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Posts from the ‘american’ Category

Lure Fishbar: A Seafood Lover’s Heaven, But Boy What a Scene

Lure Fishbar is an anomaly of sorts. It has been impossibly trendy for years, with a never-ending stream of supremely fashionable young ladies, tanned and slick older men, and cougars draped in fur; and yet, despite the at times overwhelming scene, it still turns out top-notch cocktails, flavorful food, and beautifully-executed sushi, all with warm and competent service.

Designed by the eponymous Serge Becker, the basement-level Lure Fishbar is gorgeous. The theme is nautical, but not in the cutesy New England marina with a lobster shack vein; instead, Lure Fishbar is designed like a mega-yacht with sparkling portholes for windows, gleaming wooden walls with circular golden lights, white lacquer accents, polished boat-deck flooring, and just a hint of the requisite blue and white. Circular booths coated in white leather face inward, allowing diners to gaze upon the bustling and glittering dining room. Up a half-level from the dining room is the darker bar area, with navy-and-white striped upholstered booths and a long bar, inevitably packed with groups of over-dressed women in their mid-30s and banker types.

Fittingly, seafood is the specialty at Lure Fishbar. The menu offers almost every imaginable type of mainstream seafood, from oysters on ice to raw bar specialties like littleneck clams and caviar to a full sushi menu with high-end products to tartares, ceviches and carpaccio, clam chowder, grilled octopus, salmon, and whole daurade, and a lovely lobster role. It is indisputable that the kitchen at Lure Fishbar is very good at preparing seafood. The sushi is marvelous – subtly flavored, perfectly wrapped and made with the freshest product, it is worth every penny. For tuna lovers, the spicy big eye tuna roll is luscious. With six or seven varieties of oysters on the menu any given night, there is a type of anyone – briny, sweet, bitter. With any choice, the sweet taste of the ocean floods in, cool and refreshing. From the appetizers, the crab cakes are delicious – lightly breaded, stuffed with sweet crab meat, and not too bulky. Other options are the famous fried blue point oysters with a classic caper tarter sauce, a twist on bagels & lox with a crispy grilled flatbread topped with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion and dill, and beer-battered soft shell crab with creamy avocado.

From the entrees, stick with seafood – why eat meat when the seafood options are so good? The lobster roll is amazingly tasty with a hot buttery brioche roll, heaps of sweet tender lobster meat, lightly tossed in mayo, and served with a side of crispy salt and vinegar potato chips. Also wonderful is the Asian-inspired seared tuna, cooked to a beautiful medium rare, on a bed of soba noodles coated in a slightly spicy and rich peanut sauce. The menu has enticing diversity with everything from steamed snapper in red curry to juicy roasted scallops with chorizo and thick bucatini pasta to roasted shrimp with spicy short ribs, radish and mint. For the more adventurous eaters, an impressive grilled whole daurade comes plated with dill gnocchi and tomatoes. In the seafood entree section alone, there is something for every palate.

If you’re not prepared for the scene, Lure Fishbar can be immediately overwhelming. The music is loud, the chatter of tipsy fashionistas reverberates through the long space, the scent of men’s cologne wavers near the bar, and everyone is just so damn good-looking. But, if you know what you’re getting yourself into, Lure Fishbar is just plain fun. It’s a chic party where both the food and the drinks live up to the hype. And the best part? The table service is immensely friendly and efficient – not an ounce of pretension from anyone except the frazzled hostesses. All in all, Lure Fishbar is a great place to celebrate, to give visitors a taste of what’s it’s like to ‘go out on the town’ in New York City, and to enjoy the wonders of well-executed seafood.

Perfect For: stylish young things, seafood lovers, big blowout dinners, late night bar snacks, cocktails and oysters

Lure Fishbar on Urbanspoon

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The Fat Radish: A No Man’s Land Secret Garden

Despite it’s goofy name, The Fat Radish is magical. Tucked into a discrete space in the no man’s land between the Lower East Side and Chinatown, walking into The Fat Radish is like discovering a secret garden. Inspired by the original industrial Covent Garden market in London, the Fat Radish bills itself as a healthy and simple sort of place – with a veggie friendly menu, biodynamic and natural wines, and an emphasis on seasonal cooking. And yet, it is so much more than the “simple, airy and elegant room” it considers itself.

