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Details Revealed For Charlie Bird Chef's New Venture on Kenmare Street

 Chef Ryan Hardy (center, pictured with Martha Stewart), is taking his expertise from his SoHo restaurant Charlie Bird and opening an as-yet-unnamed eatery on Kenmare Street in Nolita.
Chef Ryan Hardy (center, pictured with Martha Stewart), is taking his expertise from his SoHo restaurant Charlie Bird and opening an as-yet-unnamed eatery on Kenmare Street in Nolita.
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Composite: Facebook/Toby's Public House and Charlie Bird

NOLITA — Details about the new venture "star chef" Ryan Hardy is bringing to Kenmare Street were revealed at a public meeting Tuesday night, where Hardy made his case for his beer-and-wine license application to the local community board.

Hardy and his sommmelier-partners Robert Bohr and Grant Reynolds, whose SoHo eatery Charlie Bird opened two years ago and continues to thrive on King Street, are opening an as-yet-unnamed restaurant at 86 Kenmare St., where Toby's Public House recently closed.

"Our goal is to reintroduce this corner space as a comfortably refined, old world, wood fired restaurant with an eye on the details," wrote the restaurateurs in documents provided to Community Board 2's liquor licensing committee with their application. "We'll feature a small, but serious wine program and a kitchen blending ingredients with international talent to create food that's focused around live fire."

Photos beside the text show wood, a wood-burning stove, and langoustines on a grill.

The news that Hardy was planning a new venture in the space was broken by local blogs Bowery Boogie and Eater, who traced the LLC applying for a license back to Charlie Bird.

The documents in the State Liquor Authority application show that Hardy and his partners bought out Toby's lease for $400,000. They also include a letter of recommendation from celebrity chef Danny Meyer, lauding Hardy's culinary skills and prowess as a restaurateur.

The new venture will have outdoor seating, like Toby's did, and 21 tables with 42 chairs in its 1,000 square-foot interior space, according to the application. They also plan to have a 10-foot-long L-shaped bar that will seat 10 people, for a total of 52 seats.

Included with the application was a page of menu items with "the baseline" written at the top and broken up into sections: raw bar, small plates, vegetables, pizza, and large plates.

Raw bar items, all priced at $12 each, include oysters served with ham and satsuma, mackerel with kumquats, green chiles and peppercorn, and Maine sea urchin with bay scallops, lemon and olive oil.

Small plates, all priced at $14 each, feature bone marrow with anchovy, lemon and parsley, stracciatella with pickled farm vegetables, and a handful of pasta dishes.

Vegetable dishes, all priced at $12 each, include a "smoky eggplant spread" with flatbread, an escarole salad, broccoli rabe with garlic and chiles, crispy zucchini flowers, wood-roasted candy carrots with cumin and cilantro, and a "farmers market chopped salad."

The ostensible sample menu of pizzas includes marinara, straccilatella, veal meatball, zucchini with pecorini and mint, clam with parsley and chiles, and coppa with provolone piccante and onions.

Large plates feature veal, stewed chicken livers, fire-roasted lamb shoulder, and grilled Long Island fluke, all for $25 each, plus a whole roasted chicken for two, priced at $50.

The application promises not to host any promoted events, use outside promoters, or have TVs and that they'll only have "background music" played off of an iPod or CDs.

Hardy plans to open the restaurant at 11 a.m. daily, though a chef will be onsite as early as 7 a.m.

Hardy faced vehement opposition from the building's residential tenants, who complained of longstanding issues with every business that has occupied the space.

"The sound issue is very profound in this whole prewar building because there's literally nothing between the restaurant and the tenants above," explained the tenants' lawyer, Robin LoGuidice.

Hardy told the board that he is already taking extremely costly soundproofing measures, including hiring a sound engineer "at considerable expense" to modify the existing space.

Documents included with Hardy's application show that he and his partners intend to use a special "Pyrok Vogl sound-absorbing ceiling" which purports to absorb 75 percent of sounds that hit it, and to also minimize how much noise can be heard on the street when the windows are open.

They hired sound consultants from the firm Cerami & Associates with hourly rates varying from $125 to $300 depending on the employee's title.

After huddling outside the meeting for more than two hours, Hardy and the LoGuidice came to an agreement, with Hardy vowing not to do construction on the weekends, and to close the restaurant an hour earlier than his desired midnight curfew on Sundays and Mondays. (The rest of the week, Hardy is permitted to stay open until midnight; Toby's Public House previously stayed open until 2 a.m.)

Community Board 2 SLA committee co-chair Carter Booth said it was the first time the committee approved an application at this location in eight or nine years.

The full board will vote on the application on Thursday.