Location: Solow Building, 9 West 57th Street
Cuisine: French American
Best Dish: Mac and Cheese with truffle butter must we really elaborate on that. It was the epitome of comfort food decadence.
Overall: An opulent yet casual space worthy of your next celebration, special night out, or holiday meal.
There was a time when eating out was an event, worthy of your finest fashion and behavior. Brasserie 8 ½ reignites that tradition with their west side eatery. From the outside, the stunning Solow building appears as many of the architectural wonders New Yorkers take for granted. Inside, a sweeping spiral staircase leads diners into a lush dining room appointed with stark ivory table cloths and artwork from world renowned artists. The stroll down the stairs reveals a dual level space with a small lounge and bar just above the main dining area. The lounge is filled with plush leather seating, ideal for enjoying snifters of cognac whilst planning you next hostile takeover or pondering the future of Marvel comics or whatever you’re into.
We bypassed the lounge and made a beeline for a cozy booth to enjoy our meal. We started with a Buffalo Old Fashioned, a modern take on the classic bourbon cocktail. This version features apple cider, honey, and black cherry. It’s not too strong and is mixed very well. This is a great lounge cocktail.
For a non-alcoholic option, we recommend the Lemonade. In addition to the standard version, Brasserie 8 ½ also offers a unique flavor of the day. On the evening of our visit, the flavor was lavender. The flavor profile is sweet and slightly herbaceous, we enjoyed the soothing scent of lavender with every sip.
Dinner started with the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. The cake is served with a Celeriac Remoulade, Grain Mustard Sauce, Horse Raddish and topped with a ruffled potato chip for crunch. The cake itself is buttery and moist, and the mustard sauce adds just a hint of spice.
Veal Loin is an exceptional cut of meat heralded for its tenderness. The loin at Brasserie 8 ½ is served medium on a bed of pasta and topped with a savory wild mushroom sauce. The mushroom sauce was scrumptious and earthy it was a delicious compliment to the succulent veal.
Brasserie 8 ½ does steak in three ways, we chose the Pepper Steak Filet or Filet Mignon Au Poivre. The steak is served with a side of fresh crisp fries. The filet was fork tender throughout and the peppercorn sauce was tasty accompaniment that we couldn’t resist dipping our fries into.
Though the steak comes with french fries we simply had to try some of the other sides as well. We opted for the sauteed spinach and crowd favorite, mac and cheese. The spinach was tasty, it was fresh and lightly salted. The spinach is a delicious health conscious choice but If we had to choose just one must have side dish, it is the mac and cheese. The outside layer was crisp and crunchy and the inside warm and creamy.
Each serving is made to order and served in a sizzling pan. The gooey melted cheese was intensified by the added flavor boost of truffle butter. This dish was comfort food at its finest. The assortment of cheeses fused together and created a flavorful mash up of creaminess that must be experienced.
We ended our meal with the Loup De Mer, an entree of pan seared Branzino, manilla clams, and a sumptuous Champagne Burre Blanc. The fish is served with wilted mustard greens. The flesh was cooked well and the skin crispy with just the right amount of searing.
For business or pleasure, Brasserie 8 ½ offers an enticing, modern slice of la belle époque and all its spécialités, from Kir Royales to Seafood Plateaux and Crème Caramel. Brasserie 8 ½’s decor is enough to warrant a visit. The spiral staircase alone will satisfy all your grand entrance fantasies. Once you’ve satisfied your curiosity and taken enough pictures it will be the food that keeps you coming back. Our meal was as exquisite as our surroundings, and the waitstaff made us feel like royalty. When in town visit Brasserie 8 1/2 and treat yourself to a grand feast or earn some real brownie points and treat someone else.