I walked into this place and I just didn’t want to like it. The first thing you notice was the stark, almost spartan, decor done up in moody earth tones. Even the bar itself was plain. My immediate impression was that they were trying very hard to be hip and trendy. My overall response was just “meh”, to quote my teenage son. More on that in a bit.
I ordered my martini and a menu – mostly bar food and Sushi???!!! When was that ever an appetizing combination? “I’ll have the Bar Burger and a spicy tuna roll please.”
So I ordered the “86 West Burger” with my Martini…. yes a burger and Martini! To my surprise the burger was really very good. Their homemade chips were also great.
Finally, the Martini was good, really good Not great, but really good. The stem was taken from the freezer and was very nicely cooled. The mix was perfectly dry and abundant, almost overflowing the stem.
My only complaint, and which keeps this bar from a second martin glass is that the barkeep poured the Sapphire into the shaker with bar ice and just let it sit there. Off she went to pour a few beers for other patrons. I guess she thought that “not shaken, not stirred, just left to get cold” was the optimum solution to chilling the dink. Of course the martini was nicely chilled but also a bit more diluted than I like. The only other beef, and its minor, was that the stem was on the small side.
A final note about my ‘meh’ comment above; by the time I left the place had become amazingly busy! On a Wednesday evening, so they must be doing something right.
For selection 86 West gets a “C”. A non exhaustive sampling:
Sapphire, Hendricks, Tanguaray, Bluecoat,
New Amsterdam, Beefeater, Bombay.