There is a certain stigma that comes with being a restaurant in the Times Square district. Restaurants are assumed to be over-the-top, kitschy, and not worth the hype. Forget all of that when experiencing Bea.
On the west side of 43rd Street and 9th Avenue, the restaurant can be found by the theater-like “Bea” sign outside. Upon entering, you almost feel like you’ve stumbled onto a backyard barbecue, complete with a tree, string lights and projected movies taking the place of artwork.
The space is broken up with seating in the front, an open concept bar in the middle of the restaurant, a private space in the back, which perfect for a date or a party gathering and of course the “outside” area, which is actually inside. Restauranteur Sotir Zonea is all about creating not just a restaurant, but an experience complete with exceptional service, and his staff delivered just that.
You always start a good meal with a good drink, and we began our experience with choosing cocktails off Bea’s innovative menu.We started our meal with the Lavender Monk, lavender infused vodka with yellow chartreuse, lime juice, ginger beer and a ginger candy garnish. We also had the Gypsy Lord, with aged rum, house pomegranate syrup, lime juice and angostura bitters. The cocktails were both refreshing and changes from typical bar cocktail program.
When approaching Bea’s menu, it is important to remember that simple dishes can still have big flavor, which is something Chef Anunya Clarke showcases on the versatile menu. The Grilled Shrimp Toast was recommended to us, which had simple ingredients like shrimp, avocado, pickled red onion and a touch of green tobacco on a hero roll. However, the combination of perfectly seasoned shrimp and the acidity of the onions with the crunch of the toasted bread, made it a dish that we were still talking about a week later.
We followed that up with the Tuna Tar Guac, a combination of guacamole tuna tar tar and micro-cilantro, an extremely fresh and flavorful dish. We also had the pork dumplings, which is the only item that we felt was tasty, but did not bring any new flavor profiles to the table.
For our main dishes, we had the green pasta, a simple spinach tagliatelle, but incredibly fresh and combined with the same seasoned shrimp from our first course. It is not to be missed. word to the wise, it is extremely filling and should probably be shared with two people. We also had the lamb chops, which, again, were seasoned perfectly and served with a complimentary salad of arugula, avocado, and blue cheese, with a sherry vinaigrette salad.
Although we were pretty satiated from our meal, you never pass up dessert! The staff chose a trio of crepes with different fillings for us to try, along with their chocolate mousse with blackberries and whipped cream. The crepes were everything you would want from a sweet dish, and the chocolate mousse, was thick and creamy. We polished them off with their homemade moonshine.
We can’t wait to come back to try more items on the menu, have more of the shrimp toast, and also try out their brunch, which just started. If you get there before us, make sure to report back!
– Stephanie Carino