Is it a restaurant with great cocktails or a cocktail bar with great food? That’s what loratliff was wondering about The Beagle, which arrived last month on a wave of buzz about its seasonal food and cocktails, crafted by the team behind Portland, Oregon, hot spot Clyde Common. Her verdict? Both, it seems, but with the emphasis on the food.
Pork cheek confit rocked: fork-tender meat (“beyond juicy”) in a tangy reduction mellowed by the sweetness of applesauce. Other courses in this early June dinner ushered in the summer to come: meltingly tender squid, with chile and prosciutto, atop crisp frisée; baby corn slathered with mayonnaise, lime, and cilantro. As for the cocktails, loratliff enjoyed the tart, refreshing Daisy de Santiago (rum, lime, Yellow Chartreuse, seltzer), the Queimada Swizzle (rhum agricole, lime, orgeat, pineapple), and the Prince of Wales (rye, champagne, maraschino liqueur, pineapple, angostura bitters). “The Beagle impressed us [on] every level,” she writes. “Our server was attentive and friendly, the space feels excellent and the food matches up.”
Not everyone is convinced. Some (loratliff included) are skeptical of the so-called pairing boards, which match small plates with shots of liquor. “I had the pig head pairing,” says ExFlexitarian, “and while the pig head itself [braised, pressed, served with pickles] was lovely, if it was meant to be eaten with the shot of rum, it doesn’t work, as the rum just kills the palate.” leda concludes that the Beagle is ultimately neither fish nor fowl: “They can’t decide if they have a superb classic cocktail bar with fantastic food, or a superb restaurant with a fantastic cocktail program, and both ambitions suffer.”
The Beagle [East Village]
162 Avenue A (between E. 10th and 11th streets), Manhattan
Discuss: The Beagle – loved it!