As I approach The Eddy, a restaurant off the corner of 6th Street and 1st Avenue, two girls in yoga pants are jumping up and down in an attempt to see over the top part of the window left uncovered by grey shades. I enter feeling like I have access to some sort of underground club behind an unmarked door and take a seat at a table in the corner.
Chef Brendan McHale has definitely brought a touch of class to the dining landscape he inhabits, the culinary highlight of which has always been that Indian restaurant where the waiters stand outside and try to pull you into their section. There was definitely nothing like this: no artful cocktails topped with cylindrical foam and tiny berries, and certainly no beef tendon puffs made with dill crème and smoked trout roe.
Now, for $65, a six-course tasting menu is on the table: apple, landaff cheese, almond butter salad; Jonah crab with whipped ricotta and crispy sunchoke; seared octopus with romesco, pecans, dried olive, and cured lemon; and ricotta gnocchi with tomato, eggplant chips, and pecorino.
When given a choice of Goffle chicken with fregola, apple, chard, and pickled okra or sea scallops, I go with the Wagyu Chuck Steak and Crisp Potatoes off of the a la carté menu.
For dessert, I “choose” both the caramel apples with smoked milk foam and walnuts and the cardamom panna cotta with concord grape ice, basil, and sea salt.
“I feel confident we've found the logistic avenue where our food can be transformed and repeated consistently, while still trying to push the boundaries and get better every day,” said Chef McHale. “We're putting our heart into it, so hopefully you taste the freshly squeezed heart juice.”
Working from a tiny kitchen and basement prep area that McHale likens to Fraggle Rock, the team faces an extra challenge in executing these culinary creations 30 to 40 times a night.
But in the name of love of duroc trotter cannelloni, they pull it off.
“We're going to kill ourselves for 14 hours a day for a customer that can consume something over the course of a couple minutes,” he said. “Our goal is to make that experience memorable. Just the right amount of ta-da!”