The folks at Eater.com asked me to submit a favorite restaurant for their late-summer feature, “You May Also Enjoy.” The premise is, “a favorite, somewhat oddball restaurant, bar, or place of note that perhaps exists mostly off the radar.”
A few places came to mind, but I thought I should have a recent data point before recommending anything. A couple of others we need not name flunked the test, and that brought me back to Beacon.
Yes, Beacon—nearly as far off the radar as you can get, but consistently dependable (previous posts here & here). I don’t think Beacon is in any danger of closing, but it does run more specials than most places, and I have never seen its large dining room full. It has received little press since William Grimes awarded two stars eleven years ago.
I came with no fixed idea about what to order, but when the host said that a burger, fries, and two drinks were just twenty bucks at the bar during happy hour, my mind was made up. You get a thick, perfectly-cooked rare burger, and the fries are spot-on. It’s not a LaFreida designer blend, but a rock-solid option, especially at the price.
The bar layout is a bit irritating. The little lamps every few feet are cute, until you realize they are permanently attached, and you cannot move them out of your way. Service was a bit slow.
The menu still emphasizes—as it always did—the kitchen’s wood-burning oven. Unless I am mistaken, the steakhouse theme has been somewhat deemphasized in favor of a more well-rounded modern American cuisine. Beacon was never a pure steakhouse, but I recall more beef on the menu than there is now.
Beacon remains what it was before, a very good midtown restaurant you can always depend on.
Beacon (25 W. 56th Street between Fifth & Sixth Avenues, West Midtown)