I live in a neighborhood that has a new building opening pretty much every week. There has been a vacancy in the first floor of the apartment building on 10th Ave between 37th and 38th Streets for a while. I held out hope that it would be a grocery store (the one real lacking part of this neighborhood… well… besides the bums). But a few weeks ago we noticed that whole bunch of basketball player pictures were put up in the window. Oh well… another sporting goods store… a huge one taking up an entire city block…
But no, it actually turned out to be a restaurant. Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine soft opened a couple weeks ago and then had a red carpet opening last weekend. Clyde Frazier, of NY Nicks Fame, is certainly a NY icon. Known for being a hall-of-famer, all around fan-favorite, and effusive suit wearer, he teamed up with Ark Restaurant Group to open up what might be the biggest NYC restaurant I’ve ever seen. It is literally a full city block. Mike checked out the menu before we left, and found out they have pavlova, which may be my most favoritist thing ever (and sorely lacking in NYC… gotta go to London to get it usually). I was in.
The moment you walk in, it is 100% Clyde Frazier. Huge floor to ceiling columns bare his face (and suits).
The walls are adorned with some of the great sports photos of his heyday.
Even the ceiling is designed in a school of fish motif that, on further investigation, is actually all different images of… what else? funky suits.
The north end of the restaurant is a bar with many TVs above to watch the games.
Right above our table was even an ode to his suit design. With some insane patterns and boots.
Upon heading to the bathroom, a large looming Clyde looks down upon you.
And as if we weren’t already on Frazier overload, he showed up in the flesh to take pictures and meet and greet diners.
In the most amazing tiger print suit with matching boots. I had to pose for a picture if only to be able to show you, dear readers, just how amazing this suit is. (Turns out, he’s a really nice guy who spent the whole night talking to each and every table)
The kitchen is huge and open-format in the main dining room. There are a few dozen TVs to watch (what else?) games, but I read that they will display artwork when the games aren’t on.
There are nice, elegant touches to the restaurant that elevate it above the sports bar I thought it would be. It’s an identity crisis for sure, but one that somehow just makes sense. It was downright enjoyable to feast your eyes on all the crazy decorations.
I ordered a Clyde style drink (The “Stumbling & Bumbling”) made with patron silver tequila, patron citronge tequila, fresh strawberries, and basil muddled with sugar. It was served in a lovely, big glass and they were not bashful with the alcohol. I was pretty much drunk half-way through. Fantastic.
The menu was as eclectic as the man (see full menu in the slideshow at the end). It featured some standard southern favorites along with Asian inspired dishes and hearty Jewish comfort food.
So we started with the duck liver with duck cracklings and toast.
This was liver the old fashioned way. Liver the way grandma made.
Mike got… of course… the hamburger. It was Clyde’s signature 10 ounce burger with cheddar, apple smoke bacon, and caramelized onions. It came with homemade chips and a crisp pickle. I thought this burger was surprisingly excellent. The caramelized onions were top notch and the burger was perfectly cooked and juicy.
I went with the root vegetable salad, that came with goat cheese vinaigrette. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly was taken by surprise by how damn good this was. Vegetables cooked to perfection (soft but still full of flavor) in a goat cheese style sauce with pumpkin seeds (I think) and delicate seasonings and oils. It was refined. It was delicate. It was delicious.
We went on to check out dessert and noticed that one of our favorite local dessert wines was listed, Duck Walk Blueberry Port. Yum!
And, of course, the pavlova! It was served with passion fruit soup, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit. The meringue was crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside. I didn’t love the inclusion of Greek yogurt (I guess I’m a sucker for classic style… with whipped cream) but I was impressed that the meringue was so delicately and well cooked. Not the best pavlova I’ve ever had, but it satisfied the need for the time being. And I am quite a harsh judge when it comes to pavlova.
Overall, I was totally impressed and surprised by this place. I was expecting it to ride on its celebrity fame and just be, well, average. Even the sheer size of it made me think “this place can’t possibly be good.” But it was. It was actually damn near great. I look forward to going back to try some of their heartier entrees, and their rotisserie chicken looked especially appealing. I’m curious how good their steaks are, and I can’t wait to find out. I’m glad they are right down the street. I have a feeling I will be returning often.
Total Nom Points: 7.5 out of 10
Their menus were all covered in funky patterns to match Clyde’s funky outfits, but their cocktail menu looked like a basketball. Nice touch. Below is a gallery that shows the full menu (including drinks and desserts) as it stands as of April 6, 2012.