The Bridge is a New York restaurant. We know that because it says so in large letters, right beneath the name, on a big sign that, um, spans the backbar.
You’re probably wondering what makes it a New York restaurant, aren’t you, but you’re too embarrassed to ask. That’s OK; that’s what I’m here for. It’s my job to observe and scrutinize, to look for the subtle clues.
Perhaps the answer is in the menu where we find such things as hummus, guacamole and quesadillas. There is also menemen, a Turkish egg dish, as well as a few pastas, which for some reason are called macarna (probably after makarna, a Turkish word for pasta).
Burgers and steaks get us a little closer to New York, but also to just about any other city. Oh, hey – the Bridge has branzino on its menu, and for the last several years you couldn’t go into a restaurant in one of the five boroughs and not find branzino listed. It’s like the official fish of New York.
But branzino does not a New York restaurant make. So I did the only thing left to do: I asked my server.
“The owner is from New York,” I was told. Ah, of course. And it says right there on the About page on the restaurant’s website: “The Bridge Restaurant is the creation of two visionary food lovers, friends, and entrepreneurs who have shared years of high-end food experience together in the heart of Manhattan.” It apparently is not necessary for us to know who these visionaries are or where those high-end food experiences were experienced – no names or places are listed. But as long as we know they’re from New York I guess it shouldn’t matter.
OK, I’ll remove my tongue from my cheek long enough to try a couple of dishes from the lunch menu. My companion chose a black bean burger, perhaps a paean to Proper & Wild, which previously occupied this space. It was a vegetarian restaurant, which I assume means the owners were from Vegetalandia.
The bean-based patty was loose but well seasoned, and it was served in a big doughy bun with lettuce on the bottom and topped with sauteed mushrooms, avocado and Bridge sauce (I don’t know; a remoulade perhaps?). A stack of perfectly acceptable fries accompanied. (They’re missing a great opportunity by not serving them with tunnel sauce.)
I chose the avocado Benedict, which in most other places would be billed as avocado toast, for that’s essentially what it was. It featured toasted sourdough slices with fanned avocado and poached eggs topped with hollandaise. The egg yolks were a little too set but I enjoyed all of the components. And I appreciated the well-dressed salad that was served on the plate, though the potato wedges served on the side seemed a little out of place.
It’s a pleasant space, bright and open, and offers a few outdoor tables in front of the building.
I’ll consider this a “first look” visit and will return again to try some of the other New York delicacies. Maybe some Brooklyn Shepherd Salad. Love those Brooklyn shepherds.