- scene: Old school New York City at its finest
- sip: This place just screams "martini" or whatever classic cocktail you desire; wine
- savor: Burger; potatoes; chocolate souffle; chicken hash
- sit: With people from out of town; clients you are entertaining; with your boyfriend or anyone you want to celebrate with
- spend: $$$$
- address: 21 West 52nd Street (between 5th and 6th)
- phone number: (212) 582-7200
- website: www.21club.com
Without doing it proper justice, the 21 Club is the sort of spot where you could picture Mr. Big sipping a martini and asking the bartender if he could light up a cigar. Mr. Big, after all, represented some sort of ideal NYC man- good looking, charming, successful and with a little bit of a past; on the same note, the 21 Club (or simply “21”) represents the same ideal qualities of the quintessential New York City place.
Located in the heart of midtown, 21 club has a “titans of industry” vibe that is perfectly balanced out by the whimsical elements that are truly unique to this establishment. To go to the 21 Club you feel like you are being let in on a secret that all true New Yorkers must know. Secrets, are actually a big part of the past of the 21 club- it has a storied begining as a speakeasy, evidence of which is still apparent in the legendary wine room. There is a story for just about everything you encounter, including the jockey’s out front and the toys hanging from the ceiling in the bar room. There are also certain tables that are associated with celebrities, we actually sat at Sinatra’ table…all of this information is on the website, so check that out…
The clubby, old school, elegant vibe is enforced by the dress code, which still mandates jackets for men. The servers are all older, and dressed up as well. There is not really a stuffy vibe, just more of a sense of tradition. The only exclusionary element of the 21 Club experience is the expensive tabs, so to sit and eat here and really enjoy yourself might be considered a special occasion outing. The food is American food, and pretty straight forward. Starters included a decent Caesar salad, tuna tartare and the deviled egg with lobster and caviar. Take note that it is really is just one egg, cut in half, but presented to seem like a little more. The flavor was good, especially with the salt from the caviar mixed in. The winner for the main courses was clearly the burger, a big important looking thing that comes with the most glorious fries. There is a smokiness from the homemade ketchup ( I am a condiment freak), and the burger truly has a unique taste. I topped mine with American cheese and some of the accompanying pickles. This is a burger to be reckoned with, and with the fries is a virtual bargain on the 21 menu. Also, not to be missed are the pommes souffles, science experience looking puffed but hollow potato crisps that are out of this world. Dinner naturally needs to end with a chocolate souffle, which wasn’t amazing but rich enough.
Rich, however, is not what you will be feeling when you get the bill, unless of course you are with your Mr. Big.