Pete Wells in today’s Times on restaurant 21:
‘Sadly, the future of “21” might be grim if it had to survive as a restaurant alone. To get the violence over quickly: a game platter, with venison, a boar chop, house-made bacon and rabbit sausage, was as cold as if it had been carried all the way from the hunting lodge. Caesar salad, exactly what you want to eat at “21,” was hopeless, the sliced romaine unevenly dressed and dumped on a plate with stale, dry croutons that might have come from a box. Creamed spinach was a rough paste of chopped greenery in a floury white sauce.’
‘I ate only four things at “21” that I’d go back for with any anticipation: the famous chicken hash, as creamy and agreeable as Jo Stafford’s voice; the “21” burger, blended with onions and thyme for a homey taste, like meatloaf without the bread; the coconut cake, topped with a beehive of white meringue and toasted coconut; and the olives in the martinis that are as cold as a walk along Park Avenue in January.
But to judge “21” as a restaurant is to miss the point of the place. Like Galatoire’s in New Orleans, “21” is at its best when you treat the food as a solid foundation for the liquid entertainment.’
(Read the complete article here.)
A few years ago I went to 21 with my fiancée Elayne. I was forced to wear a tie if I’m not mistaken but the liquid entertainment was splendid. It was a lavish evening.