Nicholas Semkiw of ADB Hospitality has opened a 1950s-themed restaurant and lounge—The Anthony on Bleecker Street. Judging by the Instagram and Yelp photos, The Anthony already has a buzz as being a smashing after-hours dance club with a swanky lounge on the mezzanine level overlooking the main floor, bottle service, and glow-in-the-dark graffiti on the walls, which is only uncovered at night. It was hard to imagine this party scene as things were quiet when I dined for dinner at 7pm, but it gives in to the allure of the times of Prohibition—a sophisticated and demure façade by day, secrecy and debauchery by nightfall. Lucky for me, The Anthony is equally successful in the kitchen, and I hope the word spreads.
Crispy Duck and Waffles
For starters we tasted one of their most popular dishes, the crispy duck and waffles. It’s as if the already trendy chicken and waffles had a makeover, and stepped out as a delicacy. Confit duck on a small bone, savory buttermilk waffles, and smoked duck fat maple glaze made for an outstanding combo. The skin was crispy and the meat fell right off the bone; it would be perfect for one person for lunch or brunch with a small salad or side.
We also tried the burrata, the creamy, gooey center of fresh mozzarella, in a generous portion served on top of charred persimmon and an aged balsamic drizzle. The use of persimmon, an uncommon fruit, was a surprising pairing. One usually sees burrata accented with tomatoes and basil, or perhaps an olive tapenade—but never a fruit like this. Kudos to their originality! It’s orange-pink in color, the texture of a softened apple with a bit of crunch, and lightly sweet like honey. The char of the fruit and the sweetness of the balsamic complimented the creaminess of the burrata quite nicely.
Tony Prime Burger
The Anthony has one burger on the menu and they do it right! It’s called The Tony Prime Burger, made of prime select dry-aged blend; top quality meat. The patty was substantially sized, but lean and juicy, without being greasy. Topped with creamed spinach, crispy red onions for crunch and a house made sauce (their own spruced-up version of thousand island). It’s a perfect coat of the stomach before cocktails if you ask me. The Colorado lamp chops are another signature dish: 2 flavorful chops plated on top of smoky creamed kale and a bacon-apple potato cake, with a pomegranate glaze. Again, I was pleased with the chef’s creativity—I’ve never had anything like the potato cake with bacon and apple. Even though it wasn’t the main part of the entrée, it’s what I remember most.
For cocktails I would recommend my personal favorite, Suzy’s Secret. Made from vodka, fresh muddled raspberry puree, cucumber, and champagne. The first sip was a burst of ripe brightness from the raspberry, balanced out by the cool cucumber and dryness of the champagne. It’s an ideal spring or summer drink—one that I plan on trying again very soon. If you like your drinks spicy, The Matador is also worth a try: mezcal, habanero honey, lime, cilantro and bitters. They served classic cocktails on tap which I found to be a clever nod to the era of hidden barreled liquor. They offer a Negroni, featuring Bulldog Gin, Campari, and red vermouth, and a spiced Manhattan with bourbon, sweet vermouth, orange bitters and german amaro. Both are on the more bitter end of the spectrum for my taste buds, but my guest enjoyed them and said they were smoother than shaken or stirred versions of the standard cocktails.
We capped our meal with a treat, the Caramel Corn Cheesecake. Order this! It was decadent, and appeals to those of us who prefer our desserts to be both sweet and savory. There were bits of popcorn mixed into the cheesecake itself, which had a light buttery flavor. Garnished with a peanut butter and caramel sauce and house made candied popcorn. It was a winner in my book.
Caramel Corn Cheesecake
Prices are on the high end for the neighborhood (entrees average around $32, not including the $99 porterhouse for two), which has notoriously been known for affordable college bars like its predecessor, 1894 Restaurant and Bar. That said, the price is certainly reasonable and appropriate for the caliber, quality and inventiveness of the food, as it teeters on the edge of fine dining. It’s a welcomed option if you are looking for gourmet food and a restaurant dripping in charm and character.
The writer dined as a guest of the restaurant.
Opening photo courtesy of The Anthony. All other photos by Sha Savage.
183 Bleeker Street