*This post was written by Edgar Castillo and edited/formatted by The Lunch Belle.**
Restaurant: Haymaker Bar & Kitchen
Haymaker Bar & Kitchen - the newly-opened craft beer bar and American gastropub - provides a welcome oasis to the otherwise arid landscape of northwest Chelsea.
Owner David Smith, partner Jeff Anzulewicz, Chief Bartender, Tristan Colegrove, and Executive Chef, Jim Takacs, pour an extensive list of beer with more than 18 selections on-tap, a small, but smart selection of wines by the glass, and a refined list of classic cocktails accompanied by a menu of modern American favorites.
Urban-cool, yet warm and inviting, Haymaker's interior atmosphere (designed in the spirit of a haymaker’s farmhouse with early 20th century charm and old-world personality) makes for the perfect setting in which to enjoy post-work beverages - pre/post Madison Square Garden eats and libations - craft beers with the boys - a hearty snack or meal - even date night!
The Baked Dry Rub Chicken Wings - a lovely departure from the traditional "Buffalo" variety - were liberally massaged with a house spice blend and enveloped in a sticky sauce that was fragrant with notes of citrus, sweet chili, and garlic.
While an order is definitely sharable, you're not going to want to split them with anyone. Trust me!
The next small plate to arrive was the highly anticipated Mac and Cheese (parmesan cream sauce, white wine, pancetta, cremini mushrooms, bread crumb crust). While it was beautifully constructed and very pleasing to the eye, the dish, itself, was too noodle-heavy and desperately lacking in cheese.
As tempting as the small plates menu reads, I’d recommend leaving room for the larger, more hearty entree plates: Slow Roasted Pork Ribs were prepared with a savory/sweet pecan-bacon barbecue sauce that harmonized perfectly with the tender, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs. A side of bourbon-kissed yams echoed the sweetness of the barbecue sauce and provided a warm, pillowy texture that literally hugged my taste buds.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the menu is the beverage - namely the beer - selection. Options come from near and far and are hand picked, sampled and, most importantly, judiciously coupled with the food offerings. Some stand-outs for me were:
Kent Falls Shower Beer (Kent, CT 6.0%): Had a hint of rind and a muted tone of herbs/mint. Overall saltiness, but doesn't overpower like a more potent sour.
Easily my favorite among the dozen-plus options that I sampled was the Hill Farmstead Citra (Greensboro, VT, 5.4%), an American pale ale dry-hopped with Citra (hops) from the American Pacific Northwest.
Prairie Bomb! (Tulsa, OK 13.1%): Imperial stout aged on espresso beans, chocolate, vanilla beans, and ancho chile peppers. The peppers add just the right amount of heat to complement the intense coffee and chocolate flavors. Adventurous types and Mexican food lovers, this is your new favorite brew!
Other notables were the Millstone Rhuberry (cider aged with fresh strawberries and rhubarb; extreme tartness that won’t overpower), Crooked Stave Progenitor (dry-hopped sour golden ale - tart, piney, and citrus-y finish), and the Mikkeller Hop On Drink'in (dry-hopped Berliner Weisse - tart with a rush of sour tropical fruit, low ABV of 2.8%).
For those of you who aren't particularly fond of beer (really?), trust me when I say that there are plenty of options in the form of wine and cocktails. One that particularly caught my eye was the "Siesta" - tequila, Campari, grapefruit, and lime - which proved perfectly-crafted and unmistakably delicious.
Until we eat again,
Edgar Castillo for The Lunch Belle