Classy, sophisticated, and upscale, David Burke’s Tavern is located in a beautifully converted Upper East Side row house. The inside has such a unique look, featuring a dark blue, gentleman’s looking reading room complete with fireplaces upstairs, and a lavish British style bar with red, leather couches aligning the walls and dim lighting downstairs. There’s also a small private dining room table in a room where the walls are made of pink Himalayan sea salt. Tavern which was reopened from the original Tavern 62 by David Burke is just what you want from an Upper East Side celebrity chef’s establishment. After being closed for a short period of time this fall, the restaurant reopened with a small, well-orchestrated relaunch party in mid-November, and all the favorite, crowd-pleasing dishes were present. I had originally visited this restaurant of his back in July and was very impressed. The reopening only solidified my original opinions of DB’s Tavern and of David Burke as a fantastic chef and restaurateur.
For those of you who don’t know him, here’s a quick blurb on David Burke: David Burke is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a student at the coveted Ecole Lenotre Pastry School in France. Burke was then chosen by his peers to represent the USA at the International Culinary Competition and won France’s coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplôme d’Honneur; the only American to ever achieve this honor. Outside of his restaurants, he is well known for his appearance on two seasons of reality tv show, Iron Chef America. He is also actively involved in culinology, an approach to food blending culinary arts and food technology. David Burke’s profile: here. In short, he is a star and the man knows how to cook! Many of his restaurants focus around the same theme and share some of the same dishes.
Some ‘must have’ dishes from Tavern include:
Appetizers and entrees:
- Clothesline bacon: maple glazed, peppery, thick slices of juicy pork hanging from mini clothespins attached to a mini wood and wired ‘clothesline’, this appetizer is not to be missed. The presentation alone is worth the dish, the bacon is just a delightful afterthought.
- Crab cake pretzel: crab cakes with a twist…you can’t go wrong here. The pretzel crust gives the crab cakes a nice little crunch upfront and the chipotle tartare sauce gives it a nice kick at the tail end.
- Steamed angry lobster dumplings: another Tavern favorite, you must order these, they are such a fun and unique dish…Mr. lobster meet mouthwatering dumpling…how can you go wrong? The dumplings pack a bit of a kick as they come in a spicy tomato broth. Be forewarned, you may want all four to yourself.
- Roasted chicken: a fabulous dish consisting of a large piece of delightfully roasted chicken whose skin is so golden brown you don’t even want to cut into it and ruin the beauty. This scrumptious piece of meat is served with three raviolis (seasonal) and veggies. It’s excellent.
- Hipster fries (side): you can’t go wrong with a side of these fries, ever. They’re served with a ton of Parmesan cheese and pieces of bacon along with ketchup and mayo for dipping.
We ordered it all!
- David Burke’s cheesecake lollipop tree: this dessert is pretty much a DB staple. You’ll see many tables orders this lovely sugar tree and likely want one yourself, trust me. It’s the perfect sharing dessert.
- Fresh fruit and sorbet: the perfect summer treat, but a great staple year-round, this dessert comes with two scoops of sorbert atop seasonal berries and whipped cream on top. Yum!
- Pumpkin pie crème brulee: another menu item that changes with the season. Their crème brulee comes with a lightly browned ‘crust’ and amazing sugar filled custard inside.
Do yourself a favor and just order everything on the dessert menu like we did!
In addition to the creative and unique upscale bar menu, the restaurant also offers an exceptional wine menu, many craft beers and a specialty cocktail program.
Be sure to check out his other NYC restaurants too:
David Burke Kitchen at James hotel: amazing farm to table restaurant with a Wine Spectator approved wine menu. The food is fresh and local, and you can tell they only use the finest ingredients. The menu also offers a nice selection of vegetarian options, as well as fish and beef options. It has been open since 2011 and between the ambiance and the food, it’s sure to please.
Woodpecker at NoMaD: an American restaurant in Nomad with a wood fire oven, this restaurant focuses on pizza, veggies and meat (all cooked in their wood fire ovens). Some of his signature dishes include pizza with crickets and the same crowd pleasers offered at Tavern, including the clothesline bacon and hipster fries.
Outside of NYC Chef Burke also owns:
Drift House (Seabright, NJ)
BLT Prime at Trump International Hotel (Washington D.C.)
Red Salt Room at Garden City Hotel (Garden City, NY)
Grand Tavern at Angad Arts Hotel (St. Louis)
For more information, check out more here.
New Restaurant Openings:
According to a few sources, David Burke is planning to open his newest restaurant at the Modern in Fort Lee, NJ, right across from New York City. It has been speculated the restaurant will be named Ventanas Restaurant & Lounge and will serve Cuban/Asian/American inspired fusion food and will offer indoor-outdoor seating. He plans to open the restaurant with restauranteur Alex Duran who was the executive chef at Lua, Sofrito, and Hudson River Café. The restaurant was slated to open by the end of the year. No word yet whether that will happen or not!