Before sitting down to dinner, first enjoy a cocktail at the tiny bar behind the hostess stand. Nina Simone and Nat King Cole croon softly in the background while a swarthy English bartender, clad in plaid, pleasantly whips up one of the fresh house cocktails; industrial Edison lights shed a golden glow on the stacks of artisan and mainstream liquors, causing the glass bottles to twinkle softly. Suddenly, waiting for your guest to arrive is a marvelous experience. When heading back into the main dining room, take in the illuminated sprays of fresh flowers nestled into archways carved into the distressed white brick, the large antique mirror in the back listing the day’s specials, the rough hewn wooden furniture, decorated simply with dishcloth napkins and a tealight candle. Unique design touches make the room pop – such as a retro scarlet “R” letter sign, illuminated like a Broadway marquee with small white light bulbs or the cool blue modern ceramic squares, arranged neatly into a rectangle on one wall.  The Fat Radish is a charming gastronomic sanctuary in a part of town better known for graffitied storefronts, massage parlors, and fresh produce stands; it is warm and welcoming and yet somehow effortlessly cool, frequented by an unpretentious yet fashionable crowd.

The food is seasonal American, focused on fresh flavors and simple preparations. At dinner, something as simple as a warm potato salad, an arrangement of roasted fingerling potatoes topped with a poached egg, is truly tasty when the rich yellow yolk covers the herbs and shards of potato; the celery root pot pie is vegetarian, yet rich and homey, reminiscent of Thanksgiving stuffing and the chicken pot pie we all know and love. Salads are well-dressed and just taste good, garnished with baby beets, crispy bacon, or a well-cooked egg. Entree dishes are traditional – Colorado lamb loin with miatake mushrooms, glistening with fat, green curried monkfish with wild rice, a heritage pork chop with tomato jam, and, of course, a thick bacon cheeseburger with perhaps the best side ever, duck fat fries. While dinner is wonderful, brunch is perhaps even better – warm banana bread, soaked with melted butter, is irresistible; rich thick slices of avocado 7-grain toast, with eggs in a spicy tomato broth, is unusual, innovative and ridiculously delicious; ‘eggs purgatory,’ swimming in a flavorful tomato sauce dusted with pecorino, is the ideal savory brunch dish; and the homemade cheddar biscuit, served with gravy and bacon, is just … sinful.

The Fat Radish is a marvelous find for people who just love food. The atmosphere is pleasingly low-key, just trendy enough to feel hip yet also approachable, warm, and immensely likeable. The service is friendly and unobtrusive, present and efficient yet not nagging. The food, by and large, really tastes delicious – it’s not fussy or over-thought; instead, it has the taste of being cooked from the soul, cooked with love. When the atmosphere, the service, and the food all work together so seamlessly, with such a unified front, it’s truly difficult not to love The Fat Radish.

Perfect For: trendy vegetarians, Lower East Side locals, fashionistas, laidback dates, boozy brunch, schmoozing with a friendly bartender, a cozy night out with good friends

The Fat Radish on Urbanspoon

Monument Lane: Where English Colonialism is Good

Maybe it was my personal elation from securing employment or maybe it was the wonderful crew of friends who showed up to help me celebrate or maybe it was just Monument Lane’s infectious warmth, but whatever it was, I freaking adore this place. Monument Lane, a West Village newcomer on the same stretch of Greenwich Avenue as Bennie’s Burritos, Tea & Sympathy, and Lyon, is a marvelous addition to a neighborhood seemingly saturated by cozy ‘neighborhood-y’ establishments. Sure, it’s not a brilliant new idea, a bastion of nouveau gourmet techniques, or a foodie’s fantasyland, but does that really matter when the Anglo-American comfort food is executed well, the cocktails are classic and strong, and the general mood seems to fluctuate between pleasantly satiated and truly convivial?

