photo by Liz Barclay
Recently, a lifelong New Yorker visiting Delmonico's for the first time told the woman at the coat check this story: His father worked the hat check as a kid and was on the job in 1918, on Armistice Day, when a man gave him a $100 tip. Delmonico’s was already an old restaurant then, having opened in 1837 at the pointy corner of Beaver and William streets. Its current iteration, overseen by Dennis Turcinovic, offers an updated menu featuring some lighter, seasonal fare. But from the dark wainscoting to the coffered ceilings and opulent chandeliers, this is a flamboyantly unapologetic Land That Time Forgot. “Delmonico’s is a culinary institution,” says Turcinovic, who took the reins as general manager in 1998 and is now part of the group that owns the restaurant. “Our vision was to bring it back to its original luster while introducing a distinct, refreshing look.” Go, provided your constitution can handle it, for the lobster Newburg, the baked oysters, the chicken à la Keene, the baked Alaska. We’ll have a Caesar salad and a Delmonico steak, rare, delivered by an attentive waiter whose European accent is unplaceable and who has perfected the indispensable art of hovering without appearing to.