Skip to content

Posts from the ‘service superstar’ Category

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

Tamarind Tribeca: Ethereal Indian, Moved 30 Blocks Downtown

‘Fancy’ Indian food isn’t for everyone – sometimes, a take-out tub of chicken tikka masala and a thick round of naan to dip messily into everything is just the best way to eat Indian – however, the second location of Flatiron favorite Tamarind does everything in its power to convince its diners that eating Indian in a fine dining environment instead of on your couch is a marvelous idea. And Tamarind-Tribeca resoundingly succeeds in transforming what could be an overly formal interpretation of soulful Indian cuisine into something delicious, elegant, and pleasant.

courtesy of Evan Sung for the New York Times

The new location, on Tribeca’s Hudson Street ‘restaurant row’, is, in one word, colossal. The corner space has soaring ceilings and more than 10,000 square feet of space. The front is glassy and sparkling new; the seamless floor-level ‘retail’ space of an office building. From the outside, it oozes corporate gloss; if you didn’t know a restaurant lay within, it could be a bank. Inside, dining room upon dining room unfolds as you wander further back into the cavern. The design is modern, sleek, and clean – almost impersonal and definitely suited for the slick business clientele that crowds this place after work hours. However, for non-corporate diners, despite the gargantuan size, it’s remarkably easy to fold into one of the comfortable booths and to forget, at least momentarily, the numbers of tables being turned around you. Warm neutral tones envelop the space and a combination of contemporary chandeliers and recessed lighting bathe patrons in an elegant amber glow; surfaces are swathed in smooth teak wood, cool marble, and luxurious fabrics. All in all, dining at Tamarind Tribeca is a well-oiled machine, a peaceful, and pleasant experience.

The food at Tamarind Tribeca is wonderful. Is there anything better than rich, fragrant, and perfectly-executed Indian food? The curries are flavorful, aromatic, textural, and not in the least bit greasy. Particularly marvelous is a ‘fiery’ hot lamb vindaloo that delights, despite inevitably causing sweats and scalding the tongue, and a mellow ‘murgh badami’ or almond-based chicken dish with saffron and sweet golden raisins. The classic chicken tikka masala is one of the best – thick, with a not unsubstantial kick, and fragrant of fenugreek and Indian spices – perfect for sopping up with the ideally crispy and chewy pockets of naan.

Where Tamarind Tribeca really shines though are in the traditional Tandoor dishes. The chicken tikka is moist, tender, and packed with complex flavor; the ‘peshwari boti kabab,’ essentially tandoori marinated lamb is just ridiculously good – spicy, juicy, so tender that you don’t need a knife to cut it apart, and packed with aromatic ginger, chili and garlic – it’s perfect. Other highlights include the special Manchurian cauliflower appetizer in a crusty slick ginger coating, the zesty and texturally-playful Aloo Papri, with crunchy wheat crisps, earthy chickpeas, and zingy tamarind sauce, and the ‘kolambi pola,’ tender cooked shrimp coated in a thick lemongrass and coconut sauce.

In a time when restaurants seem to be getting smaller, noisier, and more casual, Tamarind Tribeca is a wonder – a busy, massive, sophisticated, and expensive temple worshipping classic regional Indian cuisine. It seems to intentionally eschew the trend of kitschy rusticity that’s taking over Manhattan neighborhood-by-neighborhood; instead, it fully embraces the grand moneyed elegance characteristic of the Tribeca area in which it has set up shop. The ideal restaurant to make a splash with clients or to treat out-of-towners to a distinctly New York fine dining experience, Tamarind Tribeca wows with flavorful and not prissy Indian food, gold star service, and a serene sophisticated atmosphere.

