New York City is returning to its olden days of glitz and glam, and one restaurant in particular is hopping on that trend: Monterey, which opens Thursday in Midtown.
From the team behind Dagon, and with the chef James Tracey (Isabelle’s Osteria, Gramercy Tavern) at the helm, Monterey is serving up classic American favorites in a space that harkens back to the Art Deco era. With the terrazzo tiling, blue banquettes and a speakeasy room up on the balcony, you’ll feel like you’re being transported right back to the glory days of Manhattan excess.
The menu aides in that journey, with a big focus on raw-bar seafood and prime steaks. If you’re pulling out all the stops, you might lean toward one of the two seafood towers, featuring oysters, shrimp, clams and mussels, plus tuna tartare and lobster or scallops with caviar and king crab. Other starters include pork trotter and sweetbread roulade with pearl onions and house smoked beef tartare, served with a pickled quail egg and potato chips.
Entrees, meanwhile, range from pasta to fish to steaks. A porcini lasagna comes slathered with black truffle fonduta, while lumache is bathed in goose and duck ragout. If you’re looking for something lighter, there’s steamed black bass with avocado, charred shallots, tomatillo and watercress, or pan-roasted salmon with baby turnips and turnip-green kimchi. The crème de la crème may be Monterey’s steaks, though, including a 40-day dry-aged porterhouse and a 30-day dry aged strip.
To really enhance the old-school vibes, there’s not one but three tableside carts for à la minute preparations and service. One each is for prime rib au jus and rhum baba flambéed right in front of your eyes. The other, and the most James Bond–worthy, is a Martini cart where you can build your own cocktail from a selection of base spirits, vermouths, syrups and bitters.
Of course, if you’d rather trust the bartender instead of your own instincts, the beverage director Aviram Turgeman has put together a beverage program focused on classic cocktails and wines. Besides Martinis, you might opt for the Highball Japonais (Suntory Toki Japanese whiskey, melon, yuzu, shiso and London Essence). Or you might choose a bottle from the wine list, which focuses on France and California in particular, with some highly coveted Burt Williams and Ed Selyem wines sourced from a private collector.
It’s indulgence at every level at Monterey.
Monterey will be open Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 pm.
Click here to see all the photos of Monterey.