Beet, which recently opened very quietly amid Second Ave. subway construction in the East 80s.Once somewhat of a barren wasteland when it came to restaurants, the Upper East Side has seen a culinary revolution over the past few years. These days, you can hardly turn a corner without stumbling upon some chic new spot. Case in point:
Here, chef Hassan Belamine (ex-La Grenouille) has created a moderately-priced menu of Med-influenced American bistro fare, including free-range roasted chicken in a ginger-vanilla-lemon broth, lamb couscous, pancetta-wrapped veal loin and potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms. As you'd imagine, there are also plenty of beets on the menu, whether it's the focus of the dish (as in a beet carpaccio salad with pistachio vinaigrette) or a side to an entree (like the Sicilian risotto with beets that accompanies the Long Island roasted duck breast).
The space has a sexy vibe, with lots of candles, rich mahogany surfaces and cozy leather booths (plus a sleek, blue-lit bar). It's the kind of place you'd want to take a date, especially since it feels like a little breath of Downtown in a very Uptown neighborhood. However, at 9 PM on a Thursday night, the scene was pretty much dead. Seems this is one UES spot that hasn't quite caught on yet, perhaps because of its unfortunate location in the middle of lots of construction (and occasional, unnerving underground bombings). Get there before it gets packed - it's only a matter of time in this 'hood.
The Deets: 1619 Second Ave., 212-517-3600