By Nancy Walman
21 W. 52nd Street (Between 5th & 6th Avenues). (212) 582-7200. Website: http://www.21club.com Price Range: Bar Room. Pre-Fixe Dinner, Three courses – $40,. A La Carte: Appetizers: $14-$25. Entrees: $34-$49. (Specials and Shellfish More). 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 (1,300 selections over 125 wines are priced under $60. ) There are many Wines-By-The-Glass and a Fine Selection of Half Bottles at a remarkably low mark up over full bottles. _________________________________________________________
A True New York Legend, ’21’ is Better Than Ever
Once a glamorous speakeasy, today ’21’ is one of the most celebrated restaurants in New York City.
The Coveted Bar Room (Above))
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, 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 a warm greeting by ‘21’s Restaurant Manager, Michael Shef, and some of the most professional service and best food in town.
Executive Chef, John Greeley (Above)
While prices are not inexpensive (although no more than many less impressive restaurants around town), a $40 pre-fixe dinner ($30 pre-fixe lunch) is a bargain. An expanded wine list offers oodles of terrific selections for $60 and under. If you go a la carte, favored appetizers include a sparkling Chilled Seafood with shrimp, oysters, clams, crab and an assortment of excellent sauces (or go for a selection of divinely fresh oysters). Other choices include a chunky Ahi Tuna Tartare, marinated Japanese cucumbers, seaweed, taro root chips, Meyer lemon purée or a fantastic Seared Foie Gras on toasted brioche, with peppercress, rhubarb compote and strawberry-papaya sauce that may be the best I’ve ever tasted.
All entrees are excellent.and carefully executed. The chef has a way with seafood, so whether you select a classic Dover Sole*, grilled or sautéed to perfection, with perfect white and green asparagus and an elegant Champagne sauce, Potato-Crusted Chatham Cod with smoked bacon, corn, ramps, sautéed king oyster mushrooms in a brown butter-lemon sauce or the magnificent Sautéed Soft Shell Crabs, cooked parchment crisp and moist within, you will be delighted.
For meat lovers the 21’ Burger* on a toasted Parker house bun, with frisée, preserved tomatoes, sautéed onions, haricots verts and a choice of potato; Mixed Grill of Game, wild boar chop, Mangalitsa sausage, bacon-wrapped rabbit, braised Tuscan kale, white turnips, in a grain mustard and Cognac reduction or the renown Speakeasy” Steak Tartare* with mixed greens,Champagne vinaigrette and rye toast are all superb.
Desserts, by Pastry Chef Kimberly Bugler, are lush and improve with each visit. I loved the Chocolate Blackberry Vacherin with apricot coulis, a decadent Peaches & Cream Sundae with sour cream ice cream, sautéed peaches and lemon crispies, all Housemade Ice Creams, Apple Crumb Pie with walnut streusel topping and the best Cookies and Candy imaginable.
Any of the helpful sommeliers, (Philip W. Pratt has been aboard for years), can find you a glass of terrific Champagne or wine that will accommodate any budget.Two Champagnes we suggest, if available:1/2 bottle of the lively Laurent-Perrier “Brut” N.V. $42, or a surprisingly affordable Champagne Aubry Brut Rose Jouy-les-Reims Premier Cru: This grower-Champagne from brothers Pierre and Philippe Aubry is a clear peach color, with a frothy mousse that falls back fairly fast, leaving a persistent bubble stream. 60% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 15% Assemblage Pinot Meunier. A fabulous find! The rest of the encyclopedic list is a joy and other discoveries abound.
The reception at “21” by Mark "Shaker" Naini (another fixture), is warm and welcoming and “21” remains one of America’s great restaurants that truly RATES its reputation as well as an A Major on the Walman Report.
Pastry Chef Kimberly Bugler
Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved.