The Rag Trader and Bo Peep Cocktail & Highball Store New York | Nostalgic Haven
What once was an old garment factory and tailor’s office in the mid-20th century during the peak of the Garment District is now a vibrant restaurant, beautifully inspired by the neighborhood’s eminent history and backdrop, The Rag Trader and Bo Peep Cocktail & Highball Store.
“I imagined the seamstresses and tailors working on this very floor 70 years ago and wanted the decor to pay tribute to just that.”
Cleverly piecing together the garment and fabric of yesterdays, The Rag Trader carries through and passes on a story of the past by maintaining the nostalgic architecture, with every corner filled with moments of recollections unraveling into surprising experiences.
Upon entering the restaurant, you will find your eyes wandering and excitedly jumping from one place to the next. The interior design captures every ounce of your attention with its design elements and definitely reveals many unique details about the space throughout your dining experience. One of the first things to catch guests’ gazes would be the bold lighting, different in every area of the restaurant. There are other interesting elements and moments like the selection of furniture and the use of exposed or reclaimed materials, whether it is existing or added. Throughout the restaurant, you will also notice mannequins, past issues of Vogue, colorful fabrics and garments, and many more other designs statements.
“The space allowed us to create an endearing, atmospheric and desirable restaurant and bar that would hold its own in any modern, urban environment around the world.”
To start, it’s almost impossible to settle on only a few appetizers due to their wide-ranging list of snacks and starters, with all of them being too hard to pass up on. The warm Burrata Salad, with a very silky and smooth texture to its burrata cheese, was definitely one of the many that stood out. The soft cheese and roasted tomatoes worked well together as it slid across all your taste buds, leaving behind a rich buttery taste along with some sourness from the tomatoes and sweetness from the Vincotto. The Crispy Brussels Sprouts tossed in sweet Thai chili sauce were absolutely amazing. They were crispy with still a crunch to it and were full of flavors but not too moist from the sauce.
The Seared Sea Scallops was served with scallops and cauliflowers sitting over the smoked tomato purée and sprinkled with bacon bits. The scallops were perfectly seared, leaving it still very tender. With the contrast of the crunch of the cauliflower and bacon and the strong flavors of the bacon and smoked tomato purée, it brought out the freshness and natural sweetness of the scallops.
The Crispy Skin Salmon presented the salmon over black rice, which was surrounded by a sea of green coconut curry, and had scattered crispy ginger strips and cashew atop. From the extreme crunchiness of its skin, you probably think the salmon might get overcooked or become very rough, but the finished product was far from that. The salmon, cooked with only its skin touching the pan, not only gives it its crispy skin but also leaves the salmon very moist. The green coconut curry fills every bite of salmon and rice with super rich flavors. It is sour, milky and creamy at the same time. The ginger crisps added that extra spiciness and sweetness to the overall dish.
The Lamb Merguez Fettuccine had its fettuccine and lamb mixed with charred tomatoes, baby kale, topped with beautifully cooked sous vide egg and covered with herb breadcrumbs and grana padano cheese. The lamb was tender and didn’t have a hint of gamey taste to it. Mixing the sous vide egg gave the dish an additional rich and creamy layer of taste and excellently balancing the spiciness and sourness.
“The menu focuses on refined comfort food and is designed to allow multiple types of dining experiences. Whether looking for a bite or quick drink with friends, a romantic dinner, or late-night pizza after a crazy night out, we have something for everyone,”
Every dish has its unique yet intense bursts of flavors in every bite. That applies to their cocktails and desserts as well which is nothing less in any respect. There are many signature cocktails worth trying, especially The Ragtrader, made of white and dark rum, grapefruit, citrus oil, coconut cream and nutmeg. It is almost as if you’re sipping on Pina colada! There’s definitely elegance in the menu of drinks, full of fun twists to classic drinks so people can enjoy it day or night. The dessert Drunkin Donuts filled with a heavy pour, an ideal dessert to end your meal, is three crispy sugar covered donuts each with a different alcoholic flavor. They have chocolate and rum, gingersnap bitters and vanilla, and molasses bitters and bourbon.
It definitely works – from its concept, idea, interior design to their amazing menu of food and drinks, it not only called for a nostalgic experience of the history of the Garment District, but it also enhanced a dining experience, making it truly enjoyable and pleasurable. They also have a subterranean lounge and piano bar, Bo Peep Cocktail & Highball Store, which was what used to be a tailor’s fitting room back in the day, for those who wish to visit for a drink before or after their meal.