I’ve heard a lot in the past months about the attractive Ace Hotel, a new (opened May 2009), stylish, moderately-priced boutique hotel located in the not-so-central Flatiron district of New York City. The Ace also recently opened their restaurant, The Breslin. The eatery has quickly acquired a reputation as the newest dining hotspot in town. It’s not easy to get a reservation except perhaps on the early side or very late. When I arrived (for a 7pm reservation), I noticed the bar area seemed to draw a lively and young professional happy hour crowd. It was a bit too crowded for my taste. However, some friends and I were quickly seated in the restaurant.
The Breslin décor boasts a warm, pub-like design – but done of high quality. The space has beautiful dark woods, cut glass, wildlife paintings, and well-situated banquettes. To my surprise (because often the trendiest of restaurants fail to meet food expectations), the cuisine and service were outstanding. We shared some paté and vinegar chips to start. The chips were delivered in a plastic bag and I thought, “What’s this?” But fear was unnecessary as the chips were superb; who cares if they were prepared and bagged a day earlier? Then, I tried the special seafood sausage appetizer and their well-known lamb burger. All were incredibly tasty. The seafood sausage was unlike anything I’ve had before, and it deserves special praise. The lamb burger was exceptionally tender and spiced just right. There was a side of fries which, I am told, are fried three times. When I inquired about my friends’ meals, they concurred that their choices were equally impressive.
Don’t come here looking for healthy food (although there are some nice seafood entrees). The Breslin is known for meat, and I mean heavy meat – that might mean a whole hog. The owners, who also operate the famous Spotted Pig in the West Village, know how to create an attractive ambiance and deliver a quality meal. This is one restaurant indulgence in Manhattan that is worth the wait (yes, you can arrive without a reservation and take your chances) and the price.