I recently had lunch at 21 Club, located Midtown Manhattan. 21 Club is like a club without any membership, but with rules like men must wear a jacket to eat in the dining room. If you walked on 52nd street between 5th and 6th, you probably noticed it (it is at the number 21 of the street, hence the name), with its painted cast iron lawn jockey representing famous stables on the stairs and the balcony.
These jockeys, or at least 21 of them (there is now a total of 33), were given in 1930s as a sign of appreciation by famous patrons. The current location opened in 1929 and was a speakeasy. What caught my eyes on Wikipedia, when writing this post is the following sentence:
As soon as a raid began, a system of levers was used to tip the shelves of the bar, sweeping the liquor bottles through a chute and into the city's sewers. The bar also included a secret wine cellar, which was accessed through a hidden door in a brick wall which opened into the basement of the building next door (number 19).
There are different sections to the place: a dining room upstairs and downstairs, three areas: a bar, a lounge with a fireplace that is lit in the winter:
With some amazing original paintings from Frederic Remington!
And then the dining room, with its antique toys and sport memorabilia:
These are given by the regulars (yes, you can't just show up and give then a toy that they will hang on the ceiling! You have to come plenty of times!).
In terms of food, they serve traditional American cuisine. Interestingly, I could not find the menu on their website!
The crust is made of cornmeal and the cake is sitting on a sweet corn salad dressed with a horseradish butter and mustard oil.
I admit that I did not expect such a good crab cake! Look at all the meat that was not smothered with some breading and was not just the claw meat. Eating it with the corn salad added some freshness to the dish that is really to try if you go there!
Then, I tried the Ahi Tuna tartare:
It was served with edamame, cucumber, ginger, yuzu and a miso dressing. I do not know how they did it with all these ingredients, but it was totally bland! I was so disappointed!
If you want something more simple, you can go for one of their salads, that I did not try, but photographed...
Then came dessert, with a Boston cream pie!
It looked good, but was not that great...
The custard inside was too thick and lacking some taste. The only positive was that it was not too sweet...
They then brought some macaroons and chocolates:
I do not know if they make them on premises, but they were delicious!
So, besides the crab cakes, that are a must have, the food was not great. If you go to 21 Club, it is more for the decor than for the food, and make sure you bring your credit card as this is pricey...
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!