Pete Wells files on six-month-old Beatrice Inn this week. Graydon Carter, the long-standing editor of Vanity Fair, opened the restaurant on West 12th Street in November. Carter's is also one of the minds behind Waverly Inn and Monkey Bar, restaurants Beatrice Inn borrows from in it's "stagy, raffishly exclusive neo-speakeasy" vibe (as Adam Platt refered to it in his review of Beatrice last month) and star-studded clientele (Charlie Rose and Candice Bergen were present during one of Wells' visits).
Despite its youth, the West Village eatery is on its third chef. Brian Nasworthy was there first, but he left at the end of January to work at Picholine. Calliope's Eric Korsch filled in for a few weeks, then Hillary Sterling signed on as executive chef. Sterling has Mesa Grill, Lupa, and A Voce on her resume, so the number of missteps Wells encounters are surprising.
On Sterling's menu, Wells finds goat cheese gnudi "that were bursting with the flavor of warm New York City tap water." And a strip steak that "had a chewy band of fat at its edge." There were "desperately undercooked sunchokes" and a "grainy, salty sauce of dried black olives." The critic much prefers Nasworthy's early efforts, which yielded "a horseradish-chile gastrique that had the lively hot-sweet-sour-salty tension of a Southeast Asian sauce," and mushrooms, salsify, and spinach "under a textbook hollandaise for a clever take on oysters Rockefeller." Wells awards no stars and gives Beatrice Inn the "satisfactory" stamp. [NYTimes]