BRASSERIE 8 1/2
A lesson was learned today. NYC has over 3,000+ restaurants so its pretty hard for anyone to keep up. I always have a running mental list of restaurants and food related places I want to try, but some places always get swept under the rug. Or in this case, you simply walk past them. This is what happened with Brasserie 8 1/2, a contemporary french brasserie in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. I have walked past this restaurant for years and always said I want to try this place but never made it in until recently. It could also be that this restaurant is nestled below street level and there isn't any big buzz circulating around it. You wont find Brasserie 8 1/2 on food sites like Eater.com or First We Feast but you will hear about it from older Midtown dining regulars.
I grabbed a reservation via Opentable, and celebrated my mom's birthday at Brasserie 8 1/2 recently. Upon entering you would think you were dining at a luxurious French restaurant and that maybe you wont fit in. An amazing spiral staircase leads you down to a dimly lit plush dining room with extremely spacious leather booths and tables. Servers are buzzing around making sure every aspect of your dinner is enjoyable, and trust me it is. We now live in such a casual laid back dining scene that I was slightly taken aback at the classic table service Brasserie 8 1/2 prides it self on including a bread basket and an amuse bouche.
As we looked over the menu and discussed the chef's specials for the evening....
Here's What We Ordered:
Heirloom Tomatoes with Fresh Burrata & Basil
Seared Scallops with Brocollini, Corn Coulis, Black Truffle
Dinner Prix Fix
Asparagus Risotto, Tomatoes, Black Truffle Essence
Long Island Duck Breast, Fennel, Vidalia Onions, Orange Gastrique
Chocolate Tartelette, Fromage Blanc Ice Cream
I always love when a restaurant can churn out perfectly cooked food, plate after plate and Brasserie 8 1/2 does just that. We started with the freshest heirloom tomatoes and moved into a perfectly cooked and perfectly creamy asparagus risotto. The chefs special that evening was seared scallops with shaved black truffles and they melted in our mouths along with the seared duck breast that was cooked to medium rare. I dine out a lot but this was easily the most perfect dining experience Ive had in a long time. Aside from dinner, Brasserie 8 1/2 has a serious brunch buffet game along with a BYOB lobster night, a oyster happy hour and daily prix fix menus. There is a little bit of everything for everyone in this restaurant wrapped in luxury and thats what makes them so dope in my eyes.
There are so may restaurant openings to keep up with but Brasserie 8 1/2 has found their lane and they are staying in it with a meal and dining experience that's delicately cared for. And at this point, I don't blame them, because its working perfectly.
Located in the Solow Building
9 West 57th Street
New York, N.Y. 10019
(all photos are via Brasserie 8 1/2 Instagram)