Restaurant Review: A Hotel Restaurant With Neighborhood-Hangout Appeal


A winningly over-the-top recent special was a custard-soaked pain perdu under bacon jus, pickled cabbage and speck, like some kind of demented Reuben-croque monsieur hybrid. Liver and onions turned out to be a less thrilling snack: pickled onions with deep-fried and overcooked chicken livers.

Until it swam off the menu, there was an intriguing sideways version of squid ink risotto that had beech mushrooms and very tender squid confit over a black porridge of barley. Now there are spring peas, swirled with mint into a sauce for just-firm shrimp; the combination suggested pasta, but I was glad to have it without any starch getting in the way of the clear, sweet flavors.

If it’s pasta you want, Mr. Griffin has a glossy, chile-speckled bowl of spaghetti acqua pazza with littleneck clams and cherry tomatoes, and while the sauce is thicker and glossier than a normal acqua pazza, it is very good. What he calls a pork-collar Milanese is maybe a few millimeters too thick for the name, but I’ll take it. The cut is more flavorful than a normal cutlet, and the apricot mostarda makes a pungent and welcome counterpoint.

If you can’t finish the whole thing, it will be taken away and replaced by a plastic action figure of a New York sports hero. This is your claim check. Mine was Don Mattingly, and I wondered if maybe the applause was for him.

No, Mr. Stulman said on the phone a few days later. The woman he bought Fedora from, who has since died, was 89 when she sold it and was still showing up each night. When she entered, people clapped. “We turned that into clapping for our friends,” he said.

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