Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland
As COVID takes its time to move away from city life, all kinds of welcome signs of recovery are appearing around the city. Broadway is open again, of course, and the last time I walked down Restaurant Row on 46th Street, herds of wide-eyed tourists scrambled along the sidewalks like in the good old days. Lean-tos along the avenues are made of materials sturdier for the cold to come, and many come with four tops and decorative string lights. A few missing establishments are even coming back to life (hello, Gotham), and here and there the kind of theatrical, big-budget, high-concept restaurants that opened every week, like Broadway plays, during the boom years seem to be slowly making a comeback.
Britain’s long-awaited steakhouse franchise’s long-awaited New York outlet Hawksmoor is one of those places, and while your humble critic is also skeptical of the ridiculous expression british steakhouse Like any red-blooded New Yorker, I couldn’t help but feel a little relief as I took a seat in the great hall and waited for the show to begin. The large space at the bottom of Park Avenue South has been furnished with all of the familiar paraphernalia of the Beef Experience: wood-paneled walls, tastefully reinforced chairs, chalkboards scribbled with daily cuts of beef, which are sold here at the ‘ounce. The waiters don’t wear the standard steakhouse outfit (waist apron, button-down shirt, etc.), but on the evenings I passed, the tables were filled with the usual suspects: a few Englishmen who knew the brand with stout people from expense accounts. ogling their usual doorman order and admiring their recently decanted bottles of red wine.
Photo: DeSean McClinton-Holland
Luckily a big cat was in our party, so soon our carafe would be arriving too, preceded by some excellent martinis and a weirdly alluring and tangy creation called Sour Cherry Negroni. There were fresh Island Creek oysters in the former Massachusetts colony, laid with a lemon wedge on the usual bed of crushed ice. There was an elaborate crudo dish that you wouldn’t see on the menu at Pierre Luger Where Smith & Wollensky in a hundred years (steelhead flavored with ginger and chili oil, for the record) and a nifty steak tartare topped with a bright orange egg yolk that worked even better once I removed the pickled shiitakes from the mix . What is called a “baked beetroot” salad wasn’t bad either, to my surprise, and the grilled scallops (soft, in a garlic crust, finished with a few drops of white port) were again. best and brought to the table by the friendly, non-Luger waiters with proper ceremony, sizzling in their large, fan-sized shells.
At this point, the meat is a bit of a mixed bag, as you would expect. The promising-sounding “Old Spot” pork belly was moist rather than crisp and tasted only like real farm-raised pork. My portion of Champs Elysees Lamb T-bones looked (and tasted) like it had been microwaved in a spooky hotel kitchen instead of being grilled on the grill. a great chophouse from London. I was sad that I didn’t see more great British classics (Sunday roast, mixed grill, decent lamb chops with jars of mint sauce), but the grass-fed steak is charcoal grilled , which is certainly not the case at Keens Where Sparks. If you’ve got a taste for English rump steak you can get it here, with presentable, albeit absurdly expensive (did we mention it charges by the ounce?) Versions, versions of old favorites from New York like (in order of preference) rib eye, New York Strip and the porter, which often finishes at 8 p.m. and costs $ 4.50 an ounce.
Do we have other baffles? Even this New Yorker thought “Yorkies” were too crispy and could have been softer on the inside. The sides could have been bigger and better, especially for the New York crowd (the fries are a disaster, and the great “mash and gravy” comes in what appears to be a cast-iron cup of butter). There might be a few other sauce options, and they should be served in gravy boats instead of the little metal cream jars that look like they were made for polished tea. The London map is filled with abundant seafood options, and we hope that over time they migrate here as well, although halibut is one of the best seafood dishes I have had since the beginning of the end of the COVID era; so was the lobster, which was grilled, like scallops, to a perfect tender sweetness and drizzled with garlic butter.
In other words, like the best steak restaurants around this steak-obsessed town (Porter’s House, Rating, the grill), Hawksmoor New York is a real restaurant with skilled chefs in the kitchen and waiters who treat customers with respect. Pay five dollars for the “cultured sourdough and butter” and you get hot, fatty slices of bread with a pat of golden butter in the middle instead of the typical three-day bread basket. Order a dessert from the very talented pastry chef Carla Henriques, and you won’t get random weeklong pies or stale schlag clouds. You will get a Louis with chocolate peanut butter inspired by the famous dish of The Louis XV in Monte Carlo, a pretty meringue bomb filled with lemon ice cream and, of course, sticks of sticky caramel pudding in puddles of caramel with a melting scoop of “milk ice cream” on top – such a hot and heartwarming and a-steakhouse-like that on another visit, I must have been prevented from ordering it twice.