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Lansky Lounge

I'd never felt inclined to visit Lansky Lounge, but somehow I ended up at
their new restaurant and felt o.k. about it. Supposedly the former personal
chef for the King of Norway is the chef. That could be, but you'd be hard
pressed to find a single Norwegian item on the menu. This is old-fashioned
American classic territory, which fits in nicely with the gangster hideout

A friend who never gets asked out on proper dates was trying to find a
way to get to the traditional dinner-and-movie-where-the-guy-pays stage
after sleeping with her new suitor on the first date. In my head I was
thinking, "yeah, good luck" but my mouth suggested Lansky as a cool, classy,
get-to-know-you joint. But the girl doesn't eat meat (that's the least of
her problems), and this is no place for a vegetarian. She's on her own here.

A large part of the menu is devoted to steak, with quite a selection of
cuts. These guys are obviously hip to the steakhouse trend. We started out
with Caesar salad and calamari in a light cornmeal batter with a tangy
(tamarind?) gingery dipping sauce. Neither of us could resist the filet
mignon. The waiter suggested it, saying that the sirloin was bigger, but the
filet was the best. I expected a puny, albeit succulent, speck of meat, but
the juicy hunk that came out was an unexpected surprise. Perfectly rare.

There's a list of sides (and befores and afters) from which we chose
sauteed spinach (though I wanted it creamed to up the cholesterol quotient
even further) and extremely rich and pungent gorgonzola mashed potatoes. I
thought they were a hit, but James insisted he could still taste them the
next day and I'm not sure if that's exactly a compliment.

There's an airy, roomy, swank '40s feel to the place. I don't think I've
ever dined with that much elbow room in Manhattan. It was filled, but not
crowded, which is the dead opposite of the bar just beyond the swinging
doors. We'd had a quiet 9:00 drink at the bar before dinner and by the time
headed back that direction, quite a party had developed. I was always under
the impression that Lansky was annoying and hip, but the folks grooving on
the funky 70's tunes (courtesy of a DJ that happened to be James's
downstairs neighbor) were lacking the hip part. Unless you're talking twin
sets and polos in a hip to be square sort of way, which they most definitely

The evening was fun and satisfying. But where usually it's wise to stick
with drinks when bars get the notion to serve food, in this case I'd opt for
the dining experience and imbibe elsewhere.

LanskyLounge and Grill * 104 Norfolk St., New York,NY

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