Not only does the Shamlian brothers’ new Essex Street bar not yet have a name (James Killing is the current front-runner), but the place’s mechanical bull (the second in the city after Johnny Utah’s) is also still anonymous. And though Rob Shamlian says rumors on Eater that the bull doesn’t have padding are incorrect (quote: “Nine out of ten things you read on blogs are total bullshit”), it won’t be fully operational when the bar, built from salvaged redwood, opens to the public tonight. Still, take a look at the beast. Word is, rides will cost around $20 when it’s working (“soon”) and a chalkboard will list the top riders. Meanwhile, this isn’t just the first mechanical bull on the LES, but — according to Andrew Robertson, a former sous-chef at Town and Country and a pitmaster at Hill Country — it’ll be the first “genuine southern” restaurant in the city.
Robertson is actually an Italian boy from Yonkers. But when the gas is turned on in about a week, he plans to unveil such traditional dishes as a cinnamon short rib with glazed carrots, parsnips, and yams; collard greens with ham hocks; a pork chop with pecan rice; and purloo, a Carolinas squab stew with liver, fresh sausage, and wild rice. Robertson will be tinkering with game like wild boar and emu when available and is already bragging about having scored wild chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms. Study up on all this in case your date accuses you of going there just for the beer and the bull.