The 21 Club

By grace.g.yang · July 22, 2007
Under: Celebrity Sightings,Desserts,Dinner,Midtown East,Prix-fixe

For New York’s Restaurant Week (July 16 – August 10), I headed to the 21 Club with three girlfriends to enjoy the lively atmosphere and a great meal (well, keep reading). The 21 club was once a speakeasy (which I think is pretty awesome) and now is known for their great food, award winning wine list and interesting decor:

If you look at the table in the picture, you’ll see a small picture of Steve Forbes, who dined at the table next to us. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have some of the most well-known people in New York have permanent tables at the restaurant (Donald Trump, Barbara Walters, Les Moonves, Brian Williams, George Clooney, the list goes on and on). Interestingly enough, *almost* every president since FDR has gone to the 21 club – the only exception? – George W. Bush. So, enough with the history of the club, onto the food!

The prix fix menu isn’t too bad, you can view it here. I started with the Grilled Spicy Shrimp (with apple and potato salad, micro celery, and lemon aioli):

Joyce, Charlene, Leena, and me at the table with our appetizers:

Leena ordered the Smoked Trout with fennel and cucumber salad, crème fraîche, and trout caviar dressing:

Appetizer wise, the shrimp was definitely better. It wasn’t too chewy (always a good thing) and there was a nice grilled flavor. Also, the potato salad was dressed well (not too much mayo). On the other hand, I wasn’t a fan of Leena’s smoked trout – it was way too salty, tough, and the smoky flavor was just lacking. So, if you go to the 21 club for restaurant week, don’t start with the trout :).

For our main courses, we had four options (but no one wanted chicken or fish). Leena and I both ordered the Grilled Flat Iron Steak with broccoli rabe, roasted cipollini onions, potato purée, Cabernet sauce:

The steak was cooked to a nice medium rare, but it didn’t have a fresh taste to it. I looked over at Leena and asked what she thought of it…she nicely said it was “okay,” but that’s just because Leena is too nice to say something mean. I didn’t think the steak was juicy, the cabernet sauce didn’t pair well with the steak taste, and the only two things good about the dish were the broccoli and the “potato puree,” which is a fancy way of saying MASHED POTATOES.

Joyce and Charlene both ordered the Duck Leg Confit frisée salad, wild mushrooms, toasted peanut vinaigrette:

I wish I could say something better about their dish, but it wasn’t good AT ALL. The duck was dry, there wasn’t any taste to it, and the duck SKIN wasn’t even tasty. I mean, how could something so good be ruined like that?! I was NOT a fan of the main courses at all. I’m not a fan of restaurant week in general – I mean, all of the good restaurants only offer their prix fix meal for lunch (and who has time to have a long lunch in Manhattan during the weekdays) and the restaurants that offer a prix fix dinner usually don’t offer great options. I prefer to just spend money and get a good meal out of the place, you know?

For dessert, there were four choices and all of us decided to get something different so we could switch it up:

Joyce ordered the Chocolate Marquise with chocolate shortbread and fresh raspberries:

It was rich, creamy, and delicious. No complaints from anyone at the table 🙂

Charlene ordered the Lemon Pucker Cake with summer berries and lemon cream sauce:

Out of all four of the options, this was my least favorite. The cake was sticky but not moist (possible, right?). It wasn’t BAD, just not memorable.

Leena ordered the Blueberry Tart with Passion Fruit Cream and mango coulis:

My favorite dessert of the night. Look at how many blueberries they piled onto that tart! The mango/passion fruit combination was also tart and sweet.

I ordered the Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée with orange-pecan biscotti:

Good, but not great. There was still sugar that wasn’t burnt on top (who wants to know how much sugar they’re actually consuming?!) and the actual crème brûlée wasn’t solid enough for me to fully enjoy the dessert. Shocking, I know.

Overall, the meal wasn’t memorable but the service was great and we had a great time people watching. I would like to go back to the 21 club after restaurant week and try their actual dishes because I don’t think their options did the restaurant justice. Afterwards, we took some pictures outside (since the restaurant is also known for the jockeys outside the townhouse):

IMG_1472 (Small)

If you’re going to partake in Restaurant Week, I definitely recommend going to lunch…or just save your money and splurge at the restaurant ordering off the regular menu!

21 Club on Urbanspoon

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