Meet Goldilocks. She's not too quiet and not too loud. Her food is creative, but not too experimental, or challenging. And though she's in a hotel, at least half her guests (and likely more) are New Yorkers—locals who have been vying for tables, as this restaurant is a difficult reservation to get. Why so popular? Because Simon & The Whale has the comforting ambiance of a fire in an open hearth. The dining room is moodily lit, with lots of woods, handsome tiling, and tables set a civilized distance apart—contemporary looking but with a hint of the traditional. The food, too, while of the moment, has time-honored palate pleasers like the luscious dill and dark rye bread bits that give the arctic char tartare a deli twist, or the perfectly balanced creamy lemon sauce that swaddles the casconsei (ravioli-like pasta stuffed with sunchokes). Cocktails are balanced, too, as is the wine list, and the soundtrack features peppy alternative music from all decades at a volume that makes one's subconscious happy but doesn't interrupt conversation. In short, this is a restaurant that gets it just right.
New York City
New York City› Restaurant
Simon & The Whale
23 Lexington Ave. (in the Freehand Hotel)
Our Rating Neighborhood The Flatiron District, Union Square & Gramercy Park Hours Mon–Sun 5–11pm Transportation Subway: 6 to 23rd St. Phone 212/475-1920 Prices Main dishes $21–$32 Cuisine Type Gourmet American Web site Simon and the Whale
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.