Ernesto’s, an ambitious restaurant featuring the cuisine of Spain’s Basque region, opened just before the new year at 259 East Broadway.
It’s the first solo project from Ryan Bartlow, a Lower East Side resident who previously worked in the kitchens at Frenchette and Quality Eats. Ernesto’s has been years in the making. We first told you about this project in October of 2017.
The space, formerly home to a bodega and Chinese takeout joint, has been dramatically transformed. There’s a wall of windows along Montgomery Street, a gorgeous marble bar stretching the length of the restaurant and high-end design elements throughout the dining room.
For the menu, Bartlow drew inspiration from his time in San Sebastián, Spain, where he cooked shortly after graduating from culinary school in his early 20s. Entrees range in price from a batter fried hake with roasted peppers for $18 to a 60-day dry-aged beef chop for $120. But the menu also features many small plates, including a selection of Spanish bar snacks for $10, and an array of somewhat larger appetizers ($14-24). See the full menu below.
The New York Times reported that an adjacent all-day cafe will be opening soon, offering Spanish pastries and coffee in the morning, sandwiches and pintxos in the evening. For the moment, Ernesto’s is serving natural wines and beer; the owners are awaiting a full liquor license. Reservations are available via Resy.
Back in October of 2017, we reported that a Basque restaurant from the New York food industry vet Ryan Bartlow was coming to this spot on the corner of East Broadway and Montgomery streets. Well, it’s still in the works. Eater had the scoop yesterday on Ernesto’s, opening sometime during the late fall at 259 East Broadway.
A 50-seat dining room will open first, followed by a coffee shop and bar serving pastries and pintxos. Bartlow was most recently executive chef at Quality Eats. As Eater explained, his “interest in Spanish food stems from Bartlow’s early 20s, when he worked at San Sebastian’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant Akelarre and lived above a traditional Basque tavern near it.”
Bartlow lives on the Lower East Side.
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.