My friend Doug opted to take me to The Gramercy Tavern time I was in New York – we happened to be at a cocktail reception on the East Side without a reservation. I was famished so we were able to get wine by the glass and a stash of appetizers and nuts at the bar.
The restaurant, located on East 20th Street, is a classic American tavern, with a warm ambiance that is both fitting for late night drinks or a full blown meal, at the bar or at a more formal table in the back.
One of the things I love about going out with Doug is that he’s a serious foodie, takes his time meandering over wine, ensuring whatever we get is going to work perfectly with whatever we ordered, ‘wine’ rules in place or not. Usually not.
Designed by Bentel & Bentel, the fun and creative artwork that lines the upper walls is by Robert Kushner, the favorite part of my evening btw. (next to the fabulous Brunello we ordered), the fluke tartare and the duck liver mousse, served with pickled vegetables and grilled bread.
Think early American antiques, handcut bricks, fabulous artwork, perfect lighting and a great wine list, and as was expected we of course, closed the place down.
As for the menu, well….
Fabulous things on the menu include the roasted beet salad with radish, treviso and buttermilk dressing, baked long island clams, oysters iced or roasted, and entrees: cobia with mushrooms, bok choy and potato dumplings, Arctic Char with sweet potato, yellow eyed peas and lobster sauce, Butternut Squash Lasagne with Kale, Mushrooms and Pine nuts (a great vegetarian option), Crispy Duck Leg, grilled endive, lentils and chicory and my #1 choice: the Grilled Pork Chop, served with Apple, Barley and Swiss Chard.
Pictures of course, speak louder than words.
Fish options and lighter dishes are also a great option and they have an all inclusive menu for around $48 or $20 extra if you do wine pairings.
Top Photo Credit: RJ Mickelson/Veras for New York Magazine (my photos seem to have disappeared off my card sadly since I had some fabulous shots of the walls, roof and bar, not to mention about 8 dishes). Second photo from their site. Sausage photo credit: Renee Blodgett.
Check out our New York Food & Wine section for more great New York foodie treats and recommendations.