Delmonico‘s is the oldest fine dining restaurant (true “restaurant” in the French definition) in the United States. Erin first learned its storied history when she proofread the book Dining at Delmonico‘s a few years ago, and she had wanted to go ever since. She expected it to be overpriced and stuffy but she also really wanted to experience it and try the food. She wasn’t disappointed!
What is often omitted when the restaurant’s long history is described is that the current restaurant opened in the eighties in the location of the original, after a long stretch with no Delmonico’s in the city at all. It’s not directly descended from the original at all, despite its commitment to recreating the old feeling. Perhaps that doesn’t matter; maybe it does. We went on a recent Thursday with friends who were also eager to give it a try. And we paid ridiculous prices, yes, we had a nearly incomprehensible old waiter, of course, and we had food that was roundly satisfying but definitely not transformative in any way.
Erin got the Delmonico’s Steak (au poivre), our friends split the ribeye, and Jason got one of Delmonico’s inventions, Lobster Newburg. For sides we got the brussels sprouts, asparagus, king crab mac n cheese, and Delmonico’s potatoes (a cheesy gratin). We were all too full for dessert, which never happens!
Will we ever go back? No. Are we glad we went? Erin is.