Perfect For: taking clients out, fat wallets, Indian food lovers, big groups, showing out-of-towners ‘New York’-y ethnic food, graduation get-togethers

Tamarind Tribeca on Urbanspoon

Apizz: Ending the Quest for Manhattan’s Perfect Date Spot

I’ve heard good things about Apizz on the Lower East Side, pretty much since I started paying attention to restaurants in New York. And, as I discovered this weekend, all the buzz is for good reason. The sister restaurant to ricotta-lovers’ favorite Peasant in Nolita and to nearby The Orchard, Apizz has a familiar look and feel to the others in its family, though, without question, it’s just plain betterthan its siblings.

Tucked away on a quiet block of Eldridge Street and thus removed from the drunken hipster disaster that is the Lower East Side after 9pm, Apizz is a charming find. Small and intimate, Apizz just about oozes an all-encompassing coziness. The mood is set by the seemingly signature low amber-orange glow of Apizz, Peasant, and The Orchard. It’s virtually impossible for someone to look unattractive in such universally flattering light (though, naturally, I can’t promise the world here…). The look is rustic, with a tiny open kitchen, pulsing from the heat of the pizza oven, a verifiable explosion of exposed brick everywhere, bottles of house wine perching on the hanging industrial ducts, simple wooden tables, and so forth. Chances are, if you live and ever eat out in New York, you’re familiar with this cozy and charming rusticity that’s all the rage right now. In the back is a miniature bar area, competently-manned and a pleasant place to enjoy one of the fairly delicious house cocktails or perhaps a quick bite to eat if you can’t get one of the coveted tables.

The food is straight-up Italian, without frills or anything nouveau, and it’s delicious. Think: a crispy and simple margherita pizza, classic antipasti with bresaola, mortadella, roasted peppers, and buffalo mozzarella, among other things, roasted and marinated mushrooms over plenta, a traditional polpo (octopus) salad, and perhaps, best of all, a marvelous dish of tender butterflied shrimp and chorizo in hot bubbling herb-infused olive oil. And those are just a few of the starters. The kitchen is known for their meatballs, and its tennis ball-sized variety is very good. A combination of veal, pork and beef, they are satisfyingly meaty and savory; a generous dollop of creamy, fluffy, decadent ricotta is worth the price of the dish itselfl and the ‘tomato gravy,’ a thick pomodoro-style sauce that tastes like its been brewing for a luxuriously long time, is just heavenly – the sort of thing you’d expect from an Italian grandmother’s kitchen in the homeland itself.
If you make your way to Apizz, you must sample one of the homemade pastas for their bold, homey, and nostalgic flavors. It’s virtually impossible to choose from housemade gnocchi in a tomato ragu with braised short ribs, lasagna made with wild boar and parmesan, a mushroom risotto with creamy mascarpone and fresh herbs. The fazzoletti, a hand-torn pasta variety, is remarkable and unique with lumps of fresh crab meat doused in an addictive creamy tomato-basil sauce that’s so good I wanted to lick my boyfriend’s plate while he was in the restroom. And of course, after you’ve stuffed your belly full of traditional Italian pastas and antipasti, it would be sacrilegious not to finish off the meal with one of Apizz’s classic New York Italian desserts: cheesecake, apple crumble, a dark chocolate torte, tartufo, and of course, spumoni. *NOTE: if you want to obsess over a dessert for about a week, treat yourself to the chocolate torta. You will not regret it, even if you need to unbutton your pants for the rest of the meal.*
If you can snag a reservation or weedle your way into the bar, Apizz is pretty much just plain awesome. It’s the perfect combination of hip dining, fantastic food, romance, and the comforts of a neighborhood spot; it’s hard to imagine going wrong at Apizz. And while there may be a few service snags here and there (the host when I stopped by was a little bit … difficult), it’s virtually impossible not to forget them when you’re being plied with such delicious food, affordable wine, and boozalicious cocktails. Yup, I’m pretty much obsessed.
Perfect For: any and all date nights, eats at the bar with a friend, romancing, Italian food connoisseurs, meatball mavens, LES locals

