’21’Club

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21 W. 52nd Street (Between 5th & 6th Avenues). (212) 582-7200.
Website: http://www.21club.com/web/onyc/onyc_a2a_home.jsp
Price Range: Bar Room. Pre-Theatre Dinner, Three courses – $40. (Monday through Saturday – Seatings up to 6:30 pm). A La Carte: Appetizers: $12-$25. Entrees: $30-$47. Tasting Menu: $85. (Wines included – $140) (Monday through Saturday). Secret Wine Cellar for private dining parties only from 14 to 22 guests.
Open For Lunch, Mon.-Fri. Dinner: Mon.-Sat. Closed Sunday.
’21’ Features One of the World’s Finest Selection of Wines (An over 70 Page list and some 50,000 Bottles.) There are many Wines-By-The-Glass (including 4 Champagnes) and a Fine Selection of Half Bottles.

The Bar Room

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Award-winning website, Punchin-dot-com, features the Walman Report and reviews of restaurants, travel, wine and theater. Once a glamorous speakeasy, today ’21’ is one of the most celebrated restaurants in New York City. In addition to its fabled Bar Room, this four-story townhouse features ten private dining rooms, including the legendary Prohibition-era Wine Cellar (which can be reserved for private parties). The world’s most glamorous saloon, is better than ever since Orient Express Hotels took it over and restored it to its past glory.

The clientele is a mix of celebrities, tycoons, mature-regulars and an attractive new young set. The aforementioned “Bar Room,” with its red-checkered-cloth-to-cloth tables, and whimsical toys on the ceiling is blessed with some of the most professional service and best food in town. (Tip: Try to snag table number “4” where Donald Trump is a regular to get a bird’s eye view of the action.)

21-chefChef, John Greeley

While prices are not inexpensive, a $40 pre-theater dinner is a bargain. Favored appetizers from Chef, John Greeley’s extensive menu include jumbo lump crabmeat with avocado and lime and crispy sautéed sweetbreads with roasted corn in an elegant truffle vinaigrette. While you won’t fine a fresher or better-prepared Dover sole in town, don’t carp at paying $30 for the world’s best burger and Pommes Frites that rival the best in Paris. Kimberly Bugler’s desserts are as lush as a decadent chocolate marquise, or as subtle as a Meyers lemon bar or superb cookies. And the helpful and knowledgeable21-somillier(Philip W. Pratt) sommelier can find you a glass of Champagne for a mere $12 from the awesome wine list.

“21” at 21 West 52nd Street one of America’s great restaurants and rates A Major on the Walman Report

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The incomparable Bar Room, with its ceiling of suspended toy airplanes, trucks, basketballs and the like is the ultimate club. Framed by walls filled with cartoons created by artists such as Peter Arno and Whitney Darrow, Jr., the first “toy” to don the ceiling of ’21’s famed Bar Room in the early 30s was a model of British Airways “Flying Boat”. Not to be outdone, Howard Hughes promptly donated one of his new TWA planes. Soon, the ceiling was awash with model planes from other airlines: American, Eastern, PanAm, United and South African. There are red leather banquettes, a huge wood bar, wood floors, bar chairs and walls covered in mahogany. A charming clubby waiting area, where cocktails can be enjoyed precedes this. (Request a table manned by the ever-charming Michael.)

According to ’21’ Manager Roger Rice, Chef John Greeley completed an education in art and design. He then returned to New York City and began working at the ’21’ Club, and was quickly promoted to sous-chef. In 2002, he became opening sous-chef of the Upstairs at ’21’, and is currently chef. Mr. Greeley’s style is direct and straightforward, blending elements from American, French and Italian cuisines, while avoiding the overworked fusion confusion.

Orient Express is a collage of words that transcends the au currant buzz “branding.” It is a name synonymous with quality and “21” is a jewel in its crown.

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