Ryan Bartlow of Quality Eats Prepares to Open Basque Restaurant at 259 East Broadway

Photo courtesy: Shadi.

Photo courtesy: Shadi.

A well known New York City chef is headed for uncharted territory on the Lower East Side.

Ryan Bartlow is leaving Quality Eats to open a place called Ernesto’s at 259 East Broadway (Montgomery Street). The restaurant, his first solo project, is scheduled to open in the spring. According to a press release, the menu will focus on the Basque region of Spain. The natural wine list will showcase Iberian wines.

Prior to his two year stint as executive chef at Quality Eats, Bartlow worked at Frankie’s Spuntino, Bar Carrera/Bar Veloce, and Tailor, as well as Grant Achatz’s Alinea.

During the summer, an application for a beer and wine permit at 259 East Broadway appeared on Community Board 3’s website. The space was previously occupied by Big Apple Deli, which eventually relocated a couple of blocks to the west. The storefront, which also housed a fast food Chinese restaurant, was given a high-end makeover.

It’s a daring concept this far east, where there are few restaurants of any kind. Bartlow, however, knows the neighborhood. He’s lived on the Lower LES (near Canal Street and Orchard Street) for a dozen years or so.  His favorite spot is Cafe Katja on Orchard Street, which we take as a good sign.