Monday, December 23, 2013

The First

I'd discovered that Delmonico's Restaurant was near to the office where I had a meeting in New York's financial district.  It was on one of those 3D type diorama maps that picked out half a dozen landmarks. I was excited because Delmonico's was in every book about old New York and in every movie or TV show about old New York.  The bigwigs would always end up going to Delmonico's for a steak.

Some old time New York bigwigs

I'd thought it had closed down years ago so this was worth investigating. This is what the current Delmonico's say about themselves:

"Before Delmonico's opened, diners ate at cafes and boarding houses (inns), where the food was simply the food available that day from the farms. Diners had no choice of dishes but ate the food that was served. Delmonico's changed all of that."

Now who doesn't like the sound of that?

But first Viv and I had to get there from our Times Square theatre.  Endless subway journey and thankfully brief stroll down Broad Street to Beaver Street through the blizzard that was dumping snow on New York all day.

It was worth it though.

Delmonico's list of firsts is very lengthy.  I liked the stories of how they'd changed the name of one signature dish -- Chicken a la Keene to Chicken a la King -- as it sounded classier and besides Mr. Keene was a thorough rascal.  The Delmonico brothers also did that to a ship's captain called Captain Wenburg whose lobster favourite became a staple.  Trouble was they fell out over something so banned Wenburg but the clients still demanded the lobster so they changed the name from Wenburg to Newburg which of course is how Lobster Newburg got its name.  So there!

The signature steak is the Delmonico steak which is an aged rib eye.  This is my favourite cut so I had no problem making my classic selection.  Viv chose the special steak -- an aged Porterhouse.  And of course the Caesar Salad to start -- and no, not a Delmonico creation.  It was still very good.

The signature Delmonico Steak
Only trouble was that our table was not out front in the iconic part of the dining room, rather it was through the bar, round the corner and on a table next to a couple of other diners who'd under estimated the size of the dishes and had ordered 4 or 5 sides, so much food in fact that they couldn't fit it all on the table and which they ended up taking home.

Good steak though.  Very tender and delicious.

Delmonico's Restaurant
56 Beaver Street
New York 10004

Tel: (212) 509-1144

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