I remember the Murray Hill of twenty years ago: from a culinary perspective, there wasn’t much going on. Fast forward. The neighborhood hasn’t yet arrived, but with battalions of post-collegiate twenty-somethings settling there, the scene is far better than it used to be.
Whitman & Bloom Liquor Company, in a large space that used to be a sports bar, is typical of the new Murray Hill, with its loud, boozy atmosphere and a downstairs speakeasy. At first, I didn’t even realize it served food.
Actually, there’s a serious chef, Eldad Shem-Tov (an Israeli), whose resume counts stints with Alain Ducasse, and at Aquavit and Noma, though I’m not sure for how long. These days, everyone cooks at Noma for 15 minutes. This seems to be his first New York gig as an executive chef, but he’s surprisingly sure-handed, serving food far better than you’ve any right to expect.