Delmonico’s: old New York fine dining!

Close your eyes and imagine…

What would it be like to dine at a restaurant in New York City circa 1876? Naturally, it would be difficult to discover what all of the tastes, smells, and ambiance of this experience might have felt like, but a dinner at Delmonico’s in 2013 will transport you back to this era (no time machine necessary.) Several of their recipes were crafted in 1876 and the time tested magic manifests itself in their excellent food. I also could detect a certain vibe about the service and dining room which feels quite antique. If you would like to experience a bit of old New York, simply dine at Delmonico’s and you might even hear the floors creak here and there!

Delmonico’s
56 Beaver St. at William St.
4.5 stars out of 5 stars

Nineteenth century cuisine:

Many restaurants attempt to lure you with a variety of themes, (such as medieval, sports, and in New York City we have Hollywood and now even ninja themes). However, the charm of Delmonico’s is that their twist on dining comes from over 100 years of refining their classic dishes. Whether you desire lobster Newberg,

“Delmonico steak

(their version of a boneless ribeye steak), or baked Alaska, you will be impressed by the fantastic execution and presentation. (I admit it: while I normally say that taste is more important than visual aspects, apparently I just mentioned presentation!)

Restaurant week goodness:

Delmonico’s is classified as a

steakhouse

and while it offers much more than cuts of beef, the> price tag for a meal is steakhouse worthy. Therefore, I dined there during

restaurant week

during which a three-course meal is relatively discounted. As a side note: it is important to keep in mind that, when searching for a destination for restaurant week, you should look for the best value for your dollar (I.E. where does the cost of the three courses normally cost the most?) I am happy to report that the quality, quantity, and value of Delmonico’s makes it a definite go to for any restaurant week!

Most importantly: the food!

Based on the somewhat limited but enticing menu for restaurant week, I ordered a decadent meal. Of the three courses, my main concern consisted of the Acquerello risotto, which was the best of an appetizer list not design for those of us who are fussy eaters. Fortunately, this intricately prepared dish overwhelmed my taste buds in the best possible way with a mélange of sensational flavors: perfectly Al dente rice, smoky chunks of bacon, and tongue tingling morsels of black garlic. Keeping in mind that I am not even a risotto lover, this is high praise.

My entree was simply mind blowing. Delmonico’s nineteenth century creation of lobster Newberg, originally crafted in 1876, defines the essence of old New York fine dining. Picture a plethora of large pieces of lobster which have been cooked for over an hour in a delightful sauce of brandy, cream, and assorted diced vegetables. To clarify, the sauce which is produced does not taste of alcohol or particularly of cream. Instead, it is aromatic and dances on your tongue. Furthermore, I have never consumed a dish featuring lobster chunks with no shells in sight, thus this Newberg style was like a revelation. (I suppose the main point of this description is that I really enjoyed my entree, did I say that already?)

For dessert, I decided on yet another original Delmonico’s recipe:

baked Alaska!

While other restaurants will occasionally offer this treat, I had never tried it before this meal, and I am happy that my first taste was at the location where it was originally designed. If you have never heard of baked Alaska, it is composed of several complementary flavors and elements. For a sensory picture of Delmonico’s tower, imagine the smell and taste of a tower where the base is moist walnut cake iced with some apricot jam, the middle is banana gelado, and the whole thing is topped with meringue! As amazing as this sounds, next the dish is baked until the meringue becomes firm but the ice cream remains frozen. Baked Alaska absolutely makes for one big diet buster, but on this magical night I was blown away.

Final thoughts:

Delmonico’s is certainly blind food critic approved, but I would like to again warn you about their prices before you decide to dine here. Even during restaurant week, your meal can become rather expensive depending on which courses you choose because some dishes will cost five or ten dollars extra. However, for a special occasion, I wholehearted recommend Delmonico’s because the food, service, and old New York charm more than compensate for the price.

Until next time, please remember:

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

– Michael Jordan

Daniel

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