It’s rare for a NYC restaurant to live up to its own hype. PJ does.
The crew behind PJ (and Charlie Bird) are hitting all the right notes. They’ve got the menu dialed in. Their spaces are quaint, but not crowded. Just the right size and perfectly designed. It’s on point without being trendy. And the staff is dutiful, while not being in your face (It’s also nice to see a front of house that is predominantly latino). I also like that gratuity is included in the price.
PY and I sat and the bar – always my fav way to dine –and got to speak with the chef throughout the meal. He walked us through the menu and we decided to go with a lot of smaller plates, and no mains. It was the right call. The wine was stellar, too.
Here’s a rundown of what we had:
Cuttlefish with chorizo and radish – top notch (9/10)
Burrata with anchovy – lovely (8/10)
Scallops with hazelnuts and tangerine – star of the night (10/10)
Brussel Sprouts with Proscuitto. Solid. Prosciutto could be a better grade (7/10)
Clam Pizza – Phenomenal crust. Perfect char. Their most popular dish (8/10)
It’s really interesting to see the ebb and flow of the NYC restaurant scene. A few years back it was definitely the Gabe Stulman posse that was king of the hill. Then Major Foods took the crown, but they’ve slipped of late. And now the Charlie Bird/PJ crew is on top (in my book at least)*. Will be interesting to see if they can keep it up.
I’ll definitely be back to try some mains. There’s a wood-fired bone-in ribeye waiting for me with my name on it.
* Lilia is still my number one restaurant out there right now.