I should have looked at the address. I would’ve noticed that Hunt & Fish Club is right at the edge of the Theater District. Dinner on a Wednesday evening was going to be: absurd.
That’s an understatement. In the congested bar, I could barely move. Just getting a drink took twenty minutes, and that was with a friend of the house who took pity, using his pull to get the head bartender—and apparently the only one with a clue—to notice me.
The Post had a story about that bar: “the city’s latest haunt for… beauties fishing for rich husbands.” My friend-of-house buddy for the evening assured me it’s all true. And some of the ladies there seem to be—how shall I put it?—same-day rentals.
I thought the bar would clear up after 7:30, when the theater crowd heads off to the shows, but they kept coming in waves. A host assured us repeatedly that our table would be ready “in a few minutes,” while others who arrived after us were getting seated.
This went on for an hour past our reservation time. (To their credit, they were comping the drinks by now.) Finally, we were shown to a table: it must’ve been the worst in the house. We refused to accept it. We were then left standing at the edge of the dining room (“please don’t lean on the artwork”) for another ten minutes, before they finally found another.
The money men (a financier and a hedge-fund mogul) poured $5 million into this place. There’s bling everywhere: 55,000 pounds of marble, a 40×20-foot chrome chandelier, bars on two floors, and 180 seats in three dining rooms on two floors, designed by the artist Roy Nachum, whose paintings adorn the walls.
CC Sabathia, Darryl Strawberry, Brittny Gastineau, Carl Icahn, Star Jones, Steve Schirripa, Alexandra Lebenthal, Timbaland, and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, are among the celebrities that the Post has spotted. I assume they didn’t wait an hour to be seated.
The chef here is Jeffrey Kreisel, who worked for Michael Lomonoco at Porter House New York. The menu is heavily steak-centric, with the typical salads, sides, and appetizers you’d expect at such a place, and enough seafood dishes to justify the “Fish” half of the restaurant’s name.
The prices aren’t absurd. No one would call this restaurant a bargain, but the USDA Prime steaks are offered at more-or-less the going rate. You’re probably better off with one of these than, say, the $36 salmon. (I am not going to give ranges, as the online menu is clearly no longer accurate, assuming it ever was.)
Every meal begins with an enormous Parker House roll (above left), which just might be the best thing about Hunt & Fish Club. I wouldn’t bother with Rainbow Trout Roe ($40; above right).
Slab Bacon is fine ($13; above left), but Luger has it for less. Salmon is okay, but not worth the tariff ($36; above right).
I was in such a foul mood after our hour-long wait that I no longer wanted a steak, so I ordered the pork chop ($34; below left), which was tough from over-cooking.
I remained curious about the steaks, so I went back alone the following evening. The staff recognized me, and I was seated immediately. My only order: the dry-aged 18-ounce bone-in sirloin ($52; above right). It won’t put Minetta Tavern out of business, but it was a satisfying specimen, with a crunchy char, and done to the medium rare I’d asked for.
So the kitchen can broil a steak. That is something. If only everything else were as good.
Hunt & Fish Club (125 W. 44th St. between Sixth & Seventh Ave., West Midtown)
Food: Modern steakhouse cuisine
Service: Not good enough
Ambiance: More bling than the law allows
Rating: Not Recommended