The new tenant in a long-vacated spot on Greenwich Avenue in the West Village, Monument Lane has settled itself nicely into a misshapen and quirky corner space. The result of much interior design work is an angular room with more than a few nooks and crannies. At the entrance is a bar, crowded with people waiting for the rest of their parties to arrive before sitting down to dinner; it’s a transient bar crowd, not the sort that sits around for the sheer pleasure of it. This is probably for the best, considering the bartender seems to suffer from forgetfulness and an inability to prepare a cocktail in under 5 minutes.  Several lucky diners get to reap an unsung benefit of a corner restaurant – plenty of window tables. Pressed up against the plate glass windows, these hot seats are ideal for watching the world go by, with a loved one, good friends, or perhaps just on your own. Further into the interior of the restaurant are tables for bigger groups – on a Saturday night, Monument Lane could accommodate at least two parties of eight and with those, the place is rollicking. Tucked mostly out of sight, away from the bar and away from the windows, is the best seat in the house – a wood-paneled booth surrounded by walls on three sides, over which towers a vintage Union Jack.

The kitchen delivers Anglo-American comfort food, dressed up to suit the palates of discerning New Yorkers. To begin, it’s hard to turn down the siren song of soft whole wheat pretzel bites and cheese dip, of fresh ricotta dusted with lemon, of hot and tart buttered radishes, and of a classic fisherman’s fried basket filled with greasy but not too greasy bits of fried clam bellies and fried fluke fingers. Each starter was lovely in it’s own right, but the string of them together had my group of eight friends remarking on what a great meal this was sure to be. Later in the meal, a stunning rendition of classic American meatloaf includes not just gravy, but bacon gravy – an unforgettable touch that transforms a pedestrian dish often overcooked, undercooked and slapped together into a sinfully rich carnivore’s delight. The lobster roll, while not the best in the city, tries hard to impress with a hot buttered ciabatta bun, not too much mayo, and a plentiful helping of sweet succulent lobster meat – although it’s not a Maine lobster roll, it’s still pretty difficult not to enjoy it. A New York strip steak is cooked tender and bloody pink, if you let the kitchen have it’s way, and paired with the sweet bite of cipollini onions. For vegetarians, the fried green tomatoes are a wonderfully light option – crispy and breaded on the outside yet cut open to expose the thick juicy bright green tomato slice within. Each of the entrees had that satisfying heartiness that makes comfort food so beloved and had my friends moaning in pleasure over their plates.

Yes, it’s true – I loved almost every bite of my Monument Lane meal and not because it was exquisite in the way that Gramercy Tavern or Gotham Bar & Grill or Eleven Madison Park are exquisite. Instead, I loved Monument Lane because it was so pleasantly plebian, so warm and so delicious. It was the food you want to eat when it’s cold outside, when you’re having a rough week, when you’re tired of oily delivery and, perhaps, the limitations of your own cooking. Sure, Monument Lane has it’s quirks – including a particularly surly waitress, the tortoise-slow bartender, a no-reservations for parties under 6 people policy, and an unwillingness to seat incomplete parties – yet, if you relax and enjoy what’s coming to you, the experience can be quite pleasant.

Perfect For: West Village natives, groups of 6 to 8 friends looking to celebrate, Anglophiles, comfort food fanatics, first dates, girls night out, a casual dinner with mom and dad

Monument Lane on Urbanspoon

Keens Chophouse: A Truly New York Original

I’ll readily admit that steakhouses generally don’t get me all-fired-up. Despite my love of red meat and creamed spinach, I find them over-the-top, stodgy, and generally uninspired. However, a recent dinner excursion to Keens Chophouse has me totally and completely enamored with the concept of the classic New York and only New York old-school steakhouse. Keens has been in business since 1885, and even longer if you count it’s prior affiliation with the Lambs Club, a theater and literary group. For those 125-ish years, it has remained in the pretty magical Herald Square location that it continues to occupy today. Sure, the surrounding neighborhood has transformed from a thriving theater and arts district into the grimy Fashion District a smidgeon too close to Penn Station no-mans-land, yet Keens Chophouse is a culinary beacon worth visiting.

