Have you ever seen a really perfectly preserved photograph of the past, one so vivid and clear that it makes it feel real and immediate; and for a second, the chasm of time between you and that era falls away, and it is there for you to touch?
That is what dinner at Simone, newly opened on the UES, is like. The food is American, the kind you remember from the heyday of the Hudson River Club or An American place. Except now, with everyone else zigging into whateverthehell Nordic, this food is once again exciting and vibrant - and it always was delicious. Perfectly fried sweetbreads with carrots, still firm and textural, and onions. A tuna tartare served with - is that Apple-parsnip purée?
The restaurant is small. There are tablecloths. There is an impeccable wine list; mainly Neal Rosenthal imports, but well chosen.
There are none of the contemporary shortcuts. The duck main comes with three different preparations and 4 different root vegetable purees. The scallop portion is enormous, the leeks and fennel braised till they meld. The salmon is served with the startling juxtaposition of burnt Brussels (not all the food is a flashback) and sweet beets. It sounds like it would clash with the dill speztle. It works, fantastically.
It is, in a nutshell, exactly what you remember a really good NYC dining experience being before it was driven by PR. There was more soul on one plate than I had in my entire tasting menu at Battersby, or in dinner at Nomad.
It was not cheap. It was totally worth it. To hell with the jerkoffs who ruined NYC fine dining.