Mon-Sat, 11:30am-1:30am; Sun, 11:30am-9pm
1 at Houston St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Canal St. to Christopher St., FDR Dr. to West Broadway
Maybe it's the wooden ceiling fans, the circular bar, or the hand-painted zebra print detailing on the walls, but certain corners of Soho bistro Clarkson evoke a bit of Rick's Café American—that is, an establishment for expats in search of the familiar. Even with a direct view of the Empire State Building, the restaurant feels less like a downtown destination than a watering hole for people passing through. Squishy-crunchy sourdough bread serves as a warm prelude to the European-inspired seasonal menu. Clarkson's popular weekday happy hour includes $1 oysters and a $3 oyster shot of Bloody Mary mix, gin, lemon, and oysters. The presentations of roasted bone marrow and seared diver scallops with oyster mushroom purée and pea shoots are solid, although the seasoning can be a little heavy, with a few too many ingredients competing for attention. Finish with a French-American dessert—say, the ricotta-and-rhubarb crostata, which comes with graham-cracker ice cream and candied basil. The seasonal (of course) cocktails fit the vaguely upmarket theme of the place and are, as one bartender describes them, aesthetically pleasing drinks.Recommended Dishes
Charred octopus, $17; pork chop, $29