The dining rooms, of which there are an astonishing number in the bi-level space, are dark, cozy, and charming. They have the creaky luxurious feel of beautifully-refurbished antiques and the palpable history of many many years of use. Despite the general buzz of large parties and the ability to walk on in without a reservation, the rooms  at Keens manage to exude the feeling of an exclusive private club. The ceilings are low and the walls paneled with rich dark wood; intricate brass lanterns hang from the ceiling, illuminating the rows of black-and-white photographs, framed yellowing documents, and gilt-framed oil paintings clustered together on every inch of wall space; banquettes of brilliant crimson and chocolate leather line the walls, pressed close against tables swathed with crisp white tablecloths. It’s all marvelous and intimate – no sign of cookie-cutter chain steakhouse decor here. Perhaps the most extraordinary design feature of Keens though, and what it is certainly famous for, are the rows upon rows of clay pipes that hang from the ceiling. In total, they number over 50,000 and are true relics (the story can be found here).

The food is what you would expect from a steakhouse – plenty of meat, plenty of seafood, and a few classic sides. It’s a USDA prime-only steakhouse, and the meat is just fantastic. Choice abounds – aged prime sirloin, king’s cut, t-bone, porterhouse cuts for two or three, short ribs, filet mignon, and, most wonderfully, chateaubriand. The chateaubriand, the most tender and flavorful cuts of tenderloin, serves two – and it’s a buttery, juicy, immensely rich marvel. Topped with the truffled creamy mushroom sauce, it’s a slice of heaven. The kitchen also offers its famous mutton chops, hulking and gargantuan, a slice of New York epicurean history, as well as pick-your-own lobsters, double lamb chops, buttermilk chicken, a classic preparation of the increasingly rare dover sole, and of course an array of traditional appetizers (crab cakes, oysters Rockefeller, iceberg lettuce with Stilton blue cheese dressing – which is just perfect – and shrimp cocktail). You know the drill – if you’ve ever been to a steakhouse, chain or not chain, the menu is familiar. At Keens though, the food tastes … homemade, authentic and loved; it doesn’t smack of assembly-line ‘production;’ there is real heartfelt cooking going on here.

Well, I’ll just come out and say it then: Keens is my favorite steakhouse in New York (of those that I’ve visited so far) and perhaps of all time. Dining at Keens is a pleasant, seamless, unique, and traditional experience – one worth trying at least once. The service is just perfect – present and attentive but not bothersome; and the combination of dim lighting, incredibly affordable wine, and truly wonderful food easily lulls you into a satiated state of happiness.

Perfect For: anniversary meals, showing your parents a slice of classic New York City, blowout client dinners, after-work scotches, a night out with the boys

Keens Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Bento Burger: Where Anime, Americana, and Frat Bar Meet

There’s no way around it – Bento Burger, a new Japanese-American ‘pub’ in the Southern East Village, is a weird place. Part American fratty dive bar and part Japanese-inspired pub, this ‘restaurant’ suffers from multiple personality disorder, is punishingly loud, and appeals to the post-fraternity youth that troll the Lower East Side and East Village. That being said, Bento Burger has a quirky party-hard vibe ideal for setting the mood on a big night out and some seriously great food.

The narrow space on 2nd Street off First Avenue is not easily missed; its presence is announced by neon graffiti and tall brightly-colored banners covered in Japanese characters and anime cartoons. It’s a slice of technicolor Tokyo on an otherwise dark and moody block. Inside, Bento Burger is a futuristic and industrial space, a bit grimy, and unfortunately affected by the frat bar smell of spilled beer. At the front, along one wall, is a scarlet-hued bar with crimson sheets hanging over the bar stools. Along the opposite wall are red leather booths, each with it’s own tray of sauces, chopsticks, and menus (a la Friendly’s, for those who remember) and each surrounded by ‘artful’ graffiti murals. A jukebox is parked in the back, manipulated more often than not by perhaps too-inebriated chicks who just cannot live without Katy Perry for one more minute.

