Hidden behind a potted palm, the entrance to Rochelle's is a portal to Rick's bar, albeit staffed by millennial hipsters. Rich red leather seats adorn one wall, with windows opening above them. The tiled bar has a clean, apothecary feel. Step up and be prescribed a cocktail and sparkler fo your trroubles. An amazing mix of intelligent rap, classic 80s metal, and obscure folk hits play at a not-deafening level. Rochelle's has the feeling of being casually stylish, but not taking itself too seriously.
Beer is cheap (as it should be), starting at $4 for Miller High Life and going up to $8 for Murphy's Stout. Specialty cocktails are pricey, but worth it. The bar's signature drink is the 'Daddy Issues' ($13), with ingredients like Zu Bison, lemon juice, and honey. The Charlotte's Web is comprised of Old Grandad whiskey, Apple Jack, maple syrup, and lemon bitters. It has a melancholy taste, sweet and nostalgic. Order this to sip slowly between bites of whatever is in the delicious Today's Taco ($5). On this particular visit the soft flour tortilla was piled high with a mixture of chorizo, chimichurri, shishito peppers and romesco. The taco was tart, and just spicy enough to need to keep drinking.
The Big Chips & Double Dip ($6) is a real bargain. Perfect rounds of plantain chips dusted with salt and served with two heaping portions of sweet pepper chimichurri. The chef, Julia Gersuk, embodies the new ethos of the area. She looks like Nancy Spungeon, but has a clear, healthy outlook and a sunny disposition. The menu is well curated; a list of twisted classics with bite. A simple burger gets amped with a kick of whiskey ketchup (Bluto Burger, $16) and chicken wings come with sriracha mayo (Whisky and Warrior wings, $14). She describes the classic Argentinian chimichurri salsa as her 'summer go-to' because it's sweet, light flavor embodies the season.
That attitude pervades the service at Rochelle's. From the bar to waitstaff, there's an openness and a sense of fun. Stop by early, because they open at 5pm and start filling up almost instantly. Make sure you say hey to Brett 'Daddy' David, the tattooed model who serves as Creative Director/Social Meda Tech and host. Gab a seat, order some food, have a drink. You're going to want to stay awhile. It's that kind of place.
Rochelle's is located at 205 Chrystie Street, just off Houston. Take the F train to 2nd Avenue. For more info check them out at www.rochellesnyc.com or call them at (212) 673-2400.