After going crazy for my 30th birthday and then getting engaged, I had no plans to celebrate my 31st…but then a gorgeous bouquet arrived at my office yesterday, instructing me to be at Hunt and Fish Club at 7 PM sharp for a birthday dinner. I walked into the bar area a little early and grabbed myself a glass of rosé while I waited for my date to arrive. While sipping on my wine, I took in the scene. Yes, it’s a Midtown restaurant, but once inside, you trade the neon lights of Times Square for some serious glam. The mirrors are all etched to be reminiscent of their crystal bar glasses, the room is lit by a modern chandelier spanning the whole ceiling, and every inch of floor is white marble.
Glam atmosphere comes with glam food. As the name implies, this restaurant focuses on meat and seafood. I was intrigued by the french onion soup, but after overhearing the girl at the table next to me tell her friends it was good but not the best she’s had, I decided to get something else. Makes sense: french onion soup is neither meat nor fish. Always stick with what the restaurant claims to do best. Albert and I started by sharing two appetizers that seemed a bit more in the restaurant’s wheelhouse. We got the burrata because I love love love burrata. This was a great rendition with cucumbers and pickled onions that really enhanced the flavor. We also ordered the slab bacon with beer cheese sauce. I was concerned about the beer cheese sauce – it didn’t really seem to go with the rest of the food the restaurant was serving – but it was delicious. The bacon was also nice and crispy with the perfect amount of fat.
For his entrée, Albert ordered the swordfish, which was prepared with some light Mediterranean flavors (artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, caperberries) and had a little hint of sweet brushed on the fish itself (aged balsamic, maybe?). It was wonderful and probably the thickest cut of swordfish I’ve ever seen. It looked like a filet mignon. I did as I often do and ordered two appetizers for my main course. I got the wedge salad, which was perfect, though I was a little disappointed it had been de-wedged. Part of the fun of a wedge salad is the presentation. That said, by chopping it up, every inch got the right amount of dressing and it was easier to eat. I also ordered the crab linguine. The pasta itself was fresh-made and had just the right amount of sauce. I would have preferred a bit more crab but not really complaining.
Our waiter made a few missteps, like forgetting some of the items we ordered, but he was quick to recover so we couldn’t fault him for it. Also, he made some great food recommendations – he helped us choose the right salads and apps based on specifics (“the caesar is very fishy”) rather than simply steering us in the direction of the pricier option. He also couldn’t let us leave without some sort of birthday treat and brought out warm cookies with a candle, even though we had declined dessert. Since it was a Tuesday night (not the busiest of the week), the sommelier was eager to come to our table and tell us about one of the wines, even though it was the cheapest glass on the menu. Overall, pros of service outweighed the cons.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a pricey restaurant. The cheapest seafood entree is $36 and the meats are in the $50-$60 price range. You won’t believe that you’re paying $17 for a wedge salad, which is pretty much iceberg lettuce. But for a special occasion, it’s a great meal in what Albert described as a Sinatra-esque vibe (though I would say it’s more like a modern version of the movie Wall Street). Also, don’t be afraid to do lots of appetizers and sides, like we did for most of our meal. We were able to taste the best, more unique items on the menu, and it was far less expensive than the meat entrées (the cheapest steak is $47). And ladies: if you want to hook a finance guy without going down to Meatpacking, this may be just the place for you.