Chinatown: Build Your Own Manhattan or Martini at 643 North
The new gastropub 643 North has opened in Chinatown. Located across the street from Spring Street BBQ, 643 North has locked in the corner with craft beer, cocktails and a full menu of pizza, burgers, small bites and rich desserts.
What’s interesting about the cocktail menu is the build-your-own Manhattan or Martini section. Play amateur mixlogist to come up with the perfect Manhattan or Martini.
For the Manhattan, we chose: Whistle Pig rye, Punt e Mes, chocolate mole bitters, brandied cherry
Figuring the aromatic Punt e Mes and chocolate mole bitters would round out the spicier rye whiskey, the Manhattan was excellent.
My favorite citrus is grapefruit so I may have gone a bit overboard with using both hopped grapefruit bitters and 643 North used an incredibly aromatic grapefruit twist. I am reminded of the school of thought who like to spritz the citrus oil around the cocktail glass stem or at least slightly further away from the glass so the bitter oils don’t ruin the martini. For grapefruit, I might have to go with that theory. Still, I loved the flavors.
Build-your-own Martini- Tanqueray 10, Dolin dry, hopped grapefruit bitters, grapefruit twist
There’s a handsome selection of gins and whiskies so the possibilities are seemingly endless.
We started with a Margherita pizza to start. I had read reports initially 643 North was an Italian joint. It’s not. It may have pizza but I would describe this as a gastropub.
We also nibbled on asparagus wrapped in proscuitto. I began to sense a theme to what we ordered.
Meat! I’m not sure what I expected when we ordered the braised suckling pig. I certainly didn’t think it’d come out like a topping for the provided bread. I liked the tart pickled onions that went with the pork which was quite a lot in the crock. More bread, please.
643 North also has a specialty cocktail list. I ordered the Green Meanie since I love whiskey and Green Chartreuse together. Unfortunately this was really citrus-y. The acid overwhelmed the more boozy Chartreuse. I only got Chartreuse faintly at the end. I would have liked less lemon juice in this.
Green Meanie– Fighting Cock bourbon, Green Chartreuse, rosemary maple syrup, lemon, Meyer lemon bitters
My friend who came with me is a burger fiend and of course we ordered the burger. It was pretty awesome with thick slabs of bacon that resembled more like cuts of pork belly from Korean BBQ than wimpy cured bacon.
I got the Sriracha chicken sandwich and while I really liked the chicken, I didn’t get much heat from it. People who are afraid of spicy food can handle this. The chicken is very juicy.
Our server told us the charred broccolini was very popular. I was fascinated how perfect the egg was. Make sure you break that yolk and dip your broccolini in it for the best tasting results.
The Fall Down is a great winter cocktail. Although slightly on the sweeter side, it’d work as an aperitif or a drink to go with your dessert.
Fall Down – Lairds apple brandy, Rittenhouse rye, lemon, Angostura bitters, absinthe rinse
Who can resist a dessert called butter cake? Not us! It was served very hot and seemed to just melt away in seconds as we started to eat it. Really, we just couldn’t stop eating it and that’s why it disappeared within minutes.
The lemon tart was very nice and seemed more sensible to those who think fruit isn’t such a rich dessert. Well, let’s keep believing that so we can order it again.
Considering this is the first craft cocktails bar in Chinatown, 643 North should do very well. I’m coming back for that chicken sandwich with extra sriracha and building another Manhattan or two.(213) 687-8888
© The Minty 2013