Located on the ground floor of the ecologically minded 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, The Osprey is practically an extension of its surroundings. Brooklyn Bridge Park is located just steps outside the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and that outdoorsy vibe is reflected in the open dining room, which is outfitted with reclaimed wood tables and chairs and a “live” canopy of hanging plants and warm lights strung overhead. Framed feathers on one wood-slat wall are a nod towards the restaurant’s namesake bird, Osprey, which populate the waterfront location outside.
“The original ethos of the whole hotel played a part in why we wanted to do what we’re doing here,” explains culinary director Michael Oliver, copartner in the restaurant along with restaurateur Matt Abramcyk, chef de cuisine Mike Poiarkoff and hotelier Barry Sternlicht. (The team is also in charge of the rooftop and soon-to-open 10th-floor lounge, Brooklyn Heights Social Club.) “We wanted to have a menu that was focused quite a bit on vegetables — but not over-the-top.”
The Osprey channels not only the environmental consciousness cultivated by the hotel, but also the years Oliver has spent working for chefs such as Daniel Boulud and Andrew Carmellini. The French and Italian-influenced cuisine, which is focused on lighter fare, also references the restaurant’s surroundings; Coney Island Clam Chowder takes the original name of what is more commonly referred to as Manhattan Clam Chowder, and incorporates local black bass, Montauk squid, and Little Neck clams.
“I like food history, I’m intrigued by it,” Oliver accords. “There are pulls from historic references, there are pulls from the neighborhood, but on the whole we want it to feel like a quaint little neighborhood restaurant,” he continues. “We want this place to be a neighborhood gem. That’s the biggest thing for us, to have this neighborhood restaurant — we’re in Brooklyn Heights, and our neighbors can come here three or four times a week and really have a good time.”
While many dining options have sprung up along the neighborhood’s waterfront recent months — Cecconi’s, Celestine, Vinegar Hill House Foods — The Osprey also has the benefit of built-in neighbors via permanent residencies in the building and hotel guests. “We have lots of transient guests, people flying in from all over the world staying here,” Oliver notes. “We try to hit some points where they can come in and feel comfortable as well.”
Of course, with such a knockout view, the restaurant essentially sells itself. During opening week, the park is in peak fall foliage, which over the next month will give way to a clear view of the East River and downtown Manhattan.
“I love the thought of walking into a restaurant and having a nice prime rib and a big glass of wine, and snow falling in front of these windows,” Oliver adds.
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