Despite the more bar than restaurant atmosphere, the ‘Japanese roadhouse’ fare is delicious. The menu features classic American bar-fare, dressed up with some fancy ingredients and inspired by Japanese flavors. Think: chicken wings, fried calamari, spring rolls, and an array of scrumptious burgers. The ‘Hambuguu’ burger, a sumptuous blend of beef and sirloin, is rich and flavorful, especially when topped with the spicy wasabi aioli. The Thai Chicken burger is remarkable; the patty is actually ground chicken, not a piece of grilled marinated chicken breast, and is incredibly juicy; the spicy papaya relish piled on top is sweet, spicy, and savory all at once. Perhaps the best food delivered by the kitchen though came in the form of side dishes. The wasabi mashed potatoes are creamy and fluffy with a strong but not overpowering hot wasabi flavor; the sweet potato fries are some of the best I’ve ever had – cut thick, the perfect blend of crispy and soft, and doused in salt, pepper and what had to have been truffle oil. Less successful yet still tasty were the tempura onion rings. While they lacked in that crisp crunch I long for in fried food, the thick onions were soft and sweet and the accompanying wasabi aioli made up for the lack of flavor in the tempura batter.

All in all, Bento Burger is ideal for a raging good time (for example: a big group celebrating the end of final exams) – the food is delicious, just greasy enough, and packed with intense flavors, there is a pretty impressive cocktail selection, and after knocking a few back, I could imagine how difficult it would be to ignore the jukebox’s siren song. If you know what you’re getting yourself into, the low prices and good food ensure that you’ll get a great bang for your buck. Keep in mind though, no matter how you spin it, the slightly grimy/party-hard atmosphere and friendly yet frankly incompetent table service is terrible for intimate gatherings or, god forbid, dates.

Bento Burger on Urbanspoon

Beauty & Essex: A Clubby Party with Fine Dining Food

One word: obsessed. That’s pretty much how I feel about this place, where I can listen to my favorite Jay-Z and Big Punn hits from 2000, drink fancy cocktails, and nosh on a wide variety of excellent and creative dishes, all at the same time. Beauty & Essex, of Chris Santos’ fame, is not quite a nightclub, not quite a fine dining establishment. It’s managed to find the middle ground that actually works, without sacrificing fun on the one hand and quality of food on the other.

The entrance to Beauty & Essex is at the back of a vintage (read: pawn) shop. Enter through the front door, pass the glass display cases stuffed full with faux jewels, leather handbags, and miscellaneous trinkets, note the wall of vintage electric and acoustic guitars that are actually for sale, nod at the large bouncer/doorman manning a nondescript door at the back, and slip into the massive nightclub/restaurant hiding beyond. With two stories and multiple dining rooms, Beauty & Essex is ambitiously large. At the front, behind the small hostess table manned by three to four fashionable young women, is a curving grand staircase, at the center of which hangs an outrageous shimmering contemporary chandelier with glittering shards of crystal extending many feet down from the ceiling.

Up the staircase is the nightclub, separated into a bar room and a lounge. Both are, inevitably, packed most nights. The lounge is striking, with textured rust-colored walls and a truly remarkable chandelier that extends its silvery tendrils like a spider-web across the entire ceiling (see image below). Over-stuffed lounge chairs cluster around cocktail tables, though most people mingle standing up. Though thebar room has army green couches and set tables, it’s bound to devolve into standing room only – watch out for the fashionista furtively checking herself out in the wall of vintage mirrors.

courtesy of the Beauty & Essex official website

On the lower level, past the staircase, is another bar and two dining rooms. The dining rooms are dark, characterized by what seem to be impossibly high ceilings. Murky earth tones of grey, brown, black and burgundy dominate, with muted grey leather circular banquettes lining the walls and wooden tables with dark leather chairs running down the center of the room. Slinky chandeliers reminiscent of blooming flowers hang from slender cords and a massive curved ovular skylight hovers far above. The bar area is dominated by a cherry read Chesterfield couch packed with skinny girls in skinny heels chatting prettily.