Apizz on Urbanspoon

Spasso: A Dime a Dozen and No Less Enjoyable

In Italian, Spasso means amusement, and the West Village newcomer from the team behind the now defunct Choptank seems to be meant just for that sort of thing: amusement. Replacing neighborhood favorite Alfama, Spasso is rustic and charming, bustling, buzzing, and cheerful. Set on the corner of Perry Street and Hudson, Spasso is almost impossibly scenic: fresh white paint, big bright windows, exposed brick, a long and crowded bar, glinting mirrors, an attractive staff…it’s quintessential West Village – the sort of place the locals will fawn over adoringly.

The inside is bright and shiny and new, though with the ubiquitous ‘lightly distressed’ look popular with trendy rusticity these days. The bar, which runs down almost the entirety of the restaurant, is marble and set for dinner. On a quiet night, its a lovely place to eat alone or with a friend; on a busy night, it’s mobbed and better for glasses of wine and socializing. In the rest of the awkwardly-shaped restaurant, the tables line the walls and windows with comfortable banquettes and modern funky orange chairs or are stuffed into odd corners and quirky nooks. Perhaps the prime table though is pushed up against the window up front, near the door. A four-top, it’s isolated from the hub-bub in the back and commotion at the bar.
The food at Spasso is both traditional and contemporary ‘artisanal’ Italian – the most remarkable thing about it is the quality of the ingredients, which you can taste in every bite. Cured meats and sausages, unusual cheeses, fresh-baked bread, luxury olive oils, fresh and seasonal vegetables, homemade and hand-rolled pastas – it’s a verifiable cornucopia of luxe products. The starters are presented more like small plates and divided into pesce, verdure, formaggi, and carne casalinga; the options are dizzying. I ask, how is one to choose between such things as coppa and scallion, lardo and smoked mozzarella, pools of homemade stracciatella served with crusty bread, delicate cuts of robiola and taleggio, slender cured sardines with pickled radicchio, tendrils of charred octopus with creamy yogurt and mint, eggplant arancini with fluffy whipped housemade ricotta, or a simple tricolore salad with a zesty lemon vinaigrette? And those represent only half of the options you have to pick from to start a meal…
The primi and secondi courses are fairly traditional and hearty interpretations of Italian cuisine. The pastas are wonderful – cooked perfectly, tender, savory, and heart-warming. The spaghetti al pomodoro is simple and satisfying – it’s a classic red ‘gravy’-soaked dish and great if you’re craving something uncomplicated. The maccheroni di busa is just plain addictive with a pork ragu that I want to sop up with bread and lick out of the bowl before they take it from me – additions of fennel and goat cheese don’t hurt either, adding depth to an already delicious dish. With such soul satisfying pastas, it’s hard to imagine why you would order anything else, but, if you must, the entrees at Spasso are pretty good also. In particular, the grilled lamb chops are cooked perfectly to a pinky-red and served with a fresh and bright tomato marmelleta and sweet pools of vincotto – the flavors are unusual yet combine beautifully for an overall earthy taste.

Spasso is an immensely enjoyable addition to a neighborhood known for its charming restaurants. It’s hard to imagine how an immediate area that’s home to The New French, Cafe Cluny, Paris Commune, The Place, L’Artusi, August, and The Spotted Pig, amongst many others, can support another casual and cozy eatery; and yet, early on a Wednesday night, Spasso was packed to the gills with fashionable types, emerging for a relaxed yet stylish meal from their nearby brownstones. While it is ‘just another West Village restaurant’, with a similar vibe, price point, and clientele to many of those listed above, it’s also a lovely Italian option in a neighborhood heavy on French and New American and a wonderful alternative for desserts and wine.

