19 Greenwich Avenue, near 10th Avenue, West Village
Getting There: A,B,C,D,E,F,V to West 4th Street – Washington Square
Restaurant Review: Whitehall
When you think of ‘gin bars’ around New York City, so few come to mind that you might need to hit up your old buddy Google. And while the fun West Village haunt Whitehall has been dubbed as such, you would be doing an excellent restaurant a disservice by mis-categorizing it with as restrictive a label. Instead, Whitehall is an outstanding little hotspot for a delicious dinner and inventive cocktails, suitable for some old- fashioned neighborhood carousing. But with a nondescript green awning that states simply “No. 19,” you might have simply walked right by one of the area’s most energetic spots.
Outfitted like an opulent British pub, the brightly lit front area illuminated by floor to ceiling windows yielding natural light glares upon the L-shaped bar, surrounded by metal stools. Behind them is a relatively narrow aisleway, dividing the bar and the closely packed dining tables. Opposite the bar area, a long adjacent booth runs along the entire right wall of the space. The interior is backed by exposed brick walls and refurbished wood paneling overhead, lit up by the same shiny bulbs that you might find hanging in a London basement somewhere. The back bar is stocked with expert Mixologists which a penchant for serving up some of the area’s more imaginative and great looking drinks, numbered by severity from No. 1 to No. 11, ranging from $11 to $16 each. Plus the place stocks more than 30 gins in house from American to Scottish to Swedish varieties, so there’s really no going wrong by taking a recommendation from their friendly bar staff. With warmer months approaching, give Whitehall’s “East Side” ($12) a taste. Made with gin and fresh mint leaves and cucumber, it’s both boozy and refreshing at once.
Selecting what to drink was much easier than choosing what to eat and as such, we went for an array of different options. The “Oysters Kilpatrick” ($20) was served warm, topping fresh oysters with smoked bacon and a tangy Worcestershire sauce. The combination of typical barbeque fixins and seafood was a delicious mixture of flavors. The “Whitehall Salad” $13 was similarly delectable, equipped with even more crispy bacon, gem lettuce, and a poached egg, doused with a sprinkling of hazelnuts and a drizzle of pear vinaigrette. With many other off-menu items available, we also dabbled on an incredible foie grae plate with earl grey infused prunes and a pecan raisin bread for dipping, a savory pot of Brussels sprouts, and a dish called “Lobster Mornay” (MP). The delicate seafood treat was sliced in half and steamed, then stuffed with a mixture of butter cream, flour, and cheddar cheese, before the dish is then steamed to perfection. Served with a side of truffle polenta and ricotta, the insanely rich feast was outstanding. Luckily, we managed to leave some room for the famed “Whitehall Burger.” At just $16, served with a generous side of tasty their seasoned French fries, the burger was stacked with accoutrements. An over easy egg with a runny yolk bled down the sides of the impeccably prepared medium rare burger meat, joining cheddar cheese, sweet caramelized onions, and lettuce (we left the pickled beets off) for a burger that’s actually quite good.
With so much having been devoured already, we were forced to leave room for some of Whitehall’s creative desserts. With a menu that is overhauled every month and new additions like the “Butterscotch Pot De Crème” ($8) and the “Honey Crisp Apple Charlotte” for two ($14, pictured), Whitehall manages to deliver some exceptional tastes with each course, proving it’s more than just a gin bar. Despite the recent shuttering of sister restaurant Mary Queen of Scots, Whitehall seems to be doing just fine. Always packed with scenesters imbibing innovative drinks and being served some fantastic and always revolving eats, Whitehall brings a touch of British charm to the bustling West Village. Cheers to you if you can secure a table.