Consulting Chef Jason Hicks and Consulting Mixologist Orson Salicetti prepare gourmet comfort cuisine and Prohibition-era cocktails inside their brick-walled gastropub. Freshness is the top priority in the kitchen when sourcing ingredients for dishes such as truffled steak tartare, mussels, and the melty Oliver's mac 'n' cheese.
Cocktails, however, are the focus at Slightly Oliver: the self-described "apothecary-style bar" displays libations running through glass tubes and beakers. Nearby, expert mixologists alchemize hibiscus- and lavender-laced Flores dacquiris and goose the Sauzerac of the West with absinthe and brown sugar.
The warm woods and worn brick of Matts Grill welcomes guests to a menu of casual American fare arranged on colorfully painted china by executive chef Ray Camacho. An appetizer of buttermilk calamari begs for dipping in a duo of cilantro-tartar and sweet-chili sauces, and the grilled flatbread pizza melts three cheeses over a bed of bacon, mushrooms, and tomato. Nestled between French bread drizzled with basil aioli, a sirloin steak sandwich combines Continental and hearty American influences more elegantly than a steer dressed in a beret. A main course of imported penne mingles with fresh basil in a savory tomato sauce, and the roasted barbecue chicken beds down on southwestern fried rice. In a final dish of apple crisp, autumn flavors peek through light, crumbly pastry like a prize pumpkin hiding in a rose garden.
With a name that aptly describes its layout, The Long Room hosts scores of dining denizens intent on tucking into Irish-infused pub fare. The menu spans multiple genres, from burgers and sandwiches to flatbread pizza whose square shape stops it from rolling off the table. Stews, shepherd pies, and fried cod round out the menu with a Celtic lilt. Diners disperse themselves amid plush booths, high tables, and couches by a fireplace that complements a décor reminiscent of old libraries.
Crowds clink craft beers, nibble on upscale pub fare, and bustle around with plenty of elbowroom in The Three Monkeys’ two-level venue, complete with a heated second-floor outside deck and a rooftop lounge. The executive chef crafts food menus of satisfying and inventive meals from locally sourced and humanely raised ingredients for brunch, dinner, and late-night rendezvous. With plenty of plates meant for sharing, chicken wings and balsamic calamari set the stage before taste buds crowd up to artisan cheese and charcuterie plates. Heartier fare includes the Three Monkeys burger, boasting a mixture of chuck and brisket ground in-house and served on a brioche bun. Customers who didn’t get enough in the evening can return for brunch, healing bodies with rich dishes of poutine or almond french toast.
When sipping between bites during any time of day, the eatery’s draft list hosts dozens of choices and rotates more often than an insubordinate carousel. Among the choices, craft beers take center stage, from breweries all around the country such as Blue Point, Lagunitas, and Allagash. Depending on the available drafts, bartenders craft themed beer flights that pair groups of hoppy beers, New York beers, or Midwestern beers as well as other selections.
Desmond's executive chef David Hart, who honed his culinary craft while cooking for London's royal family, sates sophisticated palates with an elegant tasting menu of cross-continental cuisine procured from local, organic ingredients. The tasting experience for two takes place in Desmond's dining room, a former federal bank building replete with a stately bar, vaulted ceilings, white-linen tablecloths, and ghostly piles of legal tender. Meals commence with a champagne toast (a $9 value each) and starters of chilled corn soup (a $14 value) or shaved fennel, pear, and parmesan salad (a $13 value). For the main course, diners may choose between delicate fillets of signature dover sole, grilled lovingly with shrimp butter and embraced by charred lemon (a $52 value), or flavorful lamb drizzled with mint-and-chili jelly (a $33 value). Each guest tucks into a choice of six side dishes, such as decadent duvets of truffle mac ‘n’ cheese or silken sheets of sautéed baby spinach (a $9 value each). End meals on sprite notes with the summer lemon pudding (a $9 value each), swirled with hints of sugar to dissuade embarrassing mouth puckers.
The cooks at 1Republik plate a menu of upscale New American pub fare as bartenders decant more than 40 brews on tap. Starters such as the truffle oil-laced tater tots or the grilled prawns warm up out-of-practice dining teams, readying dormant tongues for entrees such as the seared sea salmon or the potato-flanked strip steak. Chicken pot pie layers root vegetables and chicken velouté into a flaky puff pastry, providing a savory alternative to standard Americana pies filled with apples or bits of the Patriot Act. Duos and foursomes are also entitled to a round of draft beers or house wines.
For $15, today’s Groupon gets you $35 worth of food and drink at Butterfield 8, the high-ceilinged, wood-paneled restaurant and bar located at 5 E. 38th St. in Midtown (between 5th and Madison). Get away from the bustling streets and enjoy the old-time feeling (special lighting techniques make the inside appear in sepia tone) at Butterfield 8 with a few city friends.