Beauty & Essex is visually striking, and part of its allure is its inexplicable ‘cool factor.’ However, incredibly, this trend-setting hotspot also has ridiculously delicious food. The menu is extensive and made up of new American and often quite inspired small plates. The fried lobster tacos are a must-have: light and crispy in a not-too-heavy beer batter fry and served with jalapeno cream, these babys are luscious, juicy, addictive, and packed with fresh bold flavors. Also wonderful, despite the strange concept, are the grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings. Shaped like shumai, these gooey, crispy, savory bites are baked in a rich tomato sauce, and while they look and feel nothing like the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup combo, they taste magically taste almost exactly like it. On the lighter side, the kale & apple salad is crisp and refreshing – with nuggets of tangy goat cheese, sweet and crunchy candied pecans, and salty bits of pancetta, all dribbled over heaps upon heaps of dark green kale, the salad is simultaneously light and immensely flavorful.

The more substantial ‘entree-style’ dishes are almost uniformly wonderful. The spaghettini is zesty, rich, and bright with long tendrils of zucchini mixed with nutty grated parmesan, bitter and garlicky parsley pesto, the acidic bite of fresh lemon, and the golden yellow runny yolk of a sunny-side-up egg. All at once, it is decadent and yet, somehow, almost virtuous. The pan-toasted mezze rigatoni, on the other hand, is all evil – spicy and salty merguez sausage with deep and luscious brown butter, fresh mint, and airy ricotta salata are baked with the rigatoni to form a gooey, heavy, and soul-satisfying pasta dish. The burger is top-notch – an astonishingly thick and juicy beef patty cooked to a crimson medium-rare atop an airy and buttery bun. The kick of spicy garlic aioli, the crunch of crispy herbed shoestring fries, and the tang of crumbed feta cheese make this ‘Beauty & Essex Burger’ a thing of beauty.

If all this flavor isn’t enough for you, there are also excellent ‘Accessories’ or side dishes to sample alongside the small plates. The roasted corn is delightful – hard and aromatic sweet corn kernals transformed into something haute when tossed with cilantro, chipotle, lime juice, and soft cotija cheese. The broccolini is spitfire side dish masqueraded as a wholesome veggie dish – the wilted broccolini is sauteed with powerful bits of garlic, soy sauce, and chilis. Most luxurious though is the creamy mascarpone polenta – so smooth and lush that it almost seems whipped, this polenta dish is punched up a few notches with earthy parmesan, tarragon, and just a hint of chile.

Beauty & Essex is a New York anomaly – a hotspot so hot that reservations are close to unattainable and the fashionable swarm it’s bars nightly and yet also a serious restaurant in it’s own right. It’s as though Chris Santos finally heard my pleas for a restaurant where I can really enjoy my food, have a rockin’ good time, and feel like I’m ‘making a night of it.’ And besides, how can any product of my generation not thoroughly adore a restaurant that shamelessly plays track after track of late ’90s hip-hop hits?

Perfect For: ladies night out, bachelorette parties, finally wearing those leopard print stilettos, singles looking to mingle, dance party dinners, blow-out birthdays or really any reason to celebrate

Beauty & Essex on Urbanspoon

Veritas: Refined ‘Ingredient-Driven’ American Without Too Much Snob Factor

Before its recent renovation, Veritas was the aging haute restaurant/wine bar oft forgotten, popular with well-heeled regulars enamored with its intimate exclusivity. However, after getting a major facelift in 2010 by Crème, the design firm responsible for Tribeca’s Marc Forgione, Veritas has re-opened as a modern, warm and approachable fine dining establishment. With the renovation, not only the restaurant’s look and atmosphere have been majorly upgraded; Veritas has also enlisted Chef Sam Hazen, formerly of Tao, to reboot the menu. Don’t you worry though, despite all the changes that have been afoot at Veritas over the past year, owner and founder Paul Smith’s personal and astonishing Rhone-heavy wine collection that made Veritas famous hasn’t changed a bit.

