Last night I met a friend at Schiller's Liquor Bar, the new place on Norfolk and Rivington. I was apprehensive, since it was a trendy place that had just opened up (Wednesday, I think, officially) and I didn't want to wait on line. I finally agreed with my friend that if it was too crowded we would just mosey on over to another restaurant in the area.
We arrived at 7:15 and noticed a big crowd at the bar, as well as a bunch of people milling about and greeting Keith McNally, who was floating around at the entrance. However, there were a few (itsy) tables for two available and we were seated promptly. The table was miniscule and right near the bar, so we frequently had drinkers about six inches from our table, but I didn't quibble since I was happy to have gotten a table.
The decor is very Pastis-y, down to the shared sink/trough in the bathroom and the aged-looking mirrors. The floor is checked black and white. There are booths in the back, for booth-lovers.
Our server was a delight. We promptly received our menus and I opted for a glass of the "decent" rose. For those of you unfamiliar with the gimmick, Schiller's serves three classifications of wine, cheap, decent and good, in three serving amounts, glass, half carafe, carafe. The only rose option was decent. For those of you wondering, yes, the type of wine is available on the menu. In any case, my rose was cold and more delicious than "decent" would denote.
We both started with Bibb salads in a light vinagrette. Nice. Tap water was provided in a bottle that was left on the table. Thoughtfully, the bottle had a very slim profile, so it actually fit. We noticed the chicken paillard on another table, which looked like grilled chicken with a huge and delicious salad. Next time.
My friend ordered the bar steak (15 dollars) which arrived buried in french fries. She said it was superb, especially for the price. (Cut was flank steak, marinated.) I had the oyster po boy and requested slices of lemon on the side. It also came wtih fries. It was very yummy; I think I counted six big fried oysters.
Dessert was a chocolate layer cake and an apple crumble. Both were OK but I found them meh compared to the rest of the food. Dessert wines were 6 dollars and looked tempting, but since I had already enjoyed two classes of the decent rose I passed on them.
Even though the place was clearly slammed starting around 8, service continued to be friendly and fast.
Our total bill? 70 bucks. (Note that my friend was driving and did not drink.) Schiller's starts serving at 8 a.m., and I would definitely return here for dinner or for a bite to eat, though probably not at peak hours.