When I think of seafood (especially during the summer) in Harlem, my mind usually turns to catfish. Now Harlem didn’t really have an upscale seafood restaurant……until now! B2 Harlem (formally known as Billie’s Black) which had and still has the best catfish in Harlem is now an upscale seafood restaurant!
In 2016 owner Adriane Ferguson teamed up with co-owner Mikel Welch who remodeled Billie’s Black and transformed it into an upscale seafood restaurant (at last) which also boast’s a classy speakeasy right downstairs (think of a mini Gin Fizz back in it’s early days) that has a live Jazz band every Friday night.I truly loved the classy décor of the restaurant which sets the mood for so many possibilities: elegant dinner dates, meetings over drinks, business or classy brunch, and of course, late night Jazz in a elegant speakeasy. You get my point!
For dinner I tried the Ginger Lime Black Cod which was served with wild rice salad, topped with squash and red peppers. The presentation of this dish made me marvel at it’s beauty, that I paused quite a moment as if to encode it into my mind to retrieve much later to delight myself.
This dish while delicious and healthy, I felt that a little something was missing like maybe a butter sauce or some other to give it a little kick on the palette. But overall a solid and good dish.
And of course for an appetizer I had the catfish, which comes with hot-sauce in a medicine dropper (no more spilling it on my tie).
The presentation of the dishes at B Squared are all quite appealing, so just gazing at them is enough to make one hungry, and their nice to look at! I returned on the weekend for brunch, and B2 did not disappoint.
I had the Lobster Hash, which is served with honey chipotle, potato hash with a fried egg crowning this glorious dish. The half lobster tail underneath the egg and laying on the bed of potato hash was so fresh, it could have just been caught that morning! This is one brunch dish I would always recommend (and have over and over again). I also had a side of honey beacon, and a carafé of Mimosa to accompany this marvelous dish.
(Alchemical Distillation Reagents)
As if the delicious dinners and brunch was not enough, I will now explain the cocktail menu and what makes it so special and different from other Harlem venues! Now anyone with a background and Knowledge of Science and Chemistry (like myself), knows that Alchemy was the forerunner of chemistry in the middle ages which conducted experiments to covert base metals into gold, and manufacture the universal Elixir (universal medicine). This “proto-scientific” tradition originated in Egypt, than spread throughout Europe which attempted to purify, mature, and perfect certain natural materials.
The skillful combination of the four basic elements Air-Earth-Water-Fire, along with “purified metals”, oils, extracts from plants and flowers “distilled” in the proper fashion resulted in medicinal tinctures, elixirs and salves to “cure” many aliments and promote well being.
Such experiments led to “Homeopathic” cures and practices to promote well being and health. Later on Chemistry became king as the advancement of science gave us more understanding of the “natural” world.
B2 has taken elements and concepts from both of these practices and has created a Periodic Table of (Cocktail) Distillations.
I tried the B2’s PC/Penicillin. PC=msh (Monkey Shoulder Scotch) hs (Honey Syrup) lj (Lemon Juice) gj(Ginger juice) iw (Islay Wiskey) gscr (Ginger Snap Cookie Rim). Or PC=msh+hs+lj+gj+iw+gscr.
This cocktail was AWSOME! This potent and tasty drink will Tintalize your palate with an explosion of tasty tarty sweetness, and the ginger snap cookie rim that will cause a rapid increase of energy in an extreme manner.
(Batender/Mixologist: Kurt Zager)
The bartender Kurt Zager is a certified and skillful mixologist. Well versed in the preparation of all of these scientific/alchemical cocktails. And is also quite an artist, and very witty as well with a top notch sense of humor.
It is quite a treat to watch as they “concoct” your selected drink right in front of you, using a torch to heat a cinnamon stick and infuse your glass with the gases, smoke and essence of the cedar wood and spice. Even setting a sprig of sage or rosemary ablaze on some of the dishes, leaving in it’s wake a pleasant aroma!
B Squared even features a drink that let’s you be your own “Mixologist”. All the ingredients are set before you in “test tubes” on a test tube rack (of course), and you pour them in your glass in the proper order and watch as the colors change from the chemical reactions. Lastly you add the tequila in your concoction and you will marvel at your chemistry skill and how you made a phenomenal drink. Enjoy!
Hung Over? Try B2’s Bloody Mary with a Jumbo Shrimp. Yes it’s a Bloody Mary with a snack attached!
Oh, did I mention live jazz music? Room 623 B2 Harlem’s Speakeasy right downstairs from the restaurant every Friday Night. Does it get better than this? I think not!
The clientele is upscale, elegant and chill. Everyone is friendly and relaxed. As a matter of fact I was invited into a conversation with a guest at the bar. As we were discussing the owner Adriane’s elegant and sophisticated approach to B2’s concept, I commented “As a known scientist, it’s surprising that she blinded me with science…I know”.
(Mike Strange & Adriane Ferguson)
So what is my review of B2 Harlem? I will sum it up with my calculation. Now B2 is from the Pythagorean Theorem which states: a Squared + b Squared = c Squared. My formula is as follows: B2Harlem+MS+D+d+B+d=A Jolly Good Time
(Mike Strange+Dinner+drinks+Brunch+drinks=A jolly good time)
B2 Harlem is located at 271West 119th Street between St Nick & FDB
Stop by and have them whip something up for you!
“As a known scientist, it’s surprising that she blinded me with science…I know.”