The Clocktower- Tick Tock Tick Tock

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  • scene: Rock n Roll clubhouse with high-level cuisine
  • sip: Specialty cocktails, wine, everything
  • savor: Uni risotto; dover sole
  • sit: With another couple or a group for a fun night out; with a date you want to impress with your coolness
  • spend: $$$
  • address: 5 Madison Avenue, Second Floor (between 23rd and 24th)
  • phone number: (212) 413-4300
  • website:

The time to go to The Clocktower is now. Come Fall this place will be awash with Fashion Week parties and probably be impossible to infiltrate; but until then, it is the ideal  place for your next night out.   All of the elements of a true hot spot are in play:a  location in The Edition, the buzzed about new hotel from Ian Schrager, arbiter of all things cool and hotelish; hyped and awarded chef from London; decor that is part private club and part rock and roll den of sin.  The dark washed woods and fireplaces are a contrast of attitude to the early 80’s rock photos on the wall; the deep tones ( like the purple felt on the pool table) also contrast nicely with the whites of the first floor hotel lobby.  The hostess/hosts were straight of central casting, gorgeous people who can carry off perfect  afros and slinky dresses before 8 pm.

Unbuttoning Pants
Fancy salad

The staff was nice if not entirely competent, but that can be simply because we went very close to the opening.  The dining room is made up of three different rooms, all with similar looks, and no discernible “Siberia”. The menu is a little tricky, but not impossible to navigate; also, the Clocktower is pricey.  The food is well composed and beautiful without being overly fussy.  I am really enjoying this trend of neat food and properly arranged dishes, an evolution from the comfort food trend of  food years ago.  Jason Atherton is a highly decorated chef, and his skills are apparent in the detail and subtlety of flavors in each dish.  My seemingly simple salad with english radishes (i love radishes),and  cucumbers was pretty to look at, and given some weight by a pistachio puree. The uni risotto was salty and creamy, and the risotto was cooked perfectly (see headliner photo.)

Unbuttoning Pants
My “sole” mate…Dover Sole
King Salmon
King Salmon

The men in our group went hard-core carnivore and got the 32 oz Cote du  boeuf, which was actually less scary than it sounded, and was accompanied by a yummy side of dauphinois potatoes, you know, in case they weren’t going to be full.  My dover sole was simple, clean and fresh, perfectly cooked, and I loved the additional crunch of breadcrumbs,  although I found it slightly salty (DZ did not agree, so maybe my palate was just off).  Her king salmon was also fun to look at, lots of vibrant color and seasonality jumping off the plate, and it tasted just as good.

"Time" for dessert...
“Time” for dessert…

Dessert was chocolate perfection, but  we were denied a birthday candle because the Clocktower “doesn’t do that,” which is weird because the rooms are filled with candles. There was some sort of explanation regarding food coming from downstairs and safety hazards, etc, whatever. When a place like the Clocktower is so hot, I guess they don’t need candles.  Go now, get dressed up, make a fun night of it, while you still can.


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