The original T.G.I. Friday’s opened as a singles bar on 63rd and 1st in 1965, apparently so that the owner could meet women. (Please take a moment to imagine the pick-up lines shared over an appetizer sampler.) Then that location closed down, leaving the east 60s without a place for people to socialize, eat calamari, drink martinis, and tastefully proposition others for casual sex. That is, until The East Pole opened in 2014.
Unlike any T.G.I Friday’s we’ve ever graced, The East Pole takes up the first two floors of a beautiful brownstone. It’s the sort of classy place where servers look forward to emphasizing the “heritage” when they talk about the heritage pork chop with chicory greens. Heritage or not, The East Pole’s American food won’t spin you into ecstasy or outrage. It’s all about seven dollars more than you want it to be (there’s a decent kale pesto cavatelli for $24 and better-than-decent grilled snap peas for $16, for example).
The East Pole’s greatest quality is its reliability as a social epicenter. So even though the Scottish salmon tartare might not blow your mind, keep this spot in your mental restaurant rolodex the next time you’re meeting up with a date in the area or you want to sit at the bar, drink a cocktail, and imagine what went down at the first-ever T.G.I. Friday’s.
A totally fine $24 puck of chilled, chopped salmon. The addition of sesame seeds helps give this some crunchy textural contrast, but it will probably blend in your mind with most other salmon tartare dishes you’ve eaten.
The next time we go to a farmer’s market and see snap peas, we’ll think about this lemony, crunchy pile of them. They’re really tasty.
An extremely herbaceous plate of cavatelli. It’s covered in pecorino cheese. You’ll like it.
The bar is a perfect place to drink a martini and look like you’ve been on Forbes 30 Under 30. We’d suggest you try it.