Booker and Dax

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Critics' pick
3 Love It
Photograph: Lizz Kuehl
Dave Arnold at Booker and Dax
East Village
The far-out experiments of the wizardly Dave Arnold, French Culinary Institute's director of culinary technology, have long informed the work of boundary-pushing bartenders and chefs like Don Lee and Wylie Dufresne. At this tech-forward cocktail joint, housed in the former Momofuku Milk Bar space next to Ssäm Bar, Arnold's boozy tinkerings get a room of their own. Here, glasses are chilled with a pour of liquid nitrogen and winter warmers are scorched with a Red Hot Poker, a rod with a built-in 1,500-degree heater created by Arnold himself. Sip one of those hot concoctions, like the Friend of the Devil (Campari, sweet vermouth, rye, Pernod, bitters) or French Colombian (Pernod, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon). Arnold also showcases new techniques for creating fizzy drinks, like the Gin and Juice, made with Tanqueray gin and grapefruit juice that is clarified (a process that removes the solids) in a centrifuge and then carbonated in a CO2-pressurized cocktail shaker. Stay grounded with Momo-style snacks, like the signature pork buns, Cheeto-like ham puffs and french fries.
Venue name: Booker and Dax
Address: 207 Second Ave
New York
Cross street: at 13th St (entrance on 13th St)
Opening hours: Mon–Thu, Sun 6pm–2am; Fri, Sat 6pm–3am
Transport: Subway: L to Third Ave; L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6 to 14th St–Union Sq
Price: Average drink: $14. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Jillian Anthony

The only thing better than cocktails? Pork buns and cocktails. For something totally different, try the banana justino, which yes, tastes like bananas, but is delicious! I also love the bee sneeze and the pistol peat, which comes with an artfully drawn foam mustache on top. You can also try some other food staples here like oysters, octopus and the must-get kimchi and other pickled vegetables. You're steps away from a full dinner at Ssam Bar or dessert at Milk Bar, so make a night of it! Plus the drink menu changes regularly, so you'll never get bored. Great place for a second date or for parents who want to eat somewhere that's very New York.

Amy Cavanaugh

Dave Arnold’s futuristic cocktail bar, located in the back of Momofuku ssam, has become a must-visit on my trips to New York and worth a stop for any craft cocktail geek. Pantry staples like canned peaches meet umeboshi vinegar and mezcal in a cocktail that clearly contains lots of behind the scenes work but tastes effortless. A fiery red hot poker inserted into certain drinks changes flavors and textures—and looks super cool from your bar seat. There’s a short list of snacks, some from other spots in the Momofuku empire, like pork buns and Milk Bar cookies, and are necessary—there’s so much cool stuff to drink here, you need some snacks to keep you going.