When my friend was planning a birthday dinner, and he told me he was expecting about 10+ people, I immediately began to wonder what kind of restaurant we would end up at. He picked Bea in Hell’s Kitchen, and because I had never heard of the place and a lot of Manhattan restaurants are notoriously tiny, I was wondering how this was all going to work out. Well, it seems he choose wisely because despite a couple of mishaps, it ended splendidly.
Bea is one of those places where a lot of it is about the setting and atmosphere rather than the food. The menu is relatively small with offerings that are more like pub fare…pricier, kind of fancy pub fare like Grilled Shrimp Toast and an English Muffin Burger. The interior is more spacious than it seems from the outside, with booths, bistro tables, and a square bar in the center with wrap-around counter seating. A cool thing is that the restaurant has brick walls, and they project old movies on to them (even though there’s no sound it’s still fun to watch).
Although my friend made a reservation, we ended up waiting around 30 minutes for our table because they were waiting for a party to leave before being able to seat us. Not so great. What was nice was that a bartender came over and gave everyone two free drinks on the house to make up for it. A little better. We were finally taken to our table, which we we realized was in a whole other part of the restaurant. It seems like another room, but it’s actually outdoors and like a private courtyard with a tree with pretty fairy lights, another movie projected onto the wall (we were watching Scarface!), and just a few tables. It felt like we had the entire space to ourselves, which was great for how many people we had and for it being a birthday.
I ordered the fillet pie for dinner, which is a pizza with filet mignon, caramelized scallions, ricotta, and tomato sauce (apologies for the dark photo! The ambience was getting in the way of my photographing ;P). The waitstaff was very friendly and apologized for the wait, made sure the birthday boy got a free dessert, and let us all have separate checks (seriously, such a dream with a large group of people). We were (kindly) asked by our waiter if we could leave soon after eating because another party was coming in and they had reserved this cute little courtyard. Again, another kind of awkward encounter that probably would’ve been avoided if we hadn’t gotten seated late, but they told us nicely and towards the end of our meal when we were almost done eating anyways AND they sent us off with complimentary glasses of champagne so yeah, it turned out to be just fine.
From reading other reviews of this place, the cocktails seem to be a main draw here. I didn’t have any so I can’t speak to that but their drink menu is almost as long as their food menu (if not the same length) and roughly the same price as the food. Oh, New York City!
But seriously, this is such a lovely place to hang out with friends. Especially if you can get that magical little courtyard! 😉
403 W 43rd St
New York, NY 10036