A New “Old New York” Tavern

A New “Old New York” Tavern

Tavern 62’s newly minted name signals “Old New York gathering place” plus the street it faces. But there’s a fine backstory: the “reunion” of two prize-winning chefs (Culinary Partner David Burke and on-site Executive Chef Ed Cotton), CIA [Culinary Institute of America] alums who’ve worked together before on this same Upper East Side site (then Burke’s Fishtail).

The former town house lends itself now to three experiences: a buzzy street-level lounge with a vintage Bugatti race car hovering over the bar, a private space with walls of pink Himalayan sea salt and an upstairs solarium plus a dining room with black walls, shaded sconce lights, bookshelves and tufted, amber-colored banquettes. Burke’s art collection here evokes nostalgia with scenes of New York carriages and street vendors.

Expect a measure of whimsy on an American menu that nods to pub classics: oysters “naked” or Thai-style with mint and crushed peanuts, bacon “candied” by maple but hanging on a “clothesline” and pastrami salmon flavored by coriander and hazelnut. Burke’s famed “angry lobster scramble” is now a starter, laced with crème fraîche and chili oil and tucked in a real ostrich egg.

Dishes of Mediterranean inspiration include shrimp fra diavolo with lemon cavatelli, lamb carbonara with bucatini and wild mushrooms with nduja (spicy Italian sausage sauce), while others feature Asian tastes: Peking pork shank with crepes and la chong fried rice or kobe skirt steak with Thai fries.

Nice finales: New World ingredients turned artful entertainment, such as a “tree” of cheesecake lollipops or a chocolate waffle cake with Heath bar crunch and chocolate cheerios.

Tavern 62, 135 E. 62nd St., btw Lexington & Park aves., 212.988.9021 (Lunch: M-F 11:45 am-2:30 pm; Dinner: M-Th 5-10 pm, F-Sa 5-10:30 pm; Brunch: Su 11 am-4 pm)