessert was executed by accomplished Pastry Chef, Lukas Pohl, who worked for a Michelin star restaurant in Prague, where he would forage local ingredients before joining the BKB team. We devoured a trio of uniquely flavored crèmes brûlées and the dark chocolate forest bombe with warm salted caramel drizzled.
BKB is located at 321 E 73rd St, New York, NY 10021. For more information, please visit their website: www.bkbrestaurant.com.
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