Downtown by Chef Jay Pisculli is bringing an upscale take on American cuisine to the heart of Downtown Binghamton.

Operated under Beer Tree Brew management, Downtown by Chef Jay Pisculli reimagines American food with a commitment to the highest quality ingredients. The restaurant replaced Beer Tree Brew’s Downtown location at 20 Hawley St. in the winter of 2024, bringing on executive chef Jay Pisculli to the new establishment.

Downtown by Chef Jay Pisculli offers a $35 three-course dinner menu for Restaurant Week, with the option to replace any course with wine or beer from Beer Tree Brew. Ahead of our Restaurant Week reservation, my photographer Caspar and I marveled over the high-quality menu, which contains items such as crispy deviled eggs, honey roasted rainbow carrots, chop house sirloin and chicken taquitos.

Our visit lived up to our expectations and more. Upon entering the restaurant, Caspar and I were immediately impressed with the upscale atmosphere. Lightbulbs emanate warm yellow light in the seating area, while the assortment of potted plants and vines bring a natural touch to the open, industrial-inspired space. The restaurant also boasts a striking bar area and wall showcase upon entry, featuring liquor bottles and a green wall.

The management and staff greeted us with friendly hospitality, then led us to our table with a central view of Downtown Binghamton. Our waiter was extremely personable and attentive, first giving us the option of bottled or tap water and allowing us time to look over the menu.

For my first course, I selected the hummus crudité and Caspar chose the burrata salad. Hummus is one of my all-time favorite foods, and Caspar attested to always enjoying burrata from restaurants, so they were the perfect choices for both of us. The hummus crudité came in a dish surrounded by fresh purple cauliflower, carrots and other vegetables, all cooled with a base of ice cubes. The hummus was creamy with a great depth of flavor, while the ice cubes and colorful vegetables made for a beautiful presentation. Caspar noted that the burrata in his salad was delicious. Additionally, the salad contained a good balance of sweet and salty from the strawberries and mozzarella respectively.

For our second course, Caspar chose the chop house sirloin, and I chose the sea scallops. When Caspar’s steak arrived, our waiter allowed him to pick his favorite steak knife from a cigar box, adding a friendly and unique touch to the meal. When we tasted our food, we both agreed that our entrees were standout dishes — Caspar’s sirloin was cooked to a perfect medium rare, seared and crusted with salt and pepper. Caspar and I agreed that it was the best steak either of us had in a very long time. I can attest to its high quality, especially coming from somebody like myself who does not typically enjoy eating beef. The steak also came with crispy fingerling potatoes and a delicious buttery sauce.

My sea scallops were beautifully arranged around a bed of fresh basil pesto risotto. Garnished with brussels sprouts and fresh greens, the dish was unique yet cohesive and extremely delicious. The scallops were perfectly seared outside and silky inside. I could taste the fresh basil in the risotto along with the high quality olive oil, which truly made the risotto stand out to me. Additionally, the brussels sprouts added a great texture to the risotto and the garnish of sprouts was a beautiful touch. The balance of savory flavors and complementary textures all played well together to create the perfect entree.

For our dessert course, I chose the salted caramel sundae and Caspar got the espresso martini. When I say this was some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had, I am not exaggerating. The salted caramel flavor was intense, and the ice cream itself was creamy. The ice cream was topped with chocolate sauce that elevated your classic hot fudge — the chocolate sauce tasted like intense, high quality dark chocolate. Meanwhile, the roasted peanuts and caramel popcorn on top added a perfect crunch to the dish. Caspar enjoyed his espresso martini as well, commenting that the drink was strong but balanced very nicely with the bitter espresso.

After our meal, our waiter showed us one of the restaurant’s cigar boxes and explained some of Binghamton’s history of cigar factories. Caspar and I left extremely impressed with the food, and commented that it was one of the best dining experiences we had ever had.

Downtown by Chef Jay Pisculli is easily the highest quality food I’ve ever had in Binghamton. The restaurant staff is extremely friendly and attentive, and the space itself creates the perfect ambiance for date nights, dinner with parents or a fine night out. To enjoy a three-course meal for the record books, look no further than 20 Hawley St. in Downtown Binghamton.