During New York's golden age, when big-band music filled the streets and Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie reigned supreme in regal zoot suits, Ellsworth Statler held court at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Known as much for its delicious food as it was for its swanky shows, the hotel became the standard of swingin' cool by which all others were measured. Today, the same spirit that propelled Ellsworth Statler to greatness inhabits his namesake: the Statler Grill. Using classic midcentury charm and more than four decades of experience in the restaurant business, the owners of Statler Grill reanimate the New York of decades past, time-warping diners as they sit at tables cloaked in white linens amid muted lighting. Artwork festoons the walls, adding warm hues and a jubilant air while frosted glass and earth-toned walls segment the dining room for more romantic dining and more covert fantasy baseball meetings. An adjoining bar serves up a similar sophistication, with a menu of light fare appropriate for an after-work snack, or after a game, being located across the street from Madison Square Garden.
For dinner, the kitchen lines classic new york prime sirloins and porterhouses with the marks of the char grill. Seafood arrives fresh daily to offer the best flavors of the deep blue, including Prince Edward Island mussels, Long Island clams, and fried calamari. The chefs' traditional and inventive American fare complements every meal of the day, from eggs benedict for brunch to filet mignon for supper and Maryland crab cakes for late night sleep eating. All of this fancy fare doesn't get in the way of friendly service, though; the restaurant's friendly waitstaff and knowledgable bartenders earned glowing praise from the foodies at Midtown Lunch.
Though the menu boasts the usual T-bone cuts, new york strip steaks, and lamb chops, Prime & Beyond is not your typical American steakhouse. The tangy smell of kimchi weaves through the dining space, and wagyu beef dishes take the form of hot dogs and sausages, completing the fusion of Asian and North American flavors that Korean-American brothers Kyu and Kevin Lee envisioned when they created the eatery. Known as “Q the butcher,” Kyu takes great pride in his meats, aging them carefully to bring out their full flavor; his wet-aged steaks sit for at least 20 days as 8-ounce filet mignon and 14-ounce ribeye cuts, and his dry-aged meats rest for a minimum of 50 days within the restaurant’s refrigeration unit atop a memory-foam mattress before being shaken awake and cooked.
Shula’s Steak House romances diners with opulent white linens, cherry-wood walls, and football-themed décor, replete with photos of famous athletes in gold-plated frames. The restaurant’s appetizers, salads, and sides feature 3- to 5-pound Maine lobsters, oysters, and vegetables, satisfying those eaters who stray from meatier fare. All steaks served by Shula’s must meet eight meticulously defined criteria—marbling, maturity, consistency, leanness, flavor, appearance, and tenderness—before advancing to the next round of a steak-selection reality show. Legendary NFL coach Don Shula’s name marks restaurants across the country, signifying the utmost dedication to quality beef.
Several years after Joe Moreno opened Broadway Joe Steakhouse in 1949, it was featured in the Jimmy Stewart movie The FBI Story. The first of many films and TV shows to be shot in the restaurant, it set off a chain reaction that would soon have actors and cultural luminaries not just filming scenes there but dining on its hearty Italian dishes and steaks. In the kitchen, cooks prepare many of the pillars of Italian cuisine—chicken parmigiana, veal marsala, and linguine with clams. Diners can sink teeth into salmon fillets or a wide selection of steaks, from cuts of rib eye, filet mignon, and sirloin to 50-ounce porterhouses for two that are so big they served as body doubles for Jimmy Stewart.
Just as the surrounding Theater District transports audiences to faraway places, Brazil Grill's dining room immerses guests in the rich culinary traditions of Brazil. Though it boasts a substantial selection of entrees, the eatery's specialty is radizio, a traditional Brazilian dining style where passadores, or meat servers, present diners with an endless rotation of skewered morsels. Patrons can nosh to their hearts' content on beef, pork, lamb, duck, and the other meats that continually appear tableside during the course of the night. To complement the authentic dishes, servers can also recommend options from the restaurant's selection of wines culled from Chile, Italy, and New Zealand. Most nights, guests eat as they absorb the sounds of live Brazilian music, the play-by-play of Brazilian League soccer matches, or napkins practicing their Portuguese accents.
Flower bouquets are a classic romantic gesture, but dates at forty2West might be equally wowed with the menu's Shellfish Bouquet, which comes filled with lobster, lump crab, oysters, and clams. This seafood medley is one of the offerings from the restaurant's raw bar, where local oysters and littleneck clams sit alongside salmon tartar. Forty2West is not just a seafood joint, though; its nuances run deep, past the raw bar and into the kitchen. This is Chef John Di Lemme's territory, and he supervises it with culinary knowledge passed down by his grandmother and mother. His house-made pastas reflect rustic Italian traditions: papardelle mixed with lamb ragu, or tagliolini with crab, sea urchin, and spring onion.
Not content to be just a raw bar and Italian hybrid, forty2West has a third specialty in steaks. The "Simply Grilled" portion of the menu lists cuts of filet mignon, a porterhouse prepped for two, and rib eyes with the bone in, rather than gifted as an after-dinner boomerang. With these dinner selections and a host of sides, the cuisine is indeed eclectic. Yet the meals all share an old-school sensibility, the same classic chic reflected in the wood-paneled, two-level dining room and the mosaic art pieces above the bar.