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Thursday, December 16, 2010


21 W 52nd St (btwn 5th/6th Aves)
212 582-7200

Perhaps we’re not quite 21 anymore, but ‘21’ remains ageless. At least one of the good things about growing older is being able to duck out of the office from time to time for an illicit lunch and perhaps knock back a few dry Martinis. The storied ‘21’ Club is the perfect place to do just that—and there are colorful jockey statues to greet you at the door! ‘21’ is expensive to be sure and although the $30 burger off the menu might be considered a little excessive at lunch time (or any time for that matter), $30 also gets you a three-course prix fixe that is hard to beat.

Remember in All About Eve when Margo and Karen planned to meet at ‘21’ for lunch—with hats on? Too gorgeous. How about when Grace Kelly ordered a lobster dinner from the joint for the house-bound Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window and the elegant waiters brought it right into the apartment, table, chafing dishes and all. ‘21’ is like that, more than happy to comply with their patrons’ wishes without the attitude like some of the upstarts that have filtered through the city over the years. They don’t need to. It’s ‘21’ for God’s sake.

In the cozy dining room, by the bar on the main floor, checkerboard cloths cover the tables and all manner of things are strung up on the ceiling such as toy trucks and planes, and other bric-a-brac, gently lit by glowing lanterns. The whole atmosphere is much more casual than the other proper dining rooms above—but jacket and tie are still required, and should you have left yours in a cab or somewhere, they are kindly provided. Hats optional!

Prix Fixe Luncheon Menu

Seasonal Soup, a selection of ‘21’ classics
Romaine and Radicchio Salad cherry tomatoes, celery, shaved Parmesan, pomery mustard vinaigrette
Cured Mahi Mahi with watermelon, mizuna, radish and citrus dressing
Grilled Calamari olive purée, pickled cucumber salad, black garlic

Main Courses
Horseradish-Crusted Salmon warm summer bean salad, smoked bacon,
red spring onions, lemon emulsion
Smoked Pork Belly honey vinegar glaze, pulled pork, sweet potatoes, corn, roasted poblano peppers
Spring Vegetable Risotto peas, asparagus, zucchini, aged Parmesan, truffle butter Grilled Organic Chicken Breast hominy, sautéed spinach, lemon, natural jus

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée chewy chocolate brownie
Blueberry Upside-down Cake lemon cream sauce
Milk Chocolate Tart toasted raspberry meringue

Cocktails or other far less interesting beverages, tax and tip are not included and naturally, the menu is subject to change.

First published in part in Next magazine.

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