Open Door Gastropub at 110 John Street (between Pearl & Cliff Streets) is a different take on the traditional Irish pub and represents, in many ways, the changing nature of Manhattan’s financial district. It takes bar food to the next level in an upscale setting that’s still easy on the wallet.
One of the oldest parts of the city with its narrow colonial-era streets, the district has become more than the sum of its office buildings. Today, more than 50,000 people call the area home, and it’s finally beginning to support restaurants that cater to more than a harried lunchtime crowd.
That’s what makes Open Door so interesting. With its long sweeping bar, mini-chandeliers, genuine Georgian doors direct from Ireland and a wide selection of table options–from cozy booths to tables of 6 or more — it looks more like a fancy restaurant than a pub.
The menu offers all the familiar comfort food you’d expect — sandwiches, wraps, burgers, sliders and pub fare that includes nachos, fries, wings and ribs. But executive chef Davitt Conroy turns each offering into a gourmet experience.
Even humble French fries get a makeover. Conroy’s Truffled Bleu Cheese Fries, include melted gorgonzola cheese, tomato and green onion, with a white truffle oil drizzle. The nachos are actually Wonton chips, with melted cheeses, fresh tuna, tomato, green onion, cilantro and wasabi-ginger aioli.
Davitt, 30, was born in Cork, Ireland and trained at the Cork Institute of Technology from 1999 to 2002. He served an apprenticeship at Jacobs On The Mall, a world-renowned, Michelin rated restaurant in Ireland.
From there, He worked as sous chef at Royal Cork Yacht Club, which is the oldest Yacht Club in the world. He also worked at various notable restaurants in Ireland, including Elm Tree Bar & Restaurant, Star Anise and Nutmeg Restaurant.
Peter O’Connell ,who owns Open Door with partner John Ronaghan recruited Davitt from Ireland in April 2010, and opened the restaurant last September.
O’Connell and Ronaghan are well known on the New York restaurant scene. They also own Molly’s Pub and Restaurant and The Bluebell Café in Gramercy Park, The Paris Bar and Grill on South Street.
Aside from traditional bar food, Open Door’s appetizers, salads and entrées set it apart from other New York pubs.
The daily menu includes oven baked salmon ($19) with pistachio crusted, greens beans, chive champ, minted pistachio pesto; the Mussel Frites ($17) come in three styles Red, White or Bangkok with house-made fries, garlic aioli, and the restaurant serves a killer mac and cheese with Gruyere cheese, shaved black truffles and truffle gratin.
The menu also offers a Cider-Braised Pork Belly ($17) that’s twice-roasted, with bacon & potato cake, caramelized apple, grilled asparagus and spiced apple jus.
The most expensive item on the daily menu is a 12-ounce New York Strip Steak with Gratin potato, truffled garlic mushrooms, curly kale and red wine jus for $22. All other entrées are under $20.
Needless to say, the restaurant has a bustling dinner crowd. On a Tuesday night when we visited for dinner, the restaurant was busy, not only at the bar, but also in the dining room. That’s a testament to the district’s growing number of residents as well as Open Door’s inviting atmosphere and well-priced food.
Open Door offers happy hour specials between 5-10 pm, which includes 2-for-1 wines by the glass and your choice of Absolut martinis, as well as a new tapas menu.
On Saturday and Sunday evening Prix Fixe options offer three courses of seasonal dishes for $29 per person. And, unlike other bars in the Financial District, Open Door stays open until 4 a.m. The large back room with a private entrance is available for parties with either buffet or prix fixe menu options.
Open Door Gastropub
110 John Street
New York, NY 10038
Web site: OpenDoorGastropub