Why do theater district restaurants have to be snoozers? Sure, a lot of the area’s eating places are just conveyer belts with seating, designed to produce factory-made food at exorbitant prices. But there are some theater-goers with more sophisticated tastes. Why shouldn’t there be a restaurant for them?
I thought the Lambs Club just might be that restaurant. Located in a landmarked boutique hotel (The Chatwal), with a multi-starred chef on board as consultant (Geoffrey Zakarian), a former Alain Ducasse chef in the kitchen (Joel Dennis), and a luxe space that took three years to build, why wouldn’t this be the place?
Unfortunately, the Lambs Club reminds me of Town and Country in their sad last days, as well as of our meal at Adour, which I described at the time, as “downright soporific: one yawn after another. There’s no excitement on the plate at all.”
Although the food is dullsville, you’ll eat in a bright, attractive, and comfortable room, and you’ll experience something close to three-star service. Bring grandma here for her 80th birthday. She’ll be well treated, and there’s plenty on the menu she can eat.
For a restaurant this nice, the prices aren’t bad, with most of the appetizers in the high teens, and most of the entrées in the high twenties. But you’re paying for ambiance, as the food is nothing special. Bread service, at least, is better than average, with doughy parker-house rolls, baguettes, and crudités to start (above left).
Heritage Pork Ravioli ($15; above left) with broccoli rabe was practically devoid of flavor. Couldn’t they at least have added some butter? A foie gras terrine ($26; above right) with black mission figs and grilled country bread was luxurious by default, but Salon Millesime served us a nicer one last week for $10 less.
There was nothing impressive about Roasted Lamb Saddle (above left), and there didn’t seem to be much on the plate for $35. A prime Delmonico steak (above right), served off the bone, wasn’t bad at all, but at $46 there are better options in town. A side dish of fingerling potatoes ($8) was predictably dull.
You probably won’t be surprised when I say the wine list skews expensive. A 2006 Tard-Laur St. Joseph was $75, and there wasn’t much of interest below that price. It was, at the very least, an enjoyable wine, and we were well tended by the sommelier. I am always worried when the bottle doesn’t remain on the table, but he kept our glasses replenished. The glassware here, by the way, is some of the most elegant I have seen. Too bad you can’t eat it.
Service overall was perfectly attentive, and aside from the lack of bread knives I cannot find fault with it. The only thing lacking is food that lives up to the setting.
The Lambs Club (130 W. 44th St. between 6th & 7th Avenues, West Midtown)i