Randolph Beer – Little Italy, NYC

Loved the atmosphere at Randolph Beer (and the food, of course)!

Review By: Ricki Kahn –

I went to an event at Randolph Beer to acknowledge Camp Sunrise, a camp for children with cancer and their families. It was a lovely gathering where people could choose from a unique list of beers and select wines while learning what Camp Sunrise is and how we could make a difference. It was also a great way for me to catch up with some of my friends.

The night was filled with great conversations, a good cause, and an array of dark and light lagers, but I know you’re really just interested in the food…

I guess I should rewind back a little first though. The event was called for 7:30pm – a time that is both too late to call happy hour, but also still too early to call a night out. So straight from work I took the subway downtown and walked the few blocks to the bar.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself, I thought I would be late and yet I made it at exactly 7:30. I walked into a small hipster-esque dive bar only to find a complete lack of decorations or faces that looked familiar. Deciding maybe I was earlier than I thought, I took a lap of the establishment, freshened up in the ladies room and then preceded back to the entrance. Still nobody I knew. Awkward. I decided that instead of weirdly staring at every one in the bar I would sit outside on smokers’ patio and wait. And wait. And wait.

After fifteen minutes of loneliness, I finally was able to get in touch with my friends only to learn I was at the wrong bar. Why someone would have two completely different bars with the same name on the same block, I don’t know… but of course, I was the only one to go to the wrong one.

I finally got to the correct bar and immediately ordered a drink. Glass of Malbec. Mmm. Nothing like a smooth glass of red after a long day of work. As I sipped on my wine i was enamored by the cool atmosphere: small tables and booths lit by dimmed lights and candles and earthy browns and olives throughout. While I studied my surroundings, it dawned on me that I had yet to eat dinner. And while I’m all for a good buzz, I was not about to black-out on a Tuesday (not that it would be a first though:).

Being that all of my friends were a little more prepared than me on the dinner front, they fetched a table while I somewhat sulkily got a menu, anticipating the long list of unwanted greasy bar foods that would soon be in my stomach. Well, hooray for me! While there was an extensive list burgers and French fry options (which I’ll probably need to go back and try), there was also a huge amount of healthy choices as well!

Once I scanned the menu, I took the recommendation of my friend Jamie (the only one who’d eaten at Randolph Beer before). I ordered the Grain & Kale salad and Evil Sprouts. Although that probably sounds like the last thing anyone would want to order at a bar, it was such a tasty treat. The salad combined the perfect blend of bulgur wheat, red quinoa, wild mushrooms, asparagus, and charred tomatoes with a light asian inspired sauce. The best part was that I didn’t even feel like I was eating healthy because it was so deliciously crunchy. And while I cannot identify the herbs, the salad was a genius blend of textures and spices.

The spiciness of the salad paired perfectly with the sprouts that were far from evil. The brussels sprouts were glazed and baked with mapley-bacon goodness. Oh my god! The sweet and salty and crispy flavors that entered my mouth was an amazing way to finish off such a long day. It was as if this meal was meant to be paired together! As I alternated sweet and salty for spicy and tangy, each bite managed to taste better than the last.

So in the end, aside from my minor mishap at the other Randolph Beer, this night was very successful. I was able to enjoy the company of good friends and a great organization with the surprising delight a great meal on the side.