Note: Choptank closed in December 2010 after suffering water damage from a massive leak above the dining room. The owner divided the space in half, and re-opened part of it as Caffe Muzio, a casual Italian restaurant.
I have to give the mangement this much credit: they didn’t stint on the build-out. No sign of the Bar Q décor has survived—not that you mourn it. It’s a significant investment for a casual place serving entrées under $25, but so far it seems to be working. They have a lot of seats to fill, and full they were on a Friday evening.
The emphasis is on seafood, but the burger is terrific, and another reviewer loved the chicken. Blissfully, the menu fits on one page and features what the kitchen does well. So far, we think they have it right.
Clam chowder ($12; above left) was slightly (but I must emphasize, only slightly) less hot than we’d like, but otherwise very good. Polish sausage with sauerkraut and a house-made pretzel ($7; above right) comes from a section labeled “nibbles,” but in fact it’s a full-size appetizer, and a very good one at that.
The burger ($15; above left) was first-rate, one of the best we’ve tasted in a while. Nor could I find any fault with the Oyster Po’ Boy ($15; above right), with crisp oysters and a toasted bun. Chef Matthew Schaefer likes the deep fryer, and he seems to have mastered it.
The space is large, as an outdoor patio with thermopane windows is usable year-round. We were seated there on a winter evening, and didn’t feel cold at all. Our server was attentive, and the kitchen kept things moving.
The bar area is unfortunately under-sized, and it is popular. I arrived early and needed to stand a while before I got one of the few stools available. The house cocktails are mostly $12 or less, and the two I tried were excellent.
Choptank isn’t a “stop everything, you must go here” kind of restaurant, but it’s one of the better casual restaurants we’ve tried in the West Village. A number of recent places nearby have the fine dining route, and wound up with a more expensive menu than the neighborhood would bear. Choptank gets it exactly right.
Choptank (308–310 Bleecker Street between Grove & Barrow Streets, West Village)