The List: 21 Club for Restaurant Week

…As I sipped on my Martini, the perfume of decadence danced across the rich mahogany table and into my head, until finally my anticipation was relieved. However, the girl in the orange dress, perfectly matching the wonderfully seasoned salmon tartar, and the rush of dry gin refreshed by morsels of compressed watermelon and calamari were more than a decent man could handle. To avoid being spotted a bit flushed, I excused myself and strutted my way through the wealth and passion bountifully filling the tables of the bar room. But as I exited the washroom, it was not the splash of chilled water that re-invigorated the confidence I would surely need to close the deal. “There’s only one reason these men and women come to the 21 club”, the washroom attendant assured me, “They come here to see you!”….

onyc_240x300_barroom08(picture taken from 21 Club Website)

So as ridiculous as this excerpt from my upcoming trashy novel, “21 Ladies” seems, all of the details are consistent with our Restaurant Week meal at the 21 Club last night. I’ve never been all that fond of restaurant week to be honest. Although $35 is a good deal for three courses, I’ve never liked the idea of ordering from a special set menu that is almost always dumbed down and oversimplified. It just doesn’t seem all that special. But when it was suggested we go to the 21 Club I had a change of attitude. The 21 Club is a New York institution. One of the few that have maintained their jacket requirement for men, and one that has continued to flourish in the upscale New York City dining department. From the memorable scene in Wall Street to a brief mention as a meeting place for James Bond in Live or Let Die , the 21 Club is rich in tradition and certainly a bit of pretention. Considering this description is quite the opposite of what I preach, and certainly above the price range of what I consider worth while, the reservations for restaurant week seemed like a great way to dabble in a world I don’t consider my own. What an experience…

james_bond_martini

Dressed up in my jacket and tie, I was shocked how quickly the atmosphere sweeps over you. From the initial greeting with the host to the dark and almost mysterious lighting of the bar room, you can’t help but feel important. Now if you are anything like me, this feeling of importance quickly turns to a feeling of ridiculousness but either way, the ambiance is all its cracked up to be. In James Bond fashion, I decided to start with a Martini while we perused the menus. Rather than creating disappointment by reading the regular menu, I stuck to the Restaurant Week menu and was pleasantly surprised to see a number of options that seemed interesting. The three of us decided to stick to the variety rule and all ended up with great meals. But this is where my praise has to be adjusted.

Don’t get me wrong; the food was cooked perfectly. Seasoned well and served at perfect temperatures the food was exactly what you would expect from an institution. But well cooked boredom isn’t my idea of an exceptional meal. Pork chop and mashed potatoes, chicken breast with hominy, and fish with couscous. Now I won’t complain beyond this because ultimately this is the type of restaurant, 21 Club has always been; traditional food cooked perfectly, but come on! What about the wow factor? What about the bite that makes it pertinent to return? Maybe the atmosphere is what brings people back but after a while it has to get old. Right?

Well rather than judging a world that is simply not my preference, I will finish with more positives. The service is impeccable and truly memorable. And yes, the bathroom attendant did use that line from my story as I was leaving the stall. Although I’ll admit I heard him use it towards someone else. Shocking right? The desserts, just like the entrees were delicious (once again boring however) and for $35 a head, you really can’t complain. I don’t think I’ll go back but I’m certainly glad I gave it a shot. Plus where else would the motivation for my trashy novel have come from…

Restaurant Week = No Ratings (just not fair)

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2 Responses to The List: 21 Club for Restaurant Week

  1. smg says:

    Dear Mr. Gordon, I loved my 35 buck meal as much as I loved my 15 buck sidecar. I would go back for drinks in the front room for sure, it was so…boys club. Loved it!

  2. tk says:

    thats the funniest thing i have ever read

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