I visited Betony in Midtown Manhattan when it first opened in 2013 and was quite impressed with the level of food, service and decor. I re-visited it twice when I was in New York last and can report that not only is it one of the best restaurants in the City – it’s better than it used to be. Most restaurants rest on their laurels or comfortably sail along, but this is not the case with Betony.
Betony is located at 41 West 57th street, directly across from NOBU 57. It was formally a Russian restaurant called Cafe Pushkin. They did all the gorgeous initial leasehold improvements, which did not have to be changed with the opening of Betony. In fact, I hear the Russian group still owns this restaurant. The place has soaring ceilings, hand-carved wood walls, plush velvet brown banquettes, exposed brick, crisp linens, and black and white photography of New York street scenes on the walls.
It’s a grown-up, smart restaurant, located one block from my favourite store, Bergdorf Goodman’s. Now I can go shopping and get a great meal … heaven!
Helmed by two former Eleven Madison Park alums – which is one of THE best restaurants in America – it is overseen by Chef Bryce Shuman, the former executive sous chef there, as well as Eleven Madison Park’s former GM. Betony earned its first Michelin star in 2015. I don’t say this lightly, but I feel they deserve a second star. This restaurant delivers. Not just on decor and consistently great food, but the service is exceptional. I haven’t had service like this in years. Not since I last dined in some three-star restaurants in France.
The bi-level, eighty-five seat restaurant and thrirty-five seat bar offers a four-course tasting menu at $110, or a seasonal tasting menu at $215. There is also a pre-theatre menu available for $65. I think one of the best deals in town is the two-course lunch at $42. I enjoyed fluke carpaccio with wasabi and plums and some of the most delicate Maine lobster in a sweet pepper sauce (note: there is a surcharge for the lobster). The fresh out-of-the-oven, homemade peppercorn bread with crème fraîche butter was so good it deserved seconds.
For dinner they add about five amuse-bouche. The sautéed skate wing in a green curry sauce topped with paper thin cucumbers was crispy on the outside and tender inside. It’s also a gorgeous presentation. The short rib dish is divine. In fact, I have never had a more tender and succulent presentation than this. The chocolate dessert with anise hyssop and coconut is a winner as well. The sommelier suggested the perfect wines to go along with our choices. In fact, they earned Wine and Spirit Magazine’s Best Sommeliers of 2014. The wine list is biblical and offered all price points. We didn’t have any cocktails, but every one of them that passed us by looked fabulous.
This is truly a foodie experience. Everything is well executed. Not only is it a warm and welcoming atmosphere, the food is adventurous and creative, and the servers are professional and attentive. They really catered to us and made us feel special.
This is a well-oiled machine that delivers on all accounts.