With Molly’s Public House (400 W. 23rd St.) and now the iBar, Lower Charles Village has a few new friendly bar stools. The tiny Molly’s offers only steamed shrimp for now—good steamed shrimp, we should add—so if you’re in need of a meal, head over to the iBar. While we sipped pints and waited for our meal to arrive, the place filled with a lively local crowd. The owner and staff joked with the customers, and seemed to know many by name, evidence they’re laying a solid foundation in a neighborhood better known for its Korean restaurants and shops.
Our bruschetta ($3.95) was crispy and overflowed with fresh tomato, garlic, scallions, and basil. Delicious. Next, my dining partner’s house salad showed up. A typical affair, with iceberg lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes, it was saved by generous slices of red pepper. Her pasta marinara ($8.25, includes salad) was flat-out dull, and my burger (usually $5.25 with fries, but it was half-price burger night) appeared appreciably smaller than its advertised half-pound weight, but still good. The side of fries, we agreed, was the highlight of the meal—freshly cut, fried in good oil, they rocked. As the iBar finds its place in the neighborhood, it will hopefully find its way with the menu as well. Till then, we’ll have another pint. And another order of those fries.