Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I still haven't resolved whether David Burke is ACTUALLY a part of this restaurant anymore.  A trusted source at Eater.com insists he has pulled an Elvis, but his name remains prominently on all signage and webbage.  Now, I didn't expect him himself to be slinging hash on a blustery weeknight, necessarily, anyways, so it didn't surprise me to see a foreign toque helming the kitchen.  Executive Chef Adin Langille seemed to be confidently holding down the fort, so at any rate, it's in good hands of A chef, whether it's necessarily Burke at all any more remains a mystery.

Regardless, he made his imprint whether he's stuck around or not.  As it's a hotel restaurant, you make do with some immutable fundamentals, but the primary, graphic design smacks of typical Burke.  Industrial and striking, enameled red metal, shiny fixtures and dark exposed brick stand out, especially from our cozy vantage point nestled into a nook with prime view of the open kitchen.  It's a pretty bustling joint, a bit unfortunately from the busy hotel reception area, but the lively bar and full tables are energetic in a good way.

We were running pre-theatre, so we skipped out on apps., but the menu isn't really broken down into such delineations, anyways.  Things are grouped by the prominent feature into categories such as Mostly Veg, Fish and Meat.  So you could approach that in a few different ways, and there are frankly quite a few attractive options in every category.   At any rate, my scallops had an abundant rainbow beets and carrots- enough to practically qualify as a  salad, plus four plump scallops, seared to a nice crusty bronze.    They were zipped up with a bitey hit of fresh horseradish, countering the intense natural sweetness of the roots, making for a tasty pairing.  Angry Tacos gives you an options of octopus or rock shrimp as your protein, or you can choose both, which seems the obvious preference.  I'm not sure why the tacos were angry: they seemed perfectly content to me.  And not too spicy, which might have
accounted for the nomenclature, not even after generous dousings of the pico di gallo and chipotle aioli, although they had a nicely seasoned kick to them.    To make up for the absence of a first course, we took two sides, which given the menu format I'm not sure why they weren't syphoned into their proper categories like the rest of the dishes, as their $9 each price tag would easily elucidate their position.  Brussels sprouts were roasted tender (and I mean tender!) whereas I do like my vegs properly cooked behind that toothsome al dente, prime-nutrient retention stage, but these might've been just a smidge too soft.  But they were tasty, teamed up with tender chunks of apple for a novel touch.  Sauteed mushrooms were
 even better, significantly oily but really delicious, and a wide assortment of species to keep things interesting.

Food came out so quickly and efficiently that in the end, we would've easily had time for an app-entree-dessert arrangement, but at least we had the opportunity to enjoy a sweet relaxedly.  The sweet itself was less gratifying, but only in that it didn't quite live up to its description as I inferred: a pavlova, to me, has nothing to do with a crisp meringue biscuit topped with a grapefruit-Campari sorbet, planked over a glass of bright grapefruit juice with floating sections.  A refreshing finale, and one of which they are obviously proud (it is featured on their website, and truthfully, it's of striking construction), but it did nothing Pavlova-y for me, blatantly missing the signature crisp-creamy, fruit softness of the original.  But this name was more misleading than Burke's on the marquis.  If he has, in fact, left the building, the menu and philosophy are soundly enough implemented to continue the legacy without him.

At Archer Hotel /47 West 38th Street
(between 5th and 6th Avenues)
Phone: 212-302-3838

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