Few places in New York have had so many versions as the Beatrice Inn.
The West Village basement space opened as a speakeasy where the likes of Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway gathered in the ‘20s. It had a long stint as a classic Italian restaurant in the ‘50s, when iconic tapper Paul Draper would put on a show on the tables. Ten years ago, it transformed into the city’s essential see-and-be-seen nightclub, then in 2012 became an upscale meat-focused restaurant.
Chef Angie Mar arrived in 2013, a bit starstruck by the “storied history” of 285 W. 12th St. Now, beginning Sept. 8, she gets to write her own chapter after buying the space and completing a monthlong revamp.
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“One of the things we definitely plan on doing is making this place very much all about New York,” says Mar, whose kitchen turns out high-end steaks for men in suits as well as burgers for regulars in baseball caps. “I love this city's vibe of come as you are; we’re accepted no matter what our idiosyncrases are, and this restaurant should be that way as well.”
Closing the restaurant for a month gave her time to tweak her recipes. The focus will still very much be on meat — Mar is known for her meat pies and ran a burger-focused booth at Mad. Sq. Eats in the spring. “There’s a lot of chefs that say they like to curate their menu and have something for everybody, and I’ve kind of been the opposite: I cook for me, I cook what I’m passionate about, and that’s meat,” she says.
Her dishes favor dry-aging, game and a British influence that began with her mother’s shepherd’s pie and was stoked during her stint at The Spotted Pig. “My flavor profile has always revolved around meat, fruit and herbs,” she says. “Food should be incredibly sexy, it should be a mix of different temperatures and textures and flavor profiles, all kinds of different things that really mess with your mind.”
The big change, however, will be how it’s served. Mar says she’s “very emotionally attached” to many of the dishes on the new menu from growing up, when “come hell or high water” her big, busy family always sat down for Sunday night supper.
“What we’re doing is going to be a little bit larger format dining,” she says. “Really big experiences start around a dinner table, all of my greatest friendships, relationships, memories started around a dinner table. That emotional connection is what puts the soul behind the dishes that we cook, and I hope people feel it when they come in.”