Steve Laycock of New York’s Seamstress recently sat down with The Daily Meal to discuss his new venture, how he plans to bring the bustling downtown cocktail scene uptown, and why live music night is not to be missed.
This isn’t Steve Laycock and Josh Mazza’s first rodeo. The duo behind the newly unveiled and well-received Upper East Side haunt has a seasoned history in New York City’s ever-changing restaurant scene. Laycock, a New Mexico native, got his start in the industry at the underground and eclectic 169 Bar on East Broadway. He later moved to the East Village’s Ducks Eatery where he wound up working closely with chef Will Horowitz (the former head chef at Spin), and eventually opened The Gilroy, his first foray into the Upper East Side’s cocktail scene.
“We tried to create a restaurant for the neighborhood, a place that fit in but at the same time brought something different to the Upper East Side,” said Laycock. “And honestly, I wanted a place that I would frequent.”
In conjunction with Laycock and Australian-born Mazza, a seasoned staff is at the helm of Seamstress— former Dead Rabbit bartender Pam Wiznitzer and Francis Verrall. The game-forward menu was crafted with the help of Horowitz. It is very reminiscent of Ducks’ cuisine, but still something all to its own with items like an indulgent seafood tower. The mutton burger is artfully crafted with triple crème, buttermilk fermented carrots, fennel frons, and fried rosemary, and not to be missed is the smoked and fried yardbird with preserved citrus thyme oil and chili garlic honey.
The restaurant crafted its food menu with only the finest products from purveyors across the country. Artisanal ingredients are tops at Seamstress with a menu featuring products from West Loop Salumi for its charcuterie, Violet Hill Farm for chicken and lamb, and Anson Mills for all of their grains. When not punching the clock, patrons can find Laycock chowing down on one of his personal favorites like the steak for two or the pork shank.
As for the cocktail program, Laycock believes it’s the restaurant’s large format cocktail menu that keeps people coming back for more. Perfect for groups, the cocktails are a flawless pairing to wash down a deliciously gamey meal. For those who find themselves thirsty at Seamstress, here are the options: pick between a bottle of cachaça, tequila, champagne, or vodka to be the base of their soon-to-be-made cocktail and then leave the rest up to the professionals. They’ve been known to create lively libations that incorporate ingredients such as hibiscus, lemon, Nardini Acqua Di Cedro, and grapefruit.
To foster the sense of community that Laycock and Mazza set out to accomplish, it’s not all about the food. It’s also about the ambience. They have launched a handful of themed nights to encourage locals to call Seamstress home. Every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m. they offer $1 oysters and Thursdays feature live shows by some of the city’s most talented underground acts and musicians. The duo promises the musical addition coupled with industry nights will ensure a new thriving crowd of patrons frequenting the Upper East Side.