Review: Grand Tavern by David Burke

first impression
I love the ambience in this restored space. Once the Missouri Theater building, it has all the elegance of old architecture, including terrazzo floors and marble walls, but there’s also an artsy retro vibe thanks to its developer, The Lawrence Group. The menu offerings were conceived by NYC celeb chef David Burke, who created gourmet comfort food items for a late fall launch. It’s the kind of menu that tempts you to try something new, like artichoke hummus or foie gras meatloaf. It’s exciting and mostly delicious, and it makes you look at food pairings in new ways.

This place is cool in every way. I can picture it as the perfect Midtown happy hour spot with a plate of Crabcake Benedict ($19) and a To the House Old Fashioned ($18). If you’re going for dinner, make reservations; the dining room is small.

Wash It Down:
In keeping with Grand Tavern’s retro setting, the bar menu features updated versions of cocktails from an earlier era, like the Old Fashioned and the Sazerac. Our Grandhattan ($16) was boozy, smooth and on the sweet side. Its base of Kentucky bourbon was mixed with sweet cherry liqueur and vermouth amaro as the ‘bitters.’ A delightful skewer of dark, whiskeysoaked Morello Griottines provided the cherry on top. The bar menu also offers beer and wine

must try
» branzino: $28; The fish dish was beautifully served skin-side-up over tangy sides: black olive tapenade, chopped vegetables in vinaigrette and creamy artichoke hummus. Lightly breaded and pan-fried, it had a tasty whitefish sweetness set off by the satisfying crunch of a fried coating.
» black linguini: $18; This dish paired a creamy tomato sauce with more pungent elements like bitter arugula and peppery basil. It contained delicate ringlets of calamari and shell-on clams, whose flavor dominated the plateful of house-made squid ink noodles. The dish also had a little bite.
» pastrami-smoked salmon carpaccio: $18; This was an enjoyable starter with tangy elements. A mound of artichoke and arugula, along with uber-pickled sliced onion, reinforced the cured fish’s vinegary character.
» duck: $32; This was the special featured ingredient on the day we visited. While I can’t give all elements of the dish two thumbs up, many were well executed. The disappointment was in the smoked breast. It was served well done, which is not conducive to maximum flavor. Also, the skin could have been crisper. On the plus side, there was a small meatloaf infused with foie gras, a delicious take on the humble comfort dish. Sweet potato puree and macerated fruit served very nicely as the sauce.
» romaine & kale caesar: $12; The Caesar was nothing original, but it was delicious. With salad, sometimes less is more—especially when it comes to dressing. The flavors were perfectly blended.
» apple tart: $10; The dessert featured a tasty topping of par-cooked apples and a scoop of ice cream. The accompanying housemade salted caramel sauce was divine, but the tart’s phyllo base was bland.

Angad Arts Hotel | 634 N. Grand Blvd., Midtown | 314.405.3399

the dish | Clothesline bacon: maple, black pepper, sour pickle