Q&A with The Eddy & Wallflower’s expert bartenders

by | Dec 9, 2016 | Dining, Editor's Pick

The Wallflower's bar menu

Selections from Wallflower’s bar menu

The Eddy and Wallflower — sister restaurants in Greenwich Village — both recently launched new cocktail hours and bar menus. Wallflower now serves its “Punch, Classics & The Burger” menu daily from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM, while The Eddy’s “Classic Cocktail Hour” launched on Oct. 21 with the same hours. Both The Eddy (located in the East Village) and Wallflower (located in the West Village) are also open on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Eddy chef Brendan McHale has an $85 five-course tasting menu planned for Christmas Eve and a $95 six-course tasting menu for New Year’s Eve, while Ezra Lewis at Wallflower has an $85 five-course meal ready for Christmas and an $80 four-course on New Year’s.

Downtown had the pleasure of speaking with the head bartenders of both The Eddy and Wallflower. James Lomardino spoke on behalf of Wallflower. Luis Hernandez represented The Eddy. Both James and Luis offered up great answers that offered insight into life as a craft-conscious bartender, while also sharing some recommendations inside and outside of their establishments.

More info on The Eddy can be found at www.theeddynyc.com, while all things Wallflower are online at www.wallflowernyc.com.

Wallflower head bartender James Lombardino

Wallflower’s James Lombardino

How would you describe your establishment to someone who hasn’t yet been there?

James Lomardino: Wallflower wears its name well. It’s the secret spot that has been there all along, waiting for you to discover it. We serve French-American fare alongside a carefully curated wine list and a cocktail program that is interesting and far from pretentious. We have a small, succinct menu and our chef, sommelier and myself work hard to ensure every inch of our tiny space is utilized to an extreme degree. Come for cocktails at the bar before dinner — no matter what you like to drink, there will be something exciting for you to try.

Luis Hernandez: We are a restaurant, from cocktail bar to kitchen, that focuses on the freshness of product and seasonality.

What is your favorite item on the menu there?

JL: Cocktail-wise, I’m really excited about the Root Down. It’s a killer drink at Wallflower — Linie Aquavit and fresh carrot juice work together beautifully in this drink. Food-wise, the tasting menu is where it’s at; we call it, Let Us Cook For You. Let the kitchen send out dishes to you the way they would a good friend or other industry professional. Sit back, relax and let the food roll out. They do not mess around!

LH: From the kitchen, it has to be the chicken liver pate with miche toast and Concord grape. It’s a very old-school preparation and an example of what a traditional pate is.

The Eddy's head bartender Luis Hernandez

The Eddy’s Luis Hernandez / Photo: Erin Kestenbaum

Any specials or events coming up there?

JL: We have recently started a cocktail and bar food menu from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM for our neighborhood regulars and the after work crowd. We offer French 75s, Sidecars, and a punch that our bartenders create for the day. We have definitely made some new fans of the Sidecar.

LH: We just started a new happy hour menu that focuses on classic cocktails and some modifications. We also make it a focus to show the versatility of certain spirit categories and how they fit into classics and out of them as well.

What do you like most about your job?

JL: Honestly, just making people have a relaxed, good time. I am also a person who enjoys going out to bars and restaurants, so I work largely with empathy and intuition. I think, “What would I want my experience to be like?” Then I aim for that.

LH: I have the ability to create, teach, learn, and innovate at this bar. It’s great to have the chance to match the cocktails to the food and ensure harmony between the two. Having a kitchen that works at such a high seasonal level makes it easy for me to be seasonal as well and allows for imagination through the restriction of seasonality.

Cocktail Hour selections from The Eddy

Cocktail Hour selections from The Eddy

What is your drink of choice?

JL: It depends on the time of day! I enjoy most spirits, beer and wine, and the more I taste and try new things, the more I realize there is a time and place for everything. With that being said, if you put some sort of Rum Swizzle in front of me, I’ll be thrilled.

LH: I am not drinking alcohol anymore, so it’s tea. The versatility of tea cannot be understated. It’s an ancient drink that I hope will garner more adoration in Western culture.

Your establishment aside, what is your favorite restaurant in New York?

JL: This is a tough one. As New Yorkers we have an infinite number of options. It’s starting to get cold here, so there is nothing more soothing than a big bowl of ramen from Chuko.

LH: Without a doubt it has to be Raku, right next to us. All the food is great without any pretension, delicious, fast, warming and affordable. Definitely worth a visit.


The Eddy's I'm Sorry Ms. Kahlo / Photo: Asia Coladner

The Eddy’s I’m Sorry Ms. Kahlo / Photo: Asia Coladner

What is the first bar or restaurant you ever held a job at?

JL: Rue B., many years ago in Alphabet City in New York. Cocktails there may have not been ground-breaking at the time, but they gave me the chance to learn how to work in a busy and lively environment.

LH: Ciro and Sal’s in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It’s as old-school as it gets, looks like an old Italian cellar — intimate and great for a date!

When not busy with work, how do you like to spend your free time?

JL: All summer long, I ride my bike down to Coney Island to watch the Brooklyn Cyclones play. It’s a blast.

LH: The little time I have off I always spend with my wife. We like to go out to eat, go to museums or anything else interesting in the city. If I am not out with my wife, I am either playing basketball or reading comic books and manga.

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