MAYSVILLE – NYC
17 West 26th Street (Broadway), New York, NY 10010
Maysville is an American tavern named after a Kentucky port town which is said to be the birthplace of bourbon. The entire restaurant is an ode to the spirit. The gleaming golden wall of bourbons and whiskeys above the bar boasts over 150 American varieties with dozens more from all over the world in addition to casting a warm glow over the main dining room.
Kyle Knall and Sean Josephs have done a great job in putting together a themed restaurant that does not feel at all cheesy. The space feels very clean with natural colored walls and a very neutral palate. The delicate pencil sketches of horses that cover the rest of the walls are very chic and understated. The menu is a much more refined version of traditional southern cooking. Having recently been a chef at Gramercy Taven Knall has infused the menu with sophisticated accents.
On a Wednesday night the place was packed and the clientele was mostly businessmen and couples. Our server was very friendly and helpful in selecting the very best of the dishes on the menu. She made no attempt to say that “everything is amazing” (one of my pet peeves) which was greatly appreciated.
Upon being sserved our expertly crafted Old Fashioneds, the waitress immediately told us that we had no choice in the matter and we were going to be served the crispy grits. I had no objection. She was right – these were sort of a southern version of Japanese crispy rice. Little dice-like cubes of fried grits were piping hot steamy and creamy on the inside. They were seasoned with a bourbon aioli and garnished with salty thick cut ham. Delicious.
We also had the hay roasted oysters which arrived at the table enveloped in a cloud of smoke produced by a neatly arranged pile of still-smoldering hay. This beautiful presentation was not all just show but the oysters were briney and fresh from the salsify and pickled shallots with a hint of smokey countryside.
The spring salad was a neat little mound of bright green vegetables, many of which were very unusual. Some of the lettuces looked like little lily pads and underneath hid crisp chopped peas and beans atop a generous dallop of house made ricotta.
The crab toast was also light and fresh and full of flavor. The radishes gave it a nice crunch without overpowering the delicate flavor of the crab.
For our entrée course we split two dishes which was more than enough after all those apps. We shared the chicken which was pressed to seal in all the juices and ensure the skin was extra crispy. It was artfully arranged on the plate with a medley of grilled ramps, grains and few other greens.
Our second dish was the braised rabbit dish served over grits with spring vegetables. The rabbit was braised to fork tenderness and the pulled apart pieces were delicately arranged over the grits between veggies and herbs. The broth that was poured on top was rich despite being clear but the grits were so creamy that they remained intact and did not become soupy.
Maysville is a great place for a truly American meal or just a damn good cocktail.