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Old School Eats

Jessica Antola, The Lambs Club Bar, The Four Seasons Restaurant and The Lion.

Photos by Jessica Antola

From left: The Lambs Club Bar, The Four Seasons Restaurant and The Lion.

The Four Seasons Restaurant
The only restaurant in NYC to boast landmark status for its stunning interiors (the work of the late starchitects Mies Van Der Rohe and Philip Johnson), this modernist gem in Midtown continues to wow diners 53 years after its opening. The power-lunch set descends upon the clubby Grill Room, while romantic dinners are de rigueur in the dramatic, seasonally changing Pool Room . Get to know charming co-owner Julian Niccolini, and be sure to order the cotton candy for dessert.

The Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant
There’s the main dining room that hunkers beneath the barrel-vaulted ceiling with its famed Guastavino tiles in the basement of Grand Central Terminal, but we prefer the horseshoe-shaped lunch counters that crackle with electricity. Join commuters and local business folks alike as you enjoy a classic New England clam chowder and a fried oyster po’ boy sandwich paired with a cool sauvignon blanc.

The lunch counter at The Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant.


A salad from The Lion.

‘21’ Club
The Bar Room at the historic ‘21’ defines old- school New York dining: Settle in under the eclectic collection of toys that dangle overhead, then order the ‘21’ burger perched high atop a Parker House bun with fries and watch for the captains of industry to conduct high-octane deals around you (think Gordon Gekko dining with Bud Fox in the classic Gotham centric film Wall Street). Just wear a sport coat, gents, or the curmudgeonly host will give you the stink eye.

The Lion
Situated in the cozy West Village, this landmark townhouse boasts soaring ceilings and an eclectic art collection, not to mention chef John DeLucie’s comfort-minded cooking. Standout dishes include the Long Island skate with a chickpea-and-tomato stew, the spot-on burger with pork belly and caramelized onions and the 28-day dry-aged Delmonico steak.

Chez Josephine
Tucked away on West 42nd Street, this classic French bistro pays homage to the owner’s adopted mother, the legendary entertainer Josephine Baker. Arrive after 8 p.m. to enjoy the cosseting service paired with superlative steak frites or down-home fried chicken sans the pretheater crowds. We love the sumptuous décor that carries diners from the tourist-geared Times Square scene to the atmospheric Left Bank of Paris. 

El Parador Cafe
This throwback Mexican eatery housed on the way-eastern fringes of 34th Street calls to mind Fernando’s Hideaway, thanks to its whisked-away-to-Acapulco-with-the-Rat Pack vibe. Lap up the retro décor and the tuxedo-clad wait staff as you enjoy Baja California fish tacos or paella loaded up with lobster, shrimp, scallops and chorizo in your cozy banquette. Plus, the margaritas and endless chips and salsa are knockouts.

Le Périgord
Few of NYC’s grande dame French restaurants have survived into the new millennium, but, happily, this elegant eatery continues sans arrêt. Overseen by gracious owner Georges Briguet, the gracious setting offers beautifully spaced tables and an endless array of wait staff who proffer dishes such as turbot with Champagne sauce and fabulous beef bourguignon.

The Lambs Club
Housed within Times Square’s retro-styled The Chatwal hotel, The Lambs Club channels a supper club of yore thanks to its scarlet-hued banquettes, crisp white tablecloths and torchères . Order a bourbon-rich Boulevardier cocktail then sup on the chicken fricassee with Serrano ham and artichokes or the sublime Dover sole.

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