Bringing Prague to the Upper East Side
NEW YORK—I felt nostalgic at the first mention of Hospoda. Memories of old East European restaurants that were part of the dining landscape of Yorkville in bygone days flashed through my mind, where troubadours played classical and ethnic music while you dined.
Hospoda, located in the Bohemian National Hall on Upper East Side, is a place where you’ll experience pleasant surprises and lingering memories.
It is a gem worth exploring. Reminiscent of the traditional pubs you see in Prague, it is exquisite with a hip urban design, wooden communal tables, a custom-built glass refrigerated cabinet that displays kegs of Pilsner, and a floor that lets diners look at the beer and wine cellar.
As we were admiring the lit, dark wooden walls, a glass of beer was placed in front of us, compliments of the house. It had the frothiest head I had ever seen. Beer is what Hospoda is known for, and it’s served with care and respect.
The beer is shipped in kegs “Cold Express,” at the same temperature as its point of origin, until it is stored in the cellar. To get the foam, the bartender pours the beer sideways through a high tech hose to create the small and compact bubbles and the froth.
International beers and wines are available by the bottle, glass, or even half-glass. Freshly made flavored sodas are also available.
The service is well-mannered, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. Hospoda seems to get it just right.
The food blew our mind. Celebrity chef René Stein composes beer-inspired, New American style menus every season that celebrate a bold style cooking.
The menu exhibits stunning imagination and precisely executed cuisine, with suggested wine and beer pairings.
The starters I had were delicate and delicious, like the heart-warming and flavorful Chicken Consommé ($15), made with Cornish hen and poured at your table over a paste of celery root, button mushrooms, and hazelnuts, or the refined Soft Poached Egg ($18), with chunks of tender lobster meat, speck brioche, drizzled with coffee and passionfruit sauce, which was like a melody.
Main courses ranged from the slow-cooked succulent and intensely flavored Berkshire Pork Belly ($18) with sweet scallops, stout, roasted carrots, beech mushrooms, and Meyer lemon, which was both bold and delicate, with balanced flavors, to the aromatic and sublime Idaho Trout ($28) with Yuzu sauce and shallot garlic salsa, chanterelles, trout roe, and confit potato, which I can still taste.
You should not miss the stunning desserts prepared by the Michelin-starred chef/pastry chef Lukas Pohl, like the stunning Big Apple ($10), with baked apple dumplings, cinnamon, poppyseed ice cream, and Calvados.
321 E. 73rd St.
Monday–Saturday: 5:30 p.m.–midnight
Sunday: 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m.
Happy hour daily: 5:30 p.m.–7 p.m.