Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ice Age Comes to the Lower East Side via Preserve24

After a four million dollar investment, and a year an a half of hard work, venture partners Terry Goggin and his son, artist Brian Goggin opened Preserve24 last spring. The space is a wondrous work of art, and one of the most expansive concepts for a restaurant I’ve ever seen. 

Serving as a multi-disciplinary art installation, the eye-popping interior utilizes old and new implements for an upcoming 2014 expedition to Greenland. During this expedition, a two-ton iceberg will be extracted from an ice-age glacier, then brought to New York and installed in a reliquary inside the restaurant. 

The owners feel this unique installation of ancient ice is the perfect demonstration of the effect man has had on planetary change, and will serve as a reminder for all of us that the only way we can reverse the damage already done is by becoming aware, sustainable, and most importantly, accountable.

Brian Goggin, along with fellow artist Peter Cole designed the interior with amazing attention to detail, from the wall of ice-cutting tools to ceiling fans made from bakers paddles, as well as oars, and a propeller. Each room is like a three dimensional collage comprised of all sorts of repurposed items like beer tap handles made from piano foot pedals, an 1860 oyster boat reconstructed into a raw bar, and a piano bar made out guessed it…old pianos.  In the kitchen there’s a wood-burning, potbelly stove (affectionately named Pavarotti) where Chef John Parlatore uses local proprietors and purveyors in an effort to operate his kitchen with a minimal carbon footprint. There's so much to take in, that at first it's a bit of a sensory overload, but to my mind it's the perfect excuse to go back again, aside from the food, which is spectacular.

My friends and I whet our appetites with the Sea Witch, a diabolical concoction of vodka, Jalapeno Chartreuse, lime, and passion fruit puree, then shared a mix of mouth watering appetizers including such raw bar favs as oysters, spicy lobster claw and jumbo shrimp, followed by roasted bone marrow with crispy guanciale, and parsley and onion marmalade. Our main course included organic roasted chicken,  a cooked-to-perfection 40 oz porterhouse steak, truffle fries, roasted vegetables, and charred broccoli with cheese sauce, as well as local mushrooms, accompanied perfectly by a bottle of Pitch Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Washington State. Dessert was a heavenly, homemade banana and chocolate ice cream topped off with Weavers coffee.

Our conclusion: Preserve 24 truly is a feast for the eyes, for the belly, and for the soul.

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