Red Hook Tavern is finally here. After years of delay and a menu switch-up, barbecue master Billy Durney’s ode to New York classics opens tonight in the neighborhood.
The restaurant and bar at 329 Van Brunt St., at Sullivan Street, takes cues from some of Durney’s favorite restaurants — including iconic NYC spaces like Corner Bistro and McSorley’s Old Ale House, throwback venues that don’t stand on pretense.
As such, food is tavern-esque and focuses on greatest hits like a Peter Luger-inspired, 45-day dry-aged burger, brick chicken, and 45-day dry-aged strip steak. Also expect chicken liver pate with pickled sour cherries and rye toast, cheese and charcuterie, country ham croquettes, and a romaine wedge salad with bacon.
The restaurant has evolved some since its inception in 2016 as a fried chicken and biscuit joint. After years of delays at the city’s hands, Durney refined the concept into what it is today: an amalgamation of Durney’s favorite dishes and old-school spots. He put his personal touch on food like ham croquettes by smoking his own country ham and using one-year aged white cheddar for the béchamel. He then fries them in breadcrumbs and sauces with a dijonnaise. The result is both an ode to croquetas, but also a ham and cheese on rye with mustard.
Chef Allison Plumer is executing it all, joining from Lot 2 in South Slope. And Durney’s growing obsession with natural wine means 160 bottles, plus classic cocktails, and a light and dark ale, McSorley’s style. The full menus are below.
The restored, 40-seat space holds lots of history. Before he took it over, it was a neighborhood liquor store for 85 years, according to Durney. He’s keeping the original sign and has restored the inside to include exposed brick walls and lots of reclaimed dark wood for that rustic tavern feel. There will be vinyl music playing in the background, with 18 seats at the bar that are held for walk-ins.
Durney’s partners in the restaurant include Lilia’s Missy Robbins and Sean Feeney. In just a few years, Durney has made Hometown Bar-B-Que an NYC essential — known as one of NYC’s best barbecue spots with unique meat dishes that span the globe like Korean sticky ribs, Vietnamese hot wings, and brisket tacos. He’s also a few weeks out from opening a location of Hometown Bar-B-Que in Industry City.
Red Hook Tavern is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight, and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Eventually it’ll be open daily. Stay tuned for more photos.