Giorgio’s of Gramercy

27 East 21st Street

New York, N.Y.

(212) 477-0007

It is almost embarrassing to admit how I discovered Giorgio’s of Gramercy but I’ll be forthcoming in the spirit of full disclosure.  A respected colleague of mine at Bear Stearns was planning a Birthday celebration for his Wife, and was on the phone making reservations for Giorgio’s. This was, it turned out, her favorite Manhattan eatery.  Since I have lived in the Gramercy Park area for nearly thirty years, I was most intrigued that I did not know the place.  So yes, I was eavesdropping on his call. When he had hung up, I apologized for having listened to his conversation and asked about the place.  He said Giorgio’s had become almost automatic for special occasions, the menu changed fairly often and both the food and the ambiance were wonderful.  On my way home from the office, I decided to go see the place.  When I saw Giorgio’s, I realized why I had missed it.  The entrance is small and unobtrusive; easily missed. If you are not looking for it, you’ll pass it.  I went in and made a reservation for that Friday evening.  That was the beginning of a beautiful and continuing relationship.

The Food

Giorgio’s features New American cuisine with Italian and Mediterranean influences. Executive Chef Alejandro Reyes and his Staff offer something to please virtually every palate.  For the carnivores, like myself, there is a marvelous herb and mustard coated rack of lamb, steaks, a veal selection, and a pork selection nightly.  Mr. Reyes has a deft and creative hand with fish, my Wife’s preference, and there are always several delectable choices. The pastas are varied and inventive, available in both appetizer and entrée-sized portions. The soups change daily and I’ve never had one I was not taken with.  The seafood and corn chowder is a particular favorite.  In short, Giorgio’s offers something for everyone.  My Wife and I eat out often, and we have several places we frequent for specific cravings. But we had been looking for a default restaurant, a place to go when you were open to anything.  Giorgio’s of Gramercy ended our search, and we are there at least once a week, often more.  My criteria for evaluating a restaurant is very simple. If I walk out the door content, and satisfied that I’ve gotten value for my money, chances are I will be back. I have had very inexpensive meals where I feel as if I’d been robbed at gunpoint, and exorbitantly expensive meals that I deemed to be worth every penny.  Again the operative term is value. Giorgio’s of Gramercy regularly exceeds my expectations.  The three-course Dinner Prixe Fixe menu for $ 35.00 per person is a winner.  While the menu changes several times annually, a recent offering started with an appetizer of Fried Oysters with creamed spinach and chipotle remoulade.  My entrée was Surf & Turf featuring a massive Tiger Prawn and a nice Filet Mignon. I selected the Trio of Sorbet for dessert, wonderful flavors like coconut, lime and raspberry. All this for $35.00 in Manhattan, prepared beautifully? Pretty hard to beat. There is a three-course Lunch Prixe Fixe as well for about $24.00, but I’m hooked on their Barbecue Burger, with caramelized sweet onions, bacon, romaine and pepper jack cheese, served with a giant portion of the best French fries I’ve had anywhere.  When the plate comes out and you see the size of the serving of fries, you say to yourself “I cannot possibly eat all that.” Then, inevitably, you proceed to devour the whole thing.  Giorgio’s also offers catering for private off-site affairs with a bountiful and delicious menu selection.

The Room

Giorgio’s is intimate and tasteful, elegantly appointed without going overboard.  I remember my initial impression was a Russian Tea Room look without the pretense.  The restaurant appears narrow when you enter by the bar, but widens when you reach the central dining space.  Four beautiful crystal chandeliers add a festive touch, making Giorgio’s feel like a night out. The noise level is seldom too much. I would suggest reservations, definitely for Dinner.

Wine

 

Beverage Director James Shay wears a number of hats at Giorgio’s, but it is with wine selection that James really finds his niche. James is a funny, self-deprecating dude, but he is deadly serious about wine and really knows his stuff.  He seeks to find selections for Giorgio’s that you will not see in every place in town.  Whether by the bottle or glass, Giorgio’s wine offerings are eclectic and distinctive.

The Bar

I have heard it said that Giorgio’s makes the best Manhattan in town.  Part of the secret may be the use of artisanal vermouth and brandy-soaked cherries in place of the usual screw-top vermouth brands and grocery store cherries. But Bartenders Brian Doyle and Chris Rue seek to put their own personal touches on virtually all their cocktails. They also offer homemade spirit infusions made with seasonal fruits and fresh herbs. These infusions change regularly when Brian or Chris has a new inspiration (hallucination?). Some recent infusion offerings included Blood Orange Vodka, Lime Mint Tequila, Orange Clove Bourbon, Apple Cinnamon Bourbon and Rosemary Gin.  The daily offerings are written on the mirror over the bar.  Both Brian and Chris are terrific hosts and good company. In short, they are a lot of fun.  People generally go to bars where they like the bartender, and judging from the crowd, these guys are doing something right.

 

Service and the Staff

 

 

 

 

From Owner Nick Grams and Manager Sascha Benson right on down to the kitchen staff, Giorgio’s boasts the nicest group of people I’ve ever come across under one roof.  The Service is warm and friendly, attentive without being intrusive. The waitresses and waiters exemplify the very personification of competence, teamwork and professionalism. They are the best.

Summary

 

You owe it to yourself to give Giorgio’s of Gramercy a try. My prediction is you will be back again and again.

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4 Comments on “Giorgio’s of Gramercy”

  1. Nancy Angelos Says:

    It’s only 9 a.m. but after reading this review, I’m ready for a Barbecue Burger and a plate of fries. I agree with you, Jud … it’s all about the quality and consistency. When you find both, as you have, it’s divine. When it all comes together in your own neighborhood, it’s perfection.

  2. damaris moulton Says:

    Another blog well done and yumbo – now my toast I had for dinner seems like a mere crumb.

  3. Brett Esterson Says:

    Glad I could introduce you to this gem Jud. Jess and I are going back this summer. This is the one and only place we miss in NY.


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