06 March 2008

Lever House Restaurant

390 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022

When it opened five years ago, Lever House was one of those immediate trendy places that was the favorite of both foodies and social trendies. Then it seemed to evolve to attracting expense account business types for lunch and too many want-to-bes in the evening.

Well now after the opening of many new places the social moths have moved on, and Lever House in the evening is now in fact a comfortable and enjoyable dining place.

Of course the design and decor of Lever House has been one of its calling cards. The entrance via a Star Trek like tunnel permits the guest to transition from the streets of Manhattan to something that is either the future, or what the future was to look like in the 1950's. The David Rockefeller design does grow on you as the wonderful wood interior and Jetson-like lighting actually works. Clearly the tables/booths along the left side and at the rear are the preferred seating. The endless row of two-tops along the right side is depressing and clearly discriminatory against diners arriving as twos.

The contemporary American menu presents the diner a small but interesting selection of choices which are far more appetizing than the descriptions. There are prix fix menus in addition to the ala cart menu.The execution of Executive Chef - Dan Silverman's kitchen is outstanding, and rivals the best in Manhattan.

The wine list while comprehensive is priced very high. And it was not only our experience but that of the adjoining table that our choice(s) for wine, some of the better value selections, were not available. Never a good sign when they are out of selections at any place and totally unacceptable at a top place. And when the sommelier tried to foist an overpriced mediocre wine on what he suspected was an uneducated diner, it was a clear sign that this side of the house is still desiring expense accounts types and not real food and wine lovers.

So if you love interesting and well prepared modern American cuisine in a unique environment go to Lever House. However, if you are a wine lover, go elsewhere.

Lever House - Recommended

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