Swizz: More Zzzz Than Za Za Zu
Swiss cuisine is not well-known or easily definable for that matter; however, leave it to Hell’s Kitchen to produce an ‘authentically’ Swiss-devoted restaurant. An ethnic food hotbed with verifiable culinary representation from most every cuisine, Hell’s Kitchen is home to one of the few Swiss restaurants in Manhattan, Swizz.
For cheese-lovers and chocolate fiends, Swizz will not disappoint. True to the Swiss spirit of things, most of the menu revolves around cheese or chocolate in some capacity. The focus and the speciality of the humble eatery is fondue. Cheese options dominate with traditional cheese fondue, a Provencal variety with herbs, and various Cheddar combinations. The fondues can feed as many as you like and come standard with cubed bread (meat, potatoes and vegetables for dipping come at an extra charge). Swizz also offers an all-you-can-eat Raclette, pouring endless plates of scraped cheese with boiled potatoes and toast. For dessert, chocolate fondues abound (a Toblerone version? Holy cow, talk about a guilty pleasure…)
While the food will certainly satisfy guilty cravings, the scene itself is a bit somber, with many speaking in hushed voices, soft and barely audible music, and an eerily quiet main dining room. The waiters themselves speak so quietly that you have to crane your neck to catch the menu explanation. The narrow railroad space is a bit chilly, yet chic in its own way with sparse decorations, exposed brick walls, an open kitchen, and simple wooden tables. The fondue pots are necessary to warm things up.
Swizz is a distinctly Swiss sort of place – rich and heavy food with cheap wine and a quiet reserved environment. Yet, the open dining room is a prime spot for dates where you actually want to hear your invitee speak (not to mention, the interactive fondue heats things up a little romance-wise) or a girls night out with a bottle of red.