Perfect For: West Village locals, solo eating at the bar, bustling sunday brunch, double-dating, pasta fanatics, hearty family dinners out, early in the night eats
Spasso on Urbanspoon

David Burke Kitchen: Every Neighborhood Could Use a Little Burke-ian Whimsy

I haven’t been to a David Burke restaurant in a long time, and before last year, he seemed to have fallen off the ‘famous chef’ radar. Yet, with an appearance on Top Chef All-Stars recently and the opening of his new restaurant, David Burke Kitchen, it appears as though Burke has decided to re-enter the spotlight. And what a delight this is, for Burke’s whimsical and passionate approach to food, regardless of how successful his creations are, is truly a thrill for diners.

David Burke Kitchen is in the basement of the new James Hotel on Grand Street in Soho. Yes, it’s in the basement, of a hotel. To many, this would be a recipe for disaster. Hotel restaurants get a bad rep for uninspired cuisine and cookie-cutter atmospheres, yet David Burke is joining the ranks of famous chefs looking to change this image by opening their new culinary hotspots in hotels all over Manhattan (others: Michael White’s Ai Fiori in The Setai Fifth Avenue, Geoffrey Zakarian’s The Lambs Club in The Chatwal, Sam Talbot’s Imperial No. 9 in the Mondrian Soho, and April Bloomfield’s The Breslin in The Ace Hotel, and so forth). David Burke Kitchen is, well, nice. It’s certainly got a fabricated feel, with modern wooden furniture and a funky undulating wooden ceiling, all tried to be made up as ‘rustic’ with blue-and-white checkered napkins. Yet, all the same, despite a certain “been there, done that” decor, David Burke Kitchen is warm and welcoming, friendly to all, and, most importantly, comfortable.

David Burke’s quirky and whimsical interpretations of traditional American dishes are the real reason to visit David Burke Kitchen. And, in general, the kitchen executes Burke’s visions very well. A pork chop entree is hefty, enough to feed two, yet wonderfully complicated with a large bone-in chop cooked to the perfect temperature and marinated in something wasabi-like, tasty nuggets of tender braised cheek, and an addictive salty-sweet marmalade made from bacon and apple. It is completely in-your-face flavor. The appetizers are a treasure trove of inventive bites: ‘ants on a log’ are reinterpreted from a popular childhood snack to include sophisticated bits of bone marrow and snails soaked in garlic, crab cakes bound with pretzel and filled with green peppercorns and white beer, a succulent duo of juicy seared scallops perched on a tangled mess of ultra rich braised oxtail, all topped with a dainty quail’s egg. The menu virtually overflows with Burke’s imagination – nothing is left alone. Fries are not just fries, they’re ‘fancy fries’ cooked in smoked beef fat and topped with sliced jalapeno; a baked potato comes topped with classic English rarebit; jars of chicken liver with prunes and pistachios are offered for adventurous eaters as a tempting (and heart attack-inducing) bar snack. The options are endless and diverse, often thrilling, and always complicated.
For some, David Burke’s ebullient enthusiasm may be overwhelming or, even worse, tiresome. However, if you’re prepared for the sometimes unusual outpouring of creative flavor combinations, your meal at David Burke Kitchen can be exciting and adventurous, a break from ‘the norm.’ Burke sets customers at ease with a refreshingly friendly and competent staff; our waiter was exuberant and respectful, informative and clearly inspired by David Burke. All in all, though not perfect and with a few kitchen kinks to work out, David Burke Kitchen is a fun new addition to an otherwise barren corner in Soho.
Perfect For: fashionable foodies, first dates, adventurous eaters, non-hipster carnivores, giving visitors a thoroughly ‘New York’ dining experience, drinks and dessert

David Burke Kitchen on Urbanspoon

A Voce Columbus: Harmonious Italian

There are a handful of Michelin-starred restaurants in New York, so few when compared to the endless number of dining options in Manhattan itself. A Voce Columbus, the second installment to Missy Robbins’ A Voce story (the original sits pretty in Flatiron), is one of those few restaurants raised to glory by Michelin, and for good reason. Though strangely situated in the Time Warner Center, between the men’s floor of J. Crew and a Montmartre women’s clothing store, A Voce Columbus is simple and sophisticated, sports a beautiful view of Central Park, has service that runs like a well-oiled very expensive machine, and delivers truly flavorful Italian cuisine.

The Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle is doing what it can to make itself the neighborhood’s fine dining mecca. The third floor of what essentially amounts to a high-end mall is home to Landmarc, Bouchon Bakery, and A Voce; sky-high Asiate and the Stone Rose bar are set in the attached Mandarin Oriental hotel; the fourth floor houses epicurean powerhouses Per Se, Masa and Bar Masa, as well as Porter House New York. That’s a lot of very good eating for a shopping mall. A Voce Columbus itself is sleek and clean, decorated entirely in soothing taupes, creamy browns, and vibrant burnt oranges. The bar is set for eating at both lunch and dinner and is a surprisingly sexy spot for dining with someone special; it is intimate and luxurious, refined, a spot for rendez-vous and late meals. The main dining room is airy and bright, with buttery cream leather chairs, dominating plate glass windows looking over Columbus Circle and the leafy expanse of Central Park, elegant and simple table settings. The staff is everywhere and yet not at all intrusive, dressed smartly and impressively well-spoken.

Missy Robbins’ soulful Italian food is simultaneously uncomplicated and beautifully layered. Pasta dishes are built from the bottom up: textured and perfectly cooked noodles, high-quality and well-seasoned produce, top-notch olive oil, seasonal vegetables. The tagliatelle is a rich and deceptively complicated dish; pleasantly torn and ridged noodles, cooked al dente, are topped with tender white-meat chicken, bits of smooth chicken liver, generous shavings of black truffle, and thin shreds of Parmesan reggiano. The result? An incredibly decadent pasta dish that just tastes expensive. Oh yeah, did I mention that a sizable portion costs only $15? The squid ink orecchiette is both refreshing and luxurious, with just a hint of salty ocean brine and the clean buttery taste of fresh lobster; miniaturized Italian chickpeas and flakes of hard cheese add texture and earthiness.

Even something so simple as a brussel sprout side dish shines brightly with lemon juice, chili flakes, a bath of olive oil, and yet more Parmesan reggiano. The buds are giant, crunchy, savory and earthy, with a swift kick in the face of chili flakes (trust me, it’s actually a quite nice kick in the face). The antipasti options are traditional: buttery carne crudo, sardines spruced up with eggplant caponata, tender grilled calamari treated lovingly with a chili vinaigrette, roasted mushrooms. It’s pretty much impossible to go wrong if you’re a fan of all things Italian; Chef Robbins will win you over with her skilled seasoning, creative riffs and twists on classics, and beautifully selected products and produce. There is a deftness and a wisdom in how she builds dishes so they seem simple and yet are anything but.

In short, A Voce Columbus is excellent. The location is off-putting for some, especially those enamored with cutesy and cozy spots in the West Village (a class in which I normally squarely put myself), however its easy to forget the chain stores nearby when you’re staring at the tops of Central Parks trees, being waited on hand and foot by a friendly staff, and noshing on soul-satisfying haute Italian fare. Besides, most everyone needs an eat-your-heart-out consolation meal after blowing all that money at Williams-Sonoma, Hugo Boss, and Tourneau, right?

Perfect For: michelin star-stalker foodies, power lunches, dining solo at the bar, splurging without really splurging, taking your parents out, pre- or post-Lincoln Center entertainment eats

A Voce Columbus on Urbanspoon

Gramercy Tavern: Meyer Magic in a Harvest-Centric Glitzed-up Tavern

Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern is as close to a New York culinary destination as you can get. Since opening in 1994, the ritzy ‘tavern-inspired’ restaurant has launched the career of former head chef Tom Colicchio, garnered a coveted Michelin star, earned 3 stars from the New York Times, won “NYC’s Most Popular Restaurant” in the ’03, ’05, ’06, ’07 and ’10 Zagat Survey, and took home a plethora of James Beard Awards. You’d think such a reputation would flood one of Meyer’s crown jewels with irritating food tourists, A-through-D list celebrities, and, well, tourists in general. Refreshingly though, the crowd seemed so very New York with a cross-section of bankers wooing clients, well-dressed couples just off work, gaggles of desperate housewives in Louboutins, and the odd exceedingly normal family.

