Grrrrrrr! Dinner at The Lion
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 4:27PM
The Lady Who Lunches in RIP: NYC restaurant cemetary, Restaurant reviews

*NOTE: This restaurant has since closed.*

  • Cuisine: American
  • Atmosphere: dark, sexy, apres ski meets townhouse chic
  • Attire: dress to impress
  • Ideal for: small groups, 1x1, bar scene, trendy, celeb-spotting
  • Price: moderate to expensive; most entrees under $30 
  • Phone: 212-353-8400
  • Location: 62 W. 9th Street (between 5th & 6th Avenues)
  • Website: click *here*

    *All photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr

    Situated amidst immaculately-restored brownstones, The Lion sits on one of Greenwich Village's most picturesque, tree-lined streets.  And this, dear readers, is only one "amenity," if you will, of the restaurant's laundry list of physical bragging-rights.

    From what I had read/heard: due to a ridiculous reservation policy, or lack thereof - tables are rarely available outside of 5pm or 11:30pm unless, of course, you're a Hollywood A-lister - I assumed that Em and I would have to wait upwards of two hours to be seated.  After all, we would arrive as walk-ins, somewhere around 8pm, on Saturday evening.  Would the doorman/bouncer - yes, you read that right, I said "doorman / bouncer" - even allow us inside?

    Having been granted entry beyond the proverbial "velvet rope," Em and I made our way to the hostess stand.  Much to my surprise, the restaurant was less than half full and we were immediately seated at a two-top in the front/bar room, at a table which felt much more like "the governor's spot" than something for "two random chicks without a reservation." 

    Between sips of my weak, watered-down and over-priced cocktail, I perused The Lion's dinner menu.  Although tempted, Em and I ultimately chose to forgo an appetizer course, instead opting for side dishes to accompany our a-la-carte entrees.  Luckily, our hunger pangs were temporarily alleviated when each of our bread plates was topped with a warm, golden, homemade biscuit.  A small saucer of spreadable salted butter was placed in the middle of our table.

    Dinner at The Lion: le menuDinner at The Lion: gratis homemade biscuitWith beef-on-the-brain all afternoon on Saturday, there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that anything else on that menu - tempting as it may have been - could have seduced me away from ordering the "Burger, Special Blend."  And a side of French fries.

    A large dinner plate was topped with: a small, clear, mason-like jar filled with bite-sized dill pickles and brine, accompanied by a small fork; a generous, 1/2"-thick beef patty sitting atop half of a grilled hamburger bun, completely enveloped with gooey melted cheddar and Jack cheese - topped with caramelized grilled onions, a buttery slab of pork belly, and roasted tomatoes. 

    The lonely, naked portion of the bun was eagerly staring up at me in anticipation of being rejoined with its with its "better half."  After removing the pork belly slab, with the intention of eating it separately, I united the buns and cut the sandwich in half.  My eyes lit up as I watched the grease juices slowly trickle down the burger and on to my plate.  Prior to taking my first bite, I stuck my nose up at the fact that the bun appeared "grocery-store" bought and/or not in the same league as, say, brioche.  However, its density worked with, not against, the sandwich in the fact that the bun perfectly absorbed the explosion of juices brought forth by the ingredients.  I'm not sure what else/type of bread would have worked as well.  My compliments to the chef!

    Dinner at The Lion: le burgerThe addictive, intervention-worthy house made French fries were kissed with sea salt and crispy parsley shavings.   

    Dinner at The Lion: fries to die forDon't ask me how I got talked in to ordering dessert, but what can I say?  We had a stellar server who also happened to be one hell of a salesman.  "Surprise me (with a dessert)," I told him.  Secretly hoping that he would have chosen the "Cheesecake In A Jar," I was instead presented with the "Nutella Crepes." Serving as accompaniments were caramelized banana slices, Guiness Stout gelato, and wafers that, I could have sworn, tasted more like crust made from Pillsbury pie dough.      

    Dinner at The Lion: Nutella Crepes dessertConclusion: going in to this dining experience, the only things I did anticