We celebrated an anniversary at Betony, a posh midtown restaurant headed by Chef Bryce Shuman and GM Eamon Rockey, alums of Eleven Madison Park. The dining room exudes luxury, in whatever way that soaring ceilings of relief sculptures and plush, comfortable oval-backed chairs exude luxury. But there’s also something cool, something about the towering exposed brick walls and the elegant tableware, through a kind of plush, dark, rich, velvety, rarefied air of midtown Manhattan.
And the food. Indulgent, irreverent, rich, but also creative and sometimes restrained.
Crisps.Foie gras bon-bons, with black pepper. The oily nuttiness of crushed cashews and the creamy burst of foie are the epitome of savory candy. Crisps with scallops. And this beautiful beast: pan-seared foie gras (the way I prefer it), stuffed with ham, in a wonderfully salt ham hock consommé, topped with a crisped kale leaf. Gnocchi. Poached lobster, delectably tender, in a medley of greens, and a buttery foamy sauce. The infamous short ribs, seared on a Japanese binchotan white charcoal grill after an unimaginably long 48-hour sous-vide that breaks down all the collagen down into a silky bomb of flavor that melts almost like butter against the steak knife. Onto dessert: maple, amaranth, and caramelized banana. Butterscotch custard, with butterscotch crisps scattered atop. A little tray of bon-bons.The meal was a splendid reminder of how heartwarming fine dining can sometimes be, a confluence of ideas that don’t come across as overly tongue-in-cheek or pretentious, not concepts, but more dishes that convey in earnest terms how hard the kitchen has worked to make something uniquely delicious.