The Bar. All images via Mr. White
Designed with influences from a Southern mansion, Mr. White seamlessly melds comfort and grandeur, elegant dishes and a sick playlist of old-school hip hop and rap. A black and white tiled floor leads from the entryway to a sleek, black and gold-trimmed bar decorated with various plants and elegant light fixtures. The main dining room, similarly bedecked in gold, black, and white, is intimate and comfortable. Hip hop beats and French rap fill the space around a crystal chandelier, a fireplace, black and gold candles, potted plants, and a cupboard filled with antique china. Mr. White combines the elegance and decor of a Southern style mansion — though, admittedly, a little tongue-in-cheek — with familiarity and an extremely relaxed vibe.
A smaller, back dining area appears more like a sushi bar, where guests sit at high-top bar stools and observe their chef prepare various dishes. This space, a little less grandiose than the rest of the restaurant, still maintains the characteristic gold trim and potted plant decorations. A special chef’s tasting menu will soon be available for guests who prefer a more engaging dining experience as well as an up-close view of the raw bar.
The minds behind this New Orleans-style experience — Managing Partner Jeffrey White, Marketing Manager/Partner Kelly Rheel, and Executive Chef/Partner Andrew Dunleavy — sought to bring the elevated southern-inspired cuisine and experience to New York City. The goal of the restaurant is to “transport guests to NOLA” and to “recreate the sense of fun and mysticism one might find strolling the French Quarter.” Jeffrey White, the establishment’s namesake, was born in Kentucky and imagines that the restaurant is a tribute to his grandfather, the true Mr. White. The hallway between the two dining rooms is lined with beautifully framed, black-and-white photos of Jeffrey White’s ancestors, including his grandfather, which add to the homey feel of the restaurant.
The claim to fame and must-try dish is its house specialty char-grilled oysters. A popular New Orleans dish and all-around scarcity in New York City, these oysters are served in a delicious sauce with parmesan, parsley, butter, lemon, and a baguette. The raw oysters are equally as tasty, presented on a large, elegant dish with vinegar, lemon, and a crushed tomato topping. Its main menu combines Southern comfort with Manhattan style to create dishes like slow-smoked beef brisket, smoked duckling, prawns and grits, braised pork cheek, kale salad with molasses toasted pecans, and a crawfish po’boy.
Prawns and Grits
Finally, the cocktails and desserts are unique, tasty, and truly reflect the style and atmosphere that Mr. White is cultivating. The brûléed bananas with sea salt caramel ice cream is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, soft, and crunchy, and — similar to all the dishes — is very generously sized. The “Beta Lambda Brut” cocktail is sweet with blackberries and lavender while “The Hornet’s Nest,” with its sage, smoked honey, and soju, can only be described as delicious liquid smoke. All together, the interior design and decor, the excellent menu, and the ambiance allows guests to feel transported to dinner in an elegant, yet still fun, mansion.
“The Hornet’s Nest” Cocktail
“Beta Lambda Brut” Cocktail
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