Ed's Chowder House
This restaurant is closed!
After a night at the opera, in this instance "Hansel & Gretal", we built up quite an appetite after seeing the evil witch get cooked. So with kids in tow we found ourselves in search of a nearby restaurant.
There are an abundance of great restaurants surrounding Lincoln Center, including Daniel Boulud's classic French spot Bar Boulud, or burgers and beer at nearby P.J. Clarke's, and if you don't feel like venturing out, there's the Grand Tier restaurant inside Lincoln Center offering a $45 pre-curtain prix-fixe meal ($30-$40 entrees after). Too late for the prix-fixe and wanting more than a burger we found ourselves in front of Ed's Chowder House, formerly Jeffrey Chodorow's Center Cut, at the Empire Hotel. Ed's is a joint collaboration between Chodorow and Edward Brown, formerly executive chef of Sea Grill and more recenly at Eighty One.
The restaurant is located on the hotel's second floor with a funky sea inspired bar and luxurous creamy leather banquettes, dark wood paneling and oversized chandeliers. It's both elegant and fashionable, but not out of reach for folks on a budget.
The meal begins with a complimentary bread basket that you must not pass up. The cheesy jalapeno cornbread is ridiculously good and addictive. I wanted to stuff a few in my wife's bag to take home, but they were already gone. Fish as you might expect is the specialty of the house.
It's served up whole or fileted. There's tuna, sea bass, dover sole and dorade ranging from $22 to $38. We started with a seafood platter that may very well be the best part of the meal. Mussels, clams, jumbo shrimp, briny Atlantic oysters and chilled lobster are pristine, served with a lemon and saffron aioli, cocktail sauce and spicy horseradish. All can be purchased individually. Platters start at $49.
Starters include tuna tartare ($16) with quail egg and waffle chips, or maybe some crispy calamari ($12). We went for the scallop ravioli ($14). There are three to a plate. Each ravioli is stuffed with a whole scallop that melts in your mouth. The butter sauce really isn't need. Entrees include the house special jumbo lump crab cakes ($29). The crab is piled high and perfect with the spicy remoulade. Fluke with a lemon caper sauce ($25) was light and moist, served with a side of yellow and green stringbeans. You'll also find a smattering of meat dishes on the menu including double cut lamb chops ($35), Creekstone filet mignon ($32) and a dry aged prime sirloin steak ($33).
After filling up with fresh fish we were happy and ready to go home. Desserts, including an apple crumble a la mode, would have to wait for another visit. But you don't have to go. That's because just beyond the double doors near the bar you'll find swanky night club where the party continues well into the morning!
Review By: Thomas Rafael