Hours: Lunch, dinner: Monday-Saturday
Open late: Monday-Saturday till 11
Hemingway-inspired "Continental tavern" featuring bar snacks and small plates. The two bars stay open till 2.
It's ironic that the waits are so long in this lavish if irreverent double-decker design--the dining areas are filled with high-tops and wide communal tables, seemingly designed to encourage quick turnover. And the shared plates, from chef Bob Zrenner (ex 33 Club, Branch 27, Graze), are almost afterthoughts to the bar's sweet daiquiri, citrusy Southside, and absinthe-laced Death in the Afternoon. But Zrenner's menu has very little you wouldn't have seen on dozens of others around town over the last five years, including deviled eggs, roasted marrow bones, goat cheese-beet salad, bacon-wrapped dates, oysters, charcuterie, and frites with aioli. For dessert: that greatest hit of the 90s, flourless chocolate cake. Among the "bar snacks," french fries—a sure sign of a kitchen's consistency and commitment to fundamentals—may arrive thin, overfried, and dry, or soft and pale. The underbaked crusts on the thin "flatbreads" (just say pizza, for Papa's sake) recall specimens native to public-school cafeterias everywhere. Even a compelling-sounding chorizo brandade turned out to be a vaguely meaty and unattractive potted blend of potato and sausage (we had to ask what it was). And then the "small plates," not much differently sized than the snacks: an almost willfully unseasoned steak tartare, spongy panfried sweetbreads with all the texture of scrambled eggs, a one-note spicy crock of Moroccan vegetables that comes with an accompanying crostini bearing a plank of sheep's-milk feta. Geometrically perfect squares of braised short rib with radish salad are topped with small, cold, congealed bits of bone marrow showing overreaching out of step with the simple pair of grilled chicken thighs that was perhaps the best thing we tried. A section of sandwiches, including a perfectly basic, unmemorable burger, is just more fodder to keep the drinkers' stomachs absorbent. Read the full review >>
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