I’ve wanted to go to Charlie Bird ever since it opened last spring; if only reservations weren’t so impossible to get! I finally had the opportunity to go to Charlie Bird last night and it was every bit as good as I knew it would be. The menu is small but features a variety of my favorites, and although it is classified as an Italian restaurant, pastas are only a small section of the menu. Add in a cool vibe, good drinks, and a knowledgeable service; I think I found a new favorite restaurant…
The menu at Charlie Bird is broken down into five sections: raw, pasta, small plates, vegetables, and large plates. I’m not typically a raw foods fan, so you can imagine my hesitation in trying the raw, LIVE diver scallops, but these are a must try. The scallops are served on top of jasmine rice and this dish is nobread approved. Unfortunately, no gluten free pastas or breads are served at Charlie Bird, but with SO many other options to try this may be a blessing in disguise. The small plates are perfect for sharing, and I recommend the grilled octopus with ceci beans and prosciutto. This dish is amazing. Also the beef carpaccio and walnut/apple/radicchio salad are delicious, too. Essentially all of the items offered in this section are gluten free with the exception of the two toasts and the farro salad. (Side note- are farro salads becoming the new kale salads??) My favorite part of the menu is the vegetables category. Broccoli rabe, butternut squash, caramelized cauliflower, crispy brussels sprouts, AND french fries; I could have just ordered from this section and I would have been very happy. The cauliflower is caramelized, but NOT with butter, so it is dairy free! Tossed with pancetta bites and toasted almonds, this might be the best cauliflower in New York City. If you still have room for a main course, I recommend the black bass and roasted chicken.
Charlie Bird surpassed my extremely high expectations, and 100% deserves all the acclaim and attention it’s been receiving. Between the veggies that remind me of my favorite LA restaurant, Gjelina, the small plates that make me feel like I am at Toro, and the service that understands gluten and is very helpful; Charlie Bird has definitely become one of my favorite restaurants in NYC.