NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - The Beatrice Inn has been a West Village institution since the 1920s. First a speakeasy, then an Italian restaurant, it was even a nightclub. For the last five years, the restaurant has operated under Executive Chef Angie Mar, and now owner, who is redefining the traditional New York City chophouse.
When we visited Chef Mar, she was introducing new spring menu items to her staff: a Barnsley chop with rhubarb, poached in Sauternes with pink peppercorn au poivre, lavender, and snail butter; duck and foie gras pie with tarragon gravy served tableside.
Angie says The Beatrice Inn menu is so different from traditional chophouses. The restaurant does whole animals. Everything is done nose to tail, she says, using off-the-beaten-path cuts that need a lot of time, love, and care.
To say The Beatrice Inn is meat-forward is an understatement. The meat is the star of the show in Mar's kitchen. Her meats come from Pat LaFrieda, who pulls his best cuts for The Bea. She takes the top 1 percent of those. These are cuts you won't find anywhere else in the world.
Chef Mar's porterhouse is dry-aged for 90 days. Her beef rib is smoked in French oak, then buried in lavender where it ages for 90 days. The tomahawk ribeye is whiskey-aged for 160 days.
For a very long time, people would come into The Beatrice Inn and say "Who is the chef? I'd love to meet him," because it's such a meat-centric restaurant, Chef Mar says. But she is just cooking what she knows best. Angie grew up on T-bone steaks. Her dad made them with white rice every night.
Her lifelong passion for cooking became her profession about a decade ago when Angie quit her job in the corporate world to go to culinary school.
She started out at Diner, Marlow & Sons, and Reynard. Then she worked for April Bloomfield in The Spotted Pig's Michelin-star kitchen. Angie says April showed her a dedication to perfection that she didn't know existed.
Five years ago, Angie reluctantly took over at The Bea. She says she didn't want it at first. She was happy at The Spotted Pig, happy working for April, and didn't really want it. But it was the opportunity to run her own kitchen and cook her own food, and there was something to be said for that.
And there's something to be said for the opportunity she has taken and run with, building a Michelin-worthy staff.
Chef Mar says that having such talented people who are so committed to learning and growing the business is such an honor.
She has also created one of the coolest bar scenes downtown. And the goal here is clear. Angie says she wants to take people out at their knees. She wants them to come in, eat the food as it's meant to be eaten, experience the restaurant as it's meant to be experienced, and leave irrevocably changed.
The Beatrice Inn is open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner and Sundays for brunch and dinner. Right now, you can taste Chef Mar's Spring Menu.