Let’s hear it for NYC restaurants that have come back stronger than before. Same goes for the new restaurant scene, which is now hotter than ever. Take the Hawksmoor, for instance, which is bringing a modern steakhouse to NYC’s East 22nd Street. But how is the food — and just as importantly, how’s the scene? Here’s our take.
The Hawksmoor has all the components to make it a cool steakhouse. First, it’s in a prime location, right in the Gramercy/Madison Square Park/Flatiron area. Second is the old-school, private-club feel of the large bar area and dining room. The dark wood, leather chairs, and dim lighting make it especially cozy during the winter. Hawksmoor is a British concept, so it also has that highbrow yet comfortable London club vibe to it. Third is the liveliness of the restaurant, which is always full. Great.
But even with all the just-right qualities of this new New York steakhouse, there’s something missing. And surprisingly, that’s the effortlessly cool crowd of attractive local New Yorkers. Bear with us here. When we visited, the crowd consisted of people serious about meat (fine, it is a steakhouse) and regular Joes and Janes. We’re not saying that’s a bad thing, but you could have been anywhere in the country instead of in the heart of New York. So in this food critic’s humble opinion, Hawksmoor lacked what makes NYC restaurants so special: the NYC crowd vibe.
If you’re in the mood for butter and comfort food, Hawksmoor will deliver. First, like I said earlier, you come here for the meat, on nights you don’t want to grill your own or cook for friends. By the way, pescatarians and vegetarians have plenty of side dishes and seafood items to choose from. Know that the seafood options are good, but none will blow you away as the best you’ve ever had.
There’s a lobster that’s been cooked in butter both on the appetizer and main-course menu, and on the lighter side, a decent steelhead crudo with hot peppers. Frankly, the colors on the plate look more attractive than the dishes taste. French fries, which are usually a safe bet for vegetarians, are fried in beef fat. So they’re delicious, but unfortunately not vegetarian-friendly. The Hawksmoor’s Caesar salad is solid, enriched with crushed breadcrumbs on top in lieu of croutons.
Admittedly, the oysters are a standout, with three different mignonette preparations. Or, if you want rich (which seems to be the theme of this NYC steakhouse), you can opt for the charcoal-grilled oysters. The dish is akin to the oysters Rockefeller, but the chef adds in bone marrow along with a rich butter-breadcrumb crust.
But as you might expect, the meat here is the big draw, and plenty of people line up to devour the $65 rib-eye and $100 Porterhouse steaks. Sauces include béarnaise, peppercorn, and bone-marrow gravies, in addition to a few variations of Hollandaise. Steaks aren’t the only dishes that pair with the sauces; there are French fries, butterball potatoes, and traditional mashed potatoes.
The British are known for their strong hospitality. As Hawksmoor is a British transplant, I would’ve expected this trait to carry over. But like the atmosphere, the service is also missing something. The team looks like everyone is just going through the motions. Everyone is clearly working hard, but this NYC steakhouse lacks a certain passion and excitement on the part of the crew. Pride in the work was, let’s say, not immediately apparent.
Overall: 6.5/10. In our opinion, this NYC steakhouse doesn’t match up to classics like Peter Luger or trendy spots like BLT and STK.
Q: What makes Hawksmoor stand out?
A: People dine at Hawksmoor to enjoy its selection of meats, such as rib-eyes and Porterhouse steaks. It also has an excellent selection of oysters with three different mignonette preparations.
Q: When is it open?
A: It is open seven days a week, from 4p.m.-12a.m. Monday-Saturday & 4-9:30p.m. Sunday. However, the kitchen is open 5-10:30p.m. Monday-Saturday & 4-9:30p.m. Sunday.
Q: How is Hawksmoor’s beef sourced?
A: Hawksmoor believes in animal welfare, choosing to source beef from ethically run farms that don’t use hormones or other growth promoters.
Address: 109 E 22nd St, New York, NY 10010
Phone number: 2127771840