Situated on a restaurant-packed block in Flatiron, across from Gramercy Tavern, Veritas is small. Divided into two rooms, the restaurant features a long wine bar upfront and an intimate dining room with about 20 tables in the back. The design is modern, elegant, and inspired by the very same wine collection that makes Veritas unique. The dining room is book-ended by floor-to-ceiling shelves displaying bottles from the diverse wine collection; polished wooden tables, missing the crisp white tablecloths of the ‘old’ Veritas, line the white painted exposed-brick walls; pendant lights softly illuminate the haute cave-like space.

The bar at the front, populated by oenophiles, is a subdued and sophisticated affair. A man dressed in a three-piece suit, reading his propped-up iPad and drinking a glass of pale white wine, sits in the corner, conversing quietly with the bartender; two fashionable women in their 30s split a bottle of red, tasting the offering like wine tasters do in movies. The suited bartender is polite, efficient, and knowledgeable, and the glass of cabernet ordered is served at the ideal, slightly chilled, temperature.

The contemporary American food served at Veritas is memorable. While each dish is arguably a work of art in terms of the noticeably excellent techniques used to construct it, each dish is also immensely flavorful and comforting. Somehow, Chef Hazen has managed to hit the sweet spot between food that is sufficiently ‘fancy’ to warrant the sky-high prices and food that actually tastes good, food you want to eat.

The starters are excellent. A foie gras special offered recently was astonishing: delicate slices of seared-to-sweetness foie gras over firm whiskey-braised peaches; the dish was high impact yet uncomplicated. The market crudo is a refreshing and a lovely counter to the rich meat-heavy dishes offered as entrees – a combination of thinly-sliced raw salmon belly and tuna atop citrus, radishes and English peas recently, it was playful and light. The unique ‘Beef in Transition’ appetizer is a fun option for carnivores. Featuring three different constructions of beef ranging from tartare to short rib in a pastry, it is rich and inventive; the steak tartare was the best – juicy, flavorful, and high quality, the sliver of peppered sirloin steak was delightful – prepared to a deep pink in the middle, and the short rib wrapped up in flaky pastry got mixed reviews – the meat was tasty but not tender enough and the pastry was just unnecessary.

The entrees ranged from truly marvelous to very good. On the one hand, the prosciutto-wrapped halibut with shallots and asparagus didn’t inspire much and was, in the words of my father, ‘just a halibut.’ On the other, the pan-roasted veal chop, served on the bone, was extraordinary; perfectly seasoned so that you could really taste the tender flavor of the meat, it was served with delicious pillows of rich short rib ravioli that far surpassed the mediocre short rib pastry from the appetizer. In the middle was the classically-prepared filet mignon, served as a bigger cut than expected but perfectly-executed at medium rare, surrounded by addictively sweet red-wine braised cippollini onions, and showered with briny flakes of Roquefort cheese.

Veritas should be considered a bit over-the-top, a relic of a spend-freely age when dropping $300 on a bottle of wine and $40 on a filet was commonplace. However, as a result of the modern renovation that has transformed this late ‘90s den of oenophile exclusivity into a more accessible contemporary establishment, Veritas manages to feel if not fresh than at least appropriately ‘with it.’ Yes, the prices surely cause many average New Yorkers to laugh bitterly and choose another restaurant; however, for those lucky enough to have ‘deep pockets’ or happy enough to have something to celebrate, Veritas is a very much under-the-radar option.

Perfect For: big spenders, oenophiles, breaking the bank, a classic New York fine dining experience

Veritas on Urbanspoon