By Bao Ong
Dining options in New York can easily turn into a headache-inducing game. Sceney or casual? Spanish tapas or Shanghainese soup dumplings? Uptown or downtown? Perhaps a roaring fireplace is the answer to your dining dilemmas during these lingering cold months. But in a city where real estate is precious, tracking down a restaurant with a hearth can leave you with a lump of coal. We’ve done some homework and here are the best NYC restaurants where you can warm up with a meal by the fire this winter.
Check out the Lambs Club and ’21’ Club in Midtown West for a touch of classic New York. The Chatwal Hotel now houses the trendy Lambs Club, where a gas fireplace illuminates a room with plush red leather banquettes and black walls lined with photographs of Broadway and Hollywood legends. The chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s Modern American cuisine attracts diners to a room where they come to see and be seen. Not too far away is the historic ‘21’ Club, which opened as a speakeasy in 1929 in an upscale townhouse. The Dover sole and burger are classics here. At the club’s new Bar ‘21,’ you can sip a hot toddy or for the first time, order a draft beer, and cozy up to the fire.
A European Flair
Café Centro is tucked into the MetLife Building in a part of town many wouldn’t consider a dining destination. Its French menu, with a Mediterranean influence under chef Franck Deletrain’s expertise, is popular for the fresh seafood, raw bar and other seasonal dishes. Breakfast is especially popular and as expected, the most sought-after seat in the house is by the fireplace, which was originally used as a rotisserie. A traditional brasserie with a New York atmosphere, Café Centro’s fireplace gives more than enough reason to venture to Midtown East.
Head South for Warmth
Intimate downtown restaurants are perfect for a meal that includes a touch of comfort and warmth. A flickering fireplace makes it even better. Chef Brad Farmerie’s Saxon + Parole in NoHo is part stylish upstate country cottage meets English barn house with its whitewashed brick and an impressive wagon wheel chandelier. Further downtown in TriBeCa is Tiny’s. Just inside this centuries old pink townhouse, the small fireplace is a perfect fit for the main dining room, which is simple in decor and feels as if you’re in a friend’s home, especially on a cold day. Both restaurants serve all American-inspired menus perfect next to a fireplace.
Fire and Water
Regular patrons of The Water Club come for sweeping views of the East River and the city’s skyline. The wood-burning fireplace is another reason to trek to this perennial favorite, whether you decide to order a Maine lobster or classic hearty beef Wellington. A New York institution, the service reflects its hearth: classic, polished, and warm. On many nights there is live piano music in the background, too.
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Photo Credit: courtesy Lambs Club