The Bentel & Bentel-designed space is deceptively large with a casual bar and tavern area near the door and the more formal ‘dining room’ split into several rooms at the back. The look is traditional Americana with white walls, exposed wooden beams, gilt-edged portraiture and landscapes hanging neatly spaced, and incredible seasonal flower arrangements. Early American antiques can be found tucked into corners and arranged on shelves; a warm golden glow permeates the rooms, flickering from copper sconces and candles.* The harvest-themed bouquets and displays are eye-candy for design freaks and lend a surprisingly authentic bucolic feel to the otherwise sleek spot. * everything can be found in the September issue of Pottery Barn.

While it’s not clear whether the food is actually the main event at Gramercy Tavern, Executive Chef Michael Anthony’s renditions of American cuisine are clean, fresh, and generally excellent. There are typically 3 menus to choose from, an $86 3-course prix-fixe, a $112 6-course ‘seasonal’ prix-fixe, and a $92 6-course ‘vegetable’ tasting menu. While obviously expensive, the 6-course ‘seasonal menu’ is the best value, offering a much more complete and satisfying meal than the $26 cheaper 3-course option. Anthony’s autumn menu features fluke, crab soup, smoked trout, fettucine, venison, and either a fig cake dessert or your choice from the normal dessert menu.

The fluke is unremarkable yet refreshing, a light start to a menu that progressed incrementally to bigger and bolder courses. Served as a tartare, the salty and generous helping of bright orange trout roe outshone the mix of chopped radish and fluke. Next, the crab soup was elegant and beautifully built with an addictive savory broth, large chunks of crab, and surprisingly tasty bits of turnip. Of the three seafood courses though, the smoked trout was best. Served pink and sliced thin above a truly memorable cippollini puree, the fish was smoked so thoroughly that it tasted almost like meat; the pickled onions on top added a distinctly Eastern European kick to the excellent dish. From the smoked trout, Chef Anthony’s offerings were more and more satisfying, with a homemade and delightfully chewy fettuccine bathed in braised rabbit, scrumptious Brussels sprouts, and parsnips followed by a tender medium-rare venison loin, simply served with a pear puree, a pepper caponata, and succulent bits of venison sausage. Not a fig girl myself, I passed on the fig cake tasting dessert in favor of the banana cake and my date opted for the cranberry-mango ‘sundae.’ The banana cake, layered with hazelnut cream and coated in a thick chocolate glaze, was arguably one of the best desserts I’ve had in awhile’ it was soft, nostalgic, beautifully presented, and served with a nutty salted caramel ice cream. The cranberry-mandarin orange sundae, topped with earl grey meringues and vanilla bourbon ice cream, was muddled, confused, and decidedly mediocre when compared to the banana cake.

Gramercy Tavern is an excellent restaurant, and yet another example of how well Danny Meyer knows how to bottle up and serve the ‘classic New York’ dining experience. Every element of Gramercy Tavern is smooth, operating like a well-oiled machine. The atmosphere is sophisticated without being stuffy; the food is elegant and accessible without being fussy; the service is top-notch, friendly and unpretentious. For those looking to spend a pretty penny on a safe and comfortable yet truly special dining experience, Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern is your spot.

Perfect For: family gatherings, that classic New York dining experience, client dinners, special occasions, graduation dinners, taking the parents out, after-work drinks, fancy foodies

Gramercy Tavern on Urbanspoon