I have wanted to dine at Delmonico’s for a very long time, and I can’t believe it took me this long! It is such a huge part of New York history and also culinary history, as it set restaurant standards and created time-tested dishes.
The original Delmonico’s opened in 1827 and had many locations and different owners since then. It also involves a bit of trademark law. The Delmonico family tried to keep rights in their last name, but a court ruled that when their last restaurant closed in 1923, the name went into the public domain. So there were other owners who opened restaurants with the name Delmonico’s. While the current restaurant isn’t in the lineage of the original restaurant, it serves the dishes Delmonico’s is famous for.
Delmonico’s is historically famous for its grandiose dinners like those for Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. It is also famous for being the first restaurant to let diners order a la carte. It originated some dishes that have become classics like the Delmonico steak, Delmonico potatoes, Lobster Newburg, baked Alaska, chicken a la king, eggs benedict and Manhattan clam chowder.
On the night of my visit, CNN was there with a camera crew filming about the history of the restaurant and its famous baked Alaska.
As it is white truffle season, there was a white truffle special on the menu–lobster risotto with white truffles. The appetizer version was $45. I decided to splurge since I can’t recall having eaten white truffles before.
My friend ordered the bacon appetizer that came with octopus. I tasted it too, and it was delicious.
For my entree, I was deciding between lobster Newburg and Delmonico steak, and I opted for the famous steak. Boy, am I glad I did. You can’t tell from this picture, but this steak was cooked to perfection, slightly crispy char on the outside and pink on the inside.
The 40-day aged bone-in rib eye was even better, if that can be. This was an exceptional steak.
For sides, we got creamed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes. Both were very good. In fact, I think the creamed spinach is my favorite of all the steakhouses I’ve been to in the city.
Since I saw the baked Alaska being showcased for the CNN program, I knew I had to try one. Generally, I’m not a meringue person, but of course, I love ice cream. I didn’t know what to expect, but the meringue wound up being my favorite part. The meringue has this light crispiness to it
but it’s soft and frothy on the inside. I loved it. I could eat that alone. But with ice cream and a nice crust, it was the perfect dessert.