I don’t know who Chester is, but I really like that dude. I was lucky enough to try out The Chester while in NYC this past April and have been haunted by some of the delicious dishes I had since. The Chester is an unassuming little restaurant in Midtown (with another location in The Meatpacking District in the Gansevoort) with traditional American fare … with a twist.
We hit The Chester up for brunch because we couldn’t have a big a dinner since we were running a half marathon the next morning. (Seriously. We’re nuts.) So we opted for a not-too-late brunch and hit it hard. Because … carbs are important. But, their dinner menu sounds absolutely amazing–I mean Orange-fennel Salad, Squid Ink Tagliarini, Eggplant Toast, Pork Belly … ugh, why didn’t we go for dinner?!
Their brunch menu has some of the more traditional options, but who needs traditional when you can have Breakfast Eggrolls!? They were packed with scrambled eggs and veggies and were fried to a perfect crisp. We also opted for the Blistered Shishito Peppers (lemon zest, fried garlic, and maldon sea salt). My sister said that, without a doubt, they were the best shishito peppers she’d ever had. I’d really have to agree. The garlic added a bunch of flavor and the best little hint of texture. I went with The Sawdust (Rosemary-infused Ketel One, Moet, lemon juice, and agave) to start light and it was a great choice.
The cocktail menu offered some classic options but mostly slightly remixed options. The West Side, Roosevelt, and Hellfire were all tempting!
Entrees were a challenge. I mean … how do you choose between Eggs Benedict on a cheddar scone topped with chorizo hash and Banana Pancakes with rum-caramelized bananas and salted caramel?! I mean … my mouth is watering and I’m about to look at flights to head back up there right now. Luckily, someone had recommended their Fried Chicken (sweet tea brined chicken served with blistered shishito peppers and Thai dressing), so I at least had a hint. The sweet tea brine gave it a subtle sweetness that was irresistible. When the waitress came to clear our plates, I actually said to her “Don’t look at me … I’m hideous” because I’d gotten so into the chicken that I, quite literally, had it all over my hands and face.
My sister went with The Burger (hanger steak, pimento cheese, and miso-Russian dressing served on a homemade buns with steak fries) and really enjoyed it. (I actually don’t know if I’ve ever seen her eat as much as I did that day. No judgement.)
If I had ANY room left, I’d have opted for some of their fresh oysters. They offer a selection of East Coast and West Coast oysters. (Which look amazing.)
The drinks at The Chester were all unique, yet classic. Since we had a big race to run the next day*, I followed-up the meal with The Cobblestone (Tanqueray, mint, cucumber, rhubarb bitters) instead of dessert. It was all I could do to resist the Sweet Ginger (Jameson, mont, honey-ginger syrup, and lemon)
The restaurant itself was HUGE–especially for a New York City space. There were two full bars offering both liquor and a selection of local beers–one in front with windows that allowed an open facade for beautiful spring days and one in the back of the restaurant … for less pleasant days. The Meatpacking space looks a bit brighter and offers a large, wood patio.
I’ll be hitting up the Meatpacking location on my next visit to The City, so stay tuned for another report! (Apparently they have a club, The Arthur, hidden inside.* That’s happening.)
45 East 33rd Street, NYC 10016
18 Ninth Avenue, NYC 10014
*The Arthur: Reservations required after 11 p.m. Contact: email@example.com.