04 October 2011

brasserie athenee

Let's face it: as appealing as restaurant row can seem on first glance with its glittering lights and many colorful awnings, most of the restaurants are over-priced and crowded with tourists. I've often found myself wandering around late at night - typically after a show or, as was the case this past weekend, a NYTimesTalk event - searching for somewhere a bit quieter and a bit less expensive. Nestled on the corner of 46th and 8th, Brasserie Athenee has become my go-to.

The menu is extensive, and perfect for late-night dining. I've had the grilled calamari (with sauteed fingerling potatoes and greens, tossed in a delicious balsamic vinaigrette reduction), the pan seared filet of red snapper (bathed in a saffron broth loaded with tender tomatoes, yellow squash and zucchini), and the seafood risotto (unbelievably decadent, rich and creamy but brightened with citrus and sprinkled scallions). All were simple but delicious, and reasonably priced for the area. 

The atmosphere - quiet and surprisingly elegant, with dark wood tables, brass chandeliers suspended from high ceilings, and soft, soothing french music - is a wonderful respite from the blaring taxis and hoards of people pouring by on the street.  Even better, the large windows that circle the restaurant separate you from the craziness outside while still allowing you to observe all that energy and all those who - because they don't read this blog - will likely end up somewhere far more expensive and far less memorable.

727 46th St (at 8th Ave)

  grilled squid
  pan seared snapper
  seafood risotto

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