The Lamb’s Club – The Best Steak Tartare in NYC

Times Square is known for many things. Caricature artists, the Naked Cowboy, irresponsible parents toting their toddlers around at 11 pm at night and overpriced tourist traps, just to name a few. I would certainly NEVER suggest that any foodie head there for a delicious meal. 
Until now. 
 The Lamb’s Club is a building designed by legendary architect Stanford White, and has been around since 1905. Named because it was used by America’s first theatrical club, the Lambs, it has been designated a National Landmark, and was restored in 2010 to house the throwback American fare of Geoffrey Zakarian. The dining room has been impeccably styled, with black and white vintage photographs, art deco lamps, a mirrored and faceted bar and…
a fireplace big enough to stand up in. 
The moment that we sat down, the extremely hospitable hostess came over and welcomed us to the restaurant, asking if we had dined there before and making recommendations. Our server was efficient and friendly, and the sommelier (even though we didn’t order any wines) made sure to stop by our table and ask how the evening was. I have rarely received better service, and they didn’t know that I was writing a review. They did this to every single table, making sure that everyone felt at home in the refined space, that morphed from stuffy to homey the instant that we were warmly received. 
 The amuse bouche was a shot glass of chilled pea soup and yogurt that was refreshing, springy, light but decadent with the creamy yogurt. It was just what peas should be – sweet, almost sugary, and it was just what an amuse should be – I became even hungrier than I was when I sat down.
 Marinated Hamachi with Pear, Wasabi and Lemon. Simple ingredients paired in an unexpected way. Buttery, mild hamachi was enlivened by the nasal clearing zip of wasabi. The pear was toothsome but not crunchy, and made the hamachi taste even sweeter, while the lemon added a tart, zippy note to the dish, and the entire effect was incredibly fulfilling. It hit all the sensations of my tongue and was an excellent way to start a heavier meal. 
 Heirloom Beets with Burrata, Cloves and White Balsamic. This dish was made anew with beets that were incredibly earthy and sweet at the same time. Some people think beets taste like dirt. Well, if that is the truth then I could eat dirt every day of the week. To me, beets taste hearty the way that potatoes do, with the giving texture of a cooked turnip and the inherent sweetness of green peas, but even more so. They are so sweet, in fact, that they needed the tart balsamic vinegar and spicy cloves to balance them out. And the burrata…oh the burrata. Soft, flowing, creamy, mild burrata. 
Get this dish. You will be surprised how dead on it is. 
Roasted Fingerlings with Chanterelles and Fresh Herbs. Chanterelles are a delicate mushroom that are, to me, as close to truffles as one gets without eating the real thing. They have that same heady, intoxicating aroma and deep umami taste. These were tender and cooked perfectly. Mixed with soft potatoes, no bigger than my thumb, and seasoned with floral herbs and fragrant garlic, this is a comfort dish that no one, and I do mean NO ONE could dislike. 
I’m talking to you, Dr. Atkins.
Cannelini Beans and Escarole served with Pecorino Cheese and Burnt Lemon. Sort of a vegetarian cassoulet, this tastes much lighter than the original version, but still just as rich. It lacks the salt, the heavy spicing, and the greasiness of cassoulet. What it gains is the taste and texture of the vegetables – the creamy beans, the toothsome escarole, the pungent cheese and the bitter burnt lemon that brought out the beans’ hidden sweetness. This was almost my favorite dish on the table. It was comforting, but done to such perfection that it was like eating something entirely new. The vegetable dishes here are so good that they almost make you want to eat an entirely vegetarian meal. 
Almost. 
Hand Cut Steak Tartare with Pickled Mushrooms and country toast.
I have eaten a hell of a lot of raw beef in my time. And I like a lot of it. But this was heads above the other steak tartares and carpaccios I have had in NYC. The steak is cut into recognizable chunks, not ground into an indistinguishable taste. The meat is beefy, rich with iron and blood and everything that makes good steak good. The Worcestershire is pungent, the capers are salty, the salad is full of acid to cut the richness of the beef, and the toast is thinly sliced and finely crumbed.
  This was that. Perhaps there were pickled mushrooms, but I have to say that I am grateful that I didn’t notice them. If the delicately fried onions on top of the herbal salad are not customary, well then they should be. This is, without doubt, the finest steak tartares in NYC. Anyone who doubts me can buy me one of their favorites, and then I will buy them this one. 
It will be worth it. I like to see people cry when they realize they are wrong. 
I have social problems, but I have GREAT taste in food. 
Deep Dish Lemon Meringue Tart with Lemon Confit, Lighlty Whipped Meringue and Chamomile Broth.
Take the best lemon meringue pie filling you have ever had. Really, the best – incredibly sweet, mouth puckering-ly so. Then put it under pillowy whipped meringue and dense shortbread crust. 
If that does not have you salivating, check your pulse. You might be dead. 
The Lamb’s Club was in every way an unexpected delight. From the impeccable service to a dining room in which Dorothy Parker would have felt at home to the Best Steak Tartare this side of  Rue Cler, this is truly a hidden gem. It isn’t inexpensive, but it doesn’t gouge you. Next time you are in Times Square, you know where to head for a classy and delicious meal.
And, don’t worry, when you are done, there will still be plenty of people walking around offering you free tickets to comedy shows.
The Lambs Club on Urbanspoon

Comments

  1. Wow, that hamachi dish is SO beautifully presented!

  2. I want to go to there.

  3. Jimmy Mohsin says:

    I am so there this weekend!