New York City’s bathhouses are known for their humble, comforting food; think borscht or pelmeni at Spa 88 in FiDi or a tofu stew at a spa in Koreatown. But Williamsburg’s Bathhouse is trying to upend that with an upscale version of bathhouse dining — bringing on a chef with experience at Michelin-starred restaurants like Agern and Eleven Madison Park.
Bathhouse, set within an actual bathhouse by the same name at 103 North 10th Street, near Berry Street, features all the regular suspects of modern design — exposed brick walls, large glass windows, tall ceilings, big leafy plants, and a minimalist decor. Though the menu includes chia pudding and granola, most of the food leans into hearty, meat-focused dishes, albeit at prices that go up to $27 for an entree.
“I really didn’t want to do a health menu,” says Akiva Elstein, the man behind Bathhouse’s eponymous restaurant, and a restaurateur who’s opened sceney places likes Yves and Smith and Mills. “Once you’ve steamed and sweated everything out, you want something salty and replenishing.”
He points to the duck egg dish on the menu that’s slow cooked and served in duck broth with turnips, as well as a Hunter’s Stew, a recipe chef Nejc Šeruga got from his grandmother, growing up in Slovenia. It features a mix of venison, wild boar sausage, and chanterelle mushrooms. Other plated dishes include a crispy chicken skin served with salmon roe, confit duck leg, and bone marrow. There are raw oysters, too, and a borscht at $12.
The drinks menu is also appropriately swanky with a list of house-made vodka infusions like ones with peppercorn and horseradish and another one with chamomile and lavender. The cocktails takes on classics that could be found at a sleek cocktail bar, such as the French 75, Moscow Mule, and a Tom Collins.
Memberships at Bathhouse start at $250 per month and day passes start at $50, but neither is needed to get into the restaurant. “You’ll often see people in bathrobes just sitting along with everyone else,” says Elstein.
The restaurant currently seats between 38 to 40 people, and in warmer weather, there will be additional seating for 36 people outside.
As for the bathhouse, which is housed in a renovated 1930s soda factory that has apartments above, amenities include three different pools all with different temperatures, two saunas, two hammams, and a steam room, among other features. Like the restaurant, it’s highly designed and accordingly ranks as one of the fancier bathhouses in the city.
But Elstein says it’s intended to be more social than a typical high-end spa.
“You don’t have to spend $500 here, but it’s definitely a bit more upscale, and more social than most spas,” he says. “But it’s also not one of those fancy spas that are stoic and boring.”
The Bathhouse — both restaurant and spa — opened with more limited options back in November, and the space is now open for lunch, dinner, and brunch from Monday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and then again from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.