Geoffrey Zakarian has been quiet for the past year or two, ever since his three-star restaurants, Town and Country, imploded under the weight of mismanagement and a poor economy. Now he’s back at The Lambs Club, a fine-dining restaurant in the new Chatwal Hotel on 44th Street.
A chef with Zakarian’s resume shouldn’t have to prove himself. He rose through a long line of serious restaurants where excellence couldn’t be hedged or faked. But the rapidity of his demise at Town and Country, and the decline of those places long before that, raises difficult questions. Does he still have fire in the belly, or is this just another consulting contract? Opening in a hotel is usually good insurance against failure, but the last two places were in hotels too.
The Lambs Club—named for a famous theatrical club that formerly occupied the space—is not yet open for dinner. As I happened to have business in the area, I dropped in for breakfast. The dining room is comfortable, decked out in lipstick red furniture and dark wood paneling. There is an 18th-century fireplace, though it appears to be re-configured with a gas burner.
Breakfast has nothing to do with dinner, but this was a very good meal, and not as ridiculously over-priced as hotel food sometimes can be. That said, it wasn’t cheap either. I loved a nectarine smoothie ($9) and an egg sandwich ($13) with bacon, cheddar, and tomato confit.
Will this be the place where Geoffrey Zakarian retakes his place on the culinary stage, or will dinner just be a succession of better-than-average hotel dishes? We’ll find out in a few weeks.
The Lambs Club (130 W. 44th St. between Sixth & Seventh Avenues, West Midtown)