32 East 21st Street
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 600-2105
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Chef: Reagan Angelle
Area: Flatiron District
Entree Price: $20-$30
Forget fried green tomatoes. With renowned chef Michael Vignola at the helm, however, you’ll likely save room in your heart for other Southern-inspired fare at the Flatiron District’s newest restaurant, Gravy.
With an interior that looks decidedly more Partridge Family than Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Gravy harks back to a simpler time in America when the country was ripe with possibility and the stick-to-your-ribs food was served not on dainty little plates, but family style, in heaping, “feel-better” portions. In fact, New York City’s current obsession with comfort food—as well as anything made with that other white meat—is still going strong. Gravy is no exception, with its grilled double pork porterhouse for two and plenty of carb-laden entrees from which to choose, including cornflake-crusted chicken, grits served three ways (honey, cheesy, and porky), and Louisiana crawfish gumbo fritters. Amen.
Sharing plates, which are frowned upon in some establishments, are welcomed at Gravy with options that include black-eyed pea hummus and a “chef’s made” charcuterie that includes a selection of meats and hams, hand-jarred dill pickles, and homemade brown butter mustard. Those seeking meatless options will also be pleased with Gravy’s salad fare for a light-side yin to a heavier yang, such as a side dish of homemade mashed potatoes (dripping with brown gravy, of course), braised collard greens and kale, or even hand-cut French fries. Robust and hearty portions aside, the menu is jam-packed with plenty to make your mouth water, such as homemade sausage, red snapper, a spice-rubbed venison, smoked filet mignon, and the Sullivan Island Bog—an amazing mix of shrimp, crawfish, mussels, squid, scallops, and andouille, a French Cajun smoked pork—all served over a Carolina red rice and charred tomatoes.
Although Gravy is currently open only for dinner, Vignola, who has prepared food at Le Bernadin, Strip House, and Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse N.Y.C. and was once a champion on the Food Network program Chopped, has big plans for the restaurant, including future lunch and brunch options. His inspired menu pays homage to the many influences that help make regional fare from the South so complex, with hints of French Cajun, Spanish, and Caribbean influences. In keeping with fresh Southern flavors, Gravy will regularly feature Louisiana crawfish, South Carolina blue crabs, and honey from Savannah, Georgia. Those who enjoy late-night dining may enjoy Gravy’s lounge seating, which is open past 11PM.
With its elegant takes on Southern classics, a roomy bar, comfortable seating, and a friendly staff, Gravy promises to make many “best of” dining lists for those seeking a down home fare in an unpretentious urban setting. Private rooms are also available for large parties.
Review By: Joann Jovinelly