When you think of real, classic restaurant of all time in the US, Delmonico’s should come to your thoughts. It is THE first fine dining restaurant in the country, opened in 1837 by Demonico brothers. This is where the Delmonico Steak, Eggs Benedict, Balked Alaska, Chicken A la Keene, and Lobster Newburg were created. Yes, they are the original of all originals!
The interior has been renovated since it first opened its doors. However, it is renovated with the styles from its early years. Therefore, it still have that atmosphere of the good old days, with fancy wall papers and fully carpeted floor. When I first walked in, I was welcomed by a bright foyer that held a waiting area with a sofa, coat check, hostess station, and a massive portrait above fireplace. It was like stepping into a different era.
From here, we were led by the hostess to our seat. As we walked towards the back, it opened up to a grand dining area, very classic and elegant, but yet somehow warm and welcoming. Everyone was dining with a smile on their face, seemed relaxed, unwinding from the long day. With their largest wine cellar in the city, I am sure it can help everyone to have a nice R&R.
The main dining room was much larger than I expected, with antique style chandeliers, classic wall papers that extended from the front foyer, and large paining on the back wall. The painting depicted well-dressed patrons at a fancy restaurant,I assume it was a painting of Delcmonico’s? It is the perfect painting to be in this room, it sort of creates a window into how this dining room used to look like, once upon a time. This room had nice lively energy, a bit noisy but matching the hustle of bustle of the city.
But our hostess did not stop here. We went to the right of the dining room, a few steps down, to where a bar was. I was wondering where our table is going to be…? The bar was busy with younger patrons, just wanting to have cocktails or other alcohol beverage instead of serious dining. They also had a TV screen there, which was kind of surprising for such historical place, but I guess it is good to have that to keep all of their patrons happy.
Through the bar was another dining room, smaller, more private and quiet. This is a much better setting for business dinner, date, or anyone who wants to have a little less noise. This room also had a large painting on a wall, depicting a bar scene from another era. I really liked these paintings, it really sets the mood. This dining room was a bit more dimmed with softer lights and candles at each table. Since the room was smaller, it never got too loud or noisy. The tables were not stacked on top of each other, so you still had some privacy around you, which was nice.
Once we finally reached our table, they brought us their complimentary bread with whipped butter. I appreciate any place that serves soft butter. It makes everything so much easier… The breads were good, hard shell with soft, moist inside. Good accompaniment to any dinner.
We were there during the Restaurant Week, so we get a choice of appetizer, main and dessert at $42/person. For the first appetizer, we chose Buffalo Mozzarella & Yellow Beefsteak Tomato with Aged Balsamic and Basil. The tomato was sliced nice and thick, very fresh and had great solid texture. The Buffalo Mozzarella had great flavor, and overall it was a refreshing appetizer.
The second appetizer of choice was Lobster Bisque, with Maine Lobster and Crème Fraiche. It had rich flavor, warm and cozy. It had just a couple of chunks of lobster, not much, but the bisque itself had really nice lobster flavor infused in it. Creamy, velvety, super comforting.
For the main, we chose 18 Hour Braised Short Ribs and Petit Filet Mignon. Filet Mignon is only offered during the dinner time for Restaurant Week. They do offer Delmonico Classic Steak as well for Restaurant Week, but that comes with a steep $20 extra supplement.
The Braised Short Ribs comes with Winter Truffle Grits, Pearl Onions, Button Mushrooms, and Roasted Tomato. It was much larger portion than I expected, which was great. It was cooked perfectly, the meat was so tender and juicy, it came apart easily with a soft pull of a fork. It was very flavorful, and melted in my mouth good. The truffle grits were great, fluffy, addictive, and went perfectly with the ribs. The mushrooms were delicious too, soaking up all the flavors. It was a well put together dish, classic and sophisticated.
The Petit Filet Mignon comes with Roasted Cauliflower, Whipped Potato, in Cabernet Wine Sauce. This was much smaller, but it does say “petit” so it was kind of expected. It didn’t really look like much, but as soon as we cut it open, the aroma and juicy-ness just jumped out. The inside was cooked just the way I wanted, packed flavor, with great charred exterior. With one bite, we understood the reason why their steak is so popular and famous. It was soooo delicious! It was another one of those “melt in your mouth” moment, with each bite. And yes, the couliflower and potatoes were great too, not overpowering or crowding the flavor of the steak, but emphasizing its juicy, meaty, rich taste. It was really, really good.
For dessert, we of course chose Baked Alaska, as this is the restaurant where the Baked Alaska was first created. This is another item that requires additional supplement in the Restaurant Week menu, but just $6 more. And for my husband who have never tried Baked Alaska, no discussion was needed. One Baked Alaska, please! It is made with Walnut Cake, Apricot Jam, Banana Gelato, and torched Meringue. It is such a fun dessert to eat, with great flavors and textures coming together as one. The walnut cake and banana ice cream together tasted like a banana bread, and veru fluffy and airy meringue like a cloud floating above. The meringue was super tasty, it could stand on its own, and yes, perfectly torched. The apricot jam was nice also, but it was not really necessary, unless you want extra flavor on top of it.
Second dessert of choice was Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake, made with Valrhona Chocolate. It was rather small, but it was very creamy, decadent, and not overly sweet which was nice. It had more pure chocolate in the center, great flavor of the natural chocolate. It had a shiny glaze on top, very simple and elegant. If you are wondering about their cheesecake, they are the same size and shape as this one.
We also ordered Cappuccino ($5) to go with our desserts. It had nice, fluffy foam, and deep, relaxing coffee. Always a great way to end the meal with a nice hot cup of cappuccino, accompanying a great dessert.
Our waitress, Marina was very nice, courteous and polite. She was very friendly only if the customers wanted her to be, and quiet when the customers wanted to dine in silence. Either way she always kept a smile on her face, and very efficient and professional with her work. We were well taken care of by Marina and by other staffs. Our water was always filled, dirty dishes taken away quickly, and dishes brought out at perfect timing. We really enjoyed our dinner here at Delmonico’s!
With all the innovations and modern technologies since the beginning, they still continue to provide a prime cut of beef, prepared to the original specifications. This is quite admirable and certainly deserve some real respect. This restaurant is the only place that serves authentic Delmonico Steak in the US. So, if you want to get some classic dishes that changed and led the culinary world of America, stop by here at Delmonico’s and order up some steak! And don’t forget to have Baked Alaska before you leave!
Delmonico’s – 56 Beaver St, New York, NY 10004