Chef John DeLucie first came to prominence at Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter’s uber-exclusive, once semi-private restaurant The Waverly Inn. As at The Waverly Inn and at DeLucie's restaurant Crown uptown, The Lion attracts a certain type of clientele and manages to sustain a certain kind of fashionable exclusivity. The dramatic main dining room has soaring ceilings crowned with a skylight, a stone fireplace, wooden chandeliers, and walls plastered in art that has been crookedly hung, salon-style, in that aristocratically lackadaisical style. It balances the glittering scene with nostalgic charm.
There is a tad too much affectation going on here (any restaurant that calls itself "the Lion" and self-consciously styles itself after the manner of an old-school London gentleman's club is going to incite some detractors when it doesn't, in fact, share the tony pedigree of a White's or Boodle's). But it is, we hasten to add, a pretty cool ambience and despite our anti-nobility founding, America has always been pretty comfortable with aspirational faux nobility. The drawback to this arrangement, however, is that the aspirational ambience also draws aspirational arrivistes as clientele. This can make for rich people watching or tedium, depending on one's point of view.
The country club comfort food got off to something of a rough start, but has improved steadily since then. The best options on the menu are meats and sides. A 28 day dry-aged Delmonico steak with béarnaise sauce is unimpeachable, as is the cote de boeuf for two, the lamb porterhouse and the Berkshire pork chop. A side of spinach and parmesan casserole, basically creamed spinach with parmesan casserole on top, is reason enough alone to return.
62 W. 9th St.
New York (nr. 6th Ave.)
212-353-8400 Mon-Thu, 5:30pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, 5:30pm-1am; Sun, 11am-3pm and 5:30pm-11pm
- John DeLucie, Chef
RECOMMENDED DISHES See All
- The Lion Burger "Special Blend" - tomato, caramelized onion, pork belly, provolone, smoked cheddar
- Chicken Pot Pie - seasonal market vegetables, fine herbs, béchamel sauce
- Lamb Porterhouse - roasted shallots and marble potato, natural jus
- 28 Day Dry-Aged Delmonico Steak - cipollini onion agrodolce, béarnaise sauce
- 28 Day Aged Cote de Boeuf for Two - roasted garlic, unfiltered olive oil
- Berkshire Pork Chop - brined & smoked, slow-cooked collard greens, bacon
- French Fries & Fresh Herb
- Spinach, Parmesan Casserole
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Guanciale, Apples