Note: Pitch & Fork closed. The space is now a Mexican restaurant called Epazote.
On the Upper East Side, where the restaurant scene has been quietly improving, welcome to The Pitch & Fork. It’s not destination dining, but another solid option in a neighborhood that the media always considered dining-deficient.
In truth, the media perception of Upper East Side dining was always more myth than fact. East of Third Avenue, the residents are younger, edgier, and far more likely to be single. They’ve all gotta eat. Restaurants up here still struggle to pull crowds from outside the neighborhood, but many of them do solid local business.
That appeared to be the case on a recent Saturday evening at The Pitch & Fork, which opened in late June. There’s a small outdoor café, a dark tavern-like dining room, and a quiet outdoor garden (where we ate), which supposedly will be open year-round.
The man in charge is Jacques Ouari, whose clutch of restaurants includes Jacques Brasserie at 85th & Third and Jacques 1534 in NoLIta. The menu here offers French-accented pub fare, where burgers, hot dogs and ribs could share the table with moules frites and steak au poivre.
Soups, salads and appetizers run $7–16, main courses $15–26, side dishes $6–7. The wine list is not much of a draw, but you’ll find something acceptable. The bottle of red Zinfandel pictured above was $53.
Not many restaurants serve a platter of Schaller & Weber choucroute these days, so we ordered that. It comes in two sizes ($16/$22), and the larger of these was more than we could finish, a bounty of bockwurst, weisswurst, frankfurt, pork belly, sauerkraut, and potatoes.
A very good poached Brook Trout ($22; above left) was stuffed with spinach, shallots, and wild mushrooms. But under-seasoned Roast Chicken ($21; above right) had a flat, mushy taste.
Some of the servers here are a bit shaky on the finer points (where to put silverware, how to pour wine), but they were attentive enough, and the outdoor garden is lovely. I’d like to hope that chicken was an anomaly, as otherwise the Pitch & Fork is a pleasant spot.
The Pitch & Fork (1606 First Avenue between 83rd & 84th Streets, Upper East Side)
Food: French-accented American pub fare
Service: Informal but sufficiently attentive
Ambiance: A bustling tavern with a quiet outdoor garden
Why? Another solid option for the area, but not noteworthy enough to travel for