1055 Lexington Ave (75th St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 396-3287
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Cuisine: New American
2nd Cuisine: Burgers
Area: East 50s
In a neighborhood where you can dine on anything from caviar to kale juice, Eats is something of an anomaly. Gilt letters across the front window proclaim: Oysters Martinis Burgers and choosing from this trio is what the restaurant does best. The oysters are fresh albeit occasionally gritty and the $1 happy hour oyster deal is a smart marketing move as people drop in for bivalves and a drink and often end up ordering more substantial items. The burger is touted as dry-aged and comes (on a pedestrian bun) with a slice of cheese, caramelized onions and "house-cut" French fries so salty that eating them leaves me parched for hours afterwards. In fairness, the burger itself is dandy---juicy and cooked as ordered. Martinis are excellent especially a standard version-- riffs like the Take Me Home with mango nectar and tequila; the Pickle Tini, liberally laced with pickle juice, and a chocolate- raspberry version don't sing in my ear so I can't, in fairness, comment. Prices are reasonably gentle for this part of the world as in the $15 prix fixe lunch that gives diners a choice of soup and either a sandwich (either filet of sole with bacon or somewhat bland grilled chicken) or salad (kale with pear or mixed greens.) The $20 brunch is a big draw with basic egg choices or eats like the fried oyster sandwich or a breakfast burrito.
The setting has been described as "cute" and even "cozy" but my take is that Eats is pretty basic with a standard wooden bar with tables but is perfectly fine for those who like to eat and drink with a view of traffic-choked Lexington Avenue.
Try not to sit among the strip of tables facing 75th Street as the aisle for service is narrow and the rushing wait and busboy staff can get a little overwhelming. Another tip: service can be frustratingly slow. Apologies are offered but food would be better. Eats is open every day from 11 AM to 11 PM and never wants for diners. Lunch and dinner are always available; weekend brunch runs from 9 AM to 4 in the afternoon; Happy Hour hits at 4 PM daily and the bonus is that Eats is open on many holidays such as Thanksgiving when dining options can be hard to come by. Burgers, oysters and marts aside, you won't be knocked out any anything and may be put off by the service. None the less, there are always girl groups celebrating a birthday or engagement; parents with tykes, ladies lunching and just plain folks catching up on life and chowing down happily. If you're looking to be wowed by a UES dining experience this may not be your best choice but, if you need sustenance at practically any time of the day or night, Eats awaits.
Review By: Mari Gold