An Eleven Madison Park alum heats up the financial district

Crown Shy features an arsenal of NY and drink experts, plus more notable openings

By Kate Krader / BLOOMBERG

The New York (NY) restaurants we’re looking at this week, plus the food and events making the news.

Crown Shy (Financial District; opened March 20)
The restaurants at Hudson Yards are taking up a lot of the oxygen in NY’s culinary world, but not all of it. Crown Shy is a collaboration from a team of heavy hitters including chef James Kent, who ran the kitchen at the Nomad and cooked at Eleven Madison Park; Jeff Katz, a managing partner at Del Posto; and bar director Jonathan Lind (also of the Nomad).

Unlike just about every other restaurant in NY, there’s plenty of room between tables in Crown Shy

Even the address is powerful. The Art Deco building at 70 Pine Street was built by Cities Service Co (which later became Citgo) after the crash of 1929. In 1976, it became AIG’s headquarter and chairman Maurice “Hank” Greenberg installed a private dining room on the 66th floor, in the former glass-walled observation deck.

Later this year, the Crown Shy crew will open that room to all, opening an as yet-unnamed restaurant with views that may rival its neighbour, Manhatta.

At Crown Shy, Kent serves reworked classics with big flavours. He made roast chicken for two a destination dish at The Nomad. Here, the best seller is another bird, one with more attitude.

The half chicken is brined with citrus, chillies and fermented chilli juice then hit with butter, grilled and served foot on; it’s tangy and exhilaratingly spicy. Short ribs are roasted until charred and presented in thick slices on a Fred Flintstone sized bone with chimichurri sauce.

Also worth ordering are the cavetelli with crumbled chicken liver ragu and potent grated horseradish; and luxurious bowls of farro with a rich, bone marrow-infused sauce and tender oxtail. Pastry chef Renata Ameni, another Eleven Madison Park alum, offers carameldrenched sticky toffee pudding and a dense chocolate tart topped with stracciatella ice cream.

The long granite bar is located past the building’s marble lobby, where Lind has a list of well-made drinks like Radicle — a refreshing mix of tequila, raspberry, rhubarb and habanero.

Wine director Luke Boland compiled the 50-page wine list, which goes deep on France.

The dining room, designed by MN Design Professional Corp, seats 120 in a space dominated by light wood, white walls and tall windows. Unlike just about every other restaurant in NY, there’s plenty of room between tables.

What’s missing is a view of anything but the open kitchen. There will be plenty of those when the Crown Shy crew open their second restaurant in the clouds; Hank Greenberg’s old dining room has 360° views of the city.

Private Dining Room: Seats 60 Hours: Daily from 5.30pm. The bar is open Sunday-Wednesday (4.45pm-1am); Thursday- Saturday (4.45pm-2am) Location: 70 Pine St; (212) 517-1932; @crownshynyc

BLT Prime (Upper East Side; opened March 21)
The Gramercy Park steakhouse has moved uptown. The menu from executive chef Clifford Crooks includes best-sellers like tuna tartare with avocado and soy-lime dressing; and the lobster cobb salad with avocado, pancetta and egg. There are some new additions as well: Salmon crudo with everything dukkah (the Egyptian spice and nut mix) and mezcal buttermilk; young chicken with truffle puree; and lamb chops with black olive caramel.

BLT Prime’s tuna tartare with avocado and soy-lime dressing

The restaurant’s steak programme features cuts like NY strip, bone-in cowboy ribeye, 28-day dry-aged prime bone-in strip and filet mignon.

Beverages are overseen by BLT alumni Luis Nunez and Dana Watkins. The cocktail menu has options like the “12 O’Clocktail”, a mixture of bourbon, amaro and cherry liqueur. The steak-friendly wine list is stocked with a mix of old and new world bottles.

The bi-level space — designed by Jeanette Didon of Byblack and Crystal Schenk of ESquared Hospitality — has a main dining room outfitted with light caramel-coloured banquettes, large columns and mirrors. The adjoining lounge is lined with dark wood panels and features a zinc bar. All told, it seats 140 diners.

This is currently NY’s only BLT Prime. Other locations in the US include the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and at Trump National Doral in Miami. Sister property BLT Steak has been on 57th Street since 2004.

Private dining room: Coming later this year Hours: Dinner Monday-Saturday from 5.30pm; Lunch: Monday-Friday 11.30am-2.30pm. Brunch will start on March 30
Location: 1032 Lexington Ave; @bltrestaurants

Pepper Lunch (Times Square; opened March 21)
The popular Japanese-based chain this week opened its first outpost in NY on March 21. The restaurant boasts individual heated platters — a technology patented in Japan — so diners can cook all-in-one meals that invariably include peppered rice and steak.

DIY hamburg steak with egg at Pepper Lunch

There are now over 470 locations of the chain owned by Pepper Food Service Co Ltd — worldwide, including spots in Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles.

On the menu: The signature steaks, with options like Angus rib-eye and “Hamburg Steak with Egg”. There’s also chicken pepper rice, plus more unconventional combinations like kimchi cheese beef pepper rice, and bacon cheese pepper rice.

Side dishes are an international mash-up, from miso soup and kimchi to Caesar salad, onion rings and sausages. There’s also beer and house red or white wine (US$25 (RM101.50) per bottle).

The utilitarian space looks like other Pepper Lunches around the world, seating 62 at communal tables and two-tops. The group also owns Ikinari Steak, which recently announced the closing of nine Manhattan locations after overly fast expansion. Two are converting to Pepper Lunch.

Hours: Daily 11am-11pm
Location: 243 W 54th St; 917-472-7158; @pepperlunch_USA

The Cannibal. The meat-focused bar with an enviable beer list in the Nomad neighbourhood has closed. Owner Christian Pappanicholas told Eater that the rent had climbed to an unaffordable US$33,000 per month.

Sushiden. It was one of NY’s pioneering counters, but both Midtown locations have shuttered. Notable alumni include Sushi Noz chef Nozumu Abe. — Bloomberg