Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
"All of our food items are intended to be paired directly with our cocktails, wine, and beer," explains Sother Teague, the creative force behind the cocktails at the new Cobble Hill spot Bergen Hill. "The food came first—Chef [Andrew D'Ambrosi] brought me every dish to try and I put my brain to work making drinks designed around them. The intention is to eventually link every dish to its appropriate cocktail on the menu."
In many cases, the cocktails don't just draw inspiration from their counterparts on the raw fish-centric menu, they actually share ingredients with them. The ponzu and togarashi featured in the hamachi crudo, for example, reappear as a ponzu syrup and togarashi sugar rim in the Meiji Collins. Shrimp stock used in the shrimp ceviche finds a home in the savory, Michelada-inspired Ecuadorian Beer. There are less literal interpretations as well: A trio of smoky spirits in the Char No. 8 are meant to mimic the cooking preparation of its food pair, charred octopus.
Teague is a former chef who will continue his role as head bartender at Amor y Amargo in the East Village (also owned by Ravi DeRossi, along with Death & Co., Mayahuel, Gin Palace, and others). He's quick to note that this new venture is intended to be both a restaurant and a bar. "We're tiny, we have 16 seats at the bar, some seating in the banquettes, and a little standing room. Everything is done in front of you. We want the experience between the food and the drinks to make sense together."
About the author: Maryse Chevriere is a card-carrying beverage geek on a mission to keep her glass (at least) half full. You can find her behind the bar preaching about peculiar wine at Terroir Park Slope and follow her spirited musings on Twitter @Maryse_Chev1224 and Instagram @marysechev.