The official end of summer is actually September 22nd, which means we’re invariably still in for some hot and humid weather before the leaves start to fall. So as long as it feels as though you’re sweating bullets down on the drippy, muggy Bayou, you might as well eat as if you are, starting with fruity, bourbon-based cocktails and plates of deep-fried alligator nuggets at Bo’s.
Decidedly under the radar (and surprisingly so, considering it’s co-owned by Todd Mitgang, of the popular Crave Fishbar), the Big Easy-styled establishment provides a welcome, laid-back escape from the constant, crushing hustle of Flatiron, discreetly tucked in the Broadway-side shadow of Eataly. Divided into three spaces — a sexy bar room up front, overlooking French Country doors opened wide onto the sidewalk, a subterranean, speakeasy-esque event space and lounge, accessed by a half-hidden staircase, and a spacious dining area in back, dominated by teal-colored banquettes, Bo’s is an equally appealing option for after-work drinks, a late-night cabaret, or a full-on New Orleans feast.
But whatever you’re after, be sure to kick off an evening at Bo’s with the aforementioned Crispy Alligator, (yes alligator!!) which, for the uninitiated, doesn’t have all that much in common, taste or texture-wise, with chicken. The meaty, chewy chunks are more akin to tempura-fried calamari, interspersed with wedges of tender, battered bell pepper, meant to be speared with the accompanying wooden skewers and dunked in a creamy, chili-spiked remoulade. But while those gator bites are purely indicative of the Deep South, Bo’s beyond-jambalaya fare showcases a wide range of culinary influences, representing the melting pot that is Creole cuisine.
Take the Louisiana Spiced Redfish ladled with silken crabby sauce, and unexpectedly deposited atop sweet, velvety cubes of parsnip and Asian pear. And Wild Shrimp and Cheesy Grits are given an Italian “Fra Diavolo,” flourish, with the addition of bitter Upland cress and spicy roasted chili relish. Other intriguing items include the Coconut and Cola-braised Pork Belly, boasting a Kansas City-style barbecue crust and served with cabbage slaw and cherries, as well as a refreshing Golden Tomato Gazpacho, topped with celery, chili and aromatic Thai basil. Want to really Laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll?) Try the summery Antebellum cocktail, made with Bourbon, blood orange tea, lemon and mint, a potent Rum Corpse Reviver, consisting of White Brugal, Cocchi Americano, watermelon and Absinthe, or a Make-Your-Own Martini, which allows patrons to pick their poison and their pickle (we’d go for the house-marinated okra).
So there’s really no need to wait until Mardi Gras to indulge in Fried Green Tomatoes, Crawfish Etoufee and Sazeracs, when you can celebrate the final, steamy days of summer in leisurely, Big Easy style at Bo’s. Besides, it’s so nice to see the talented Todd Mitgang strutting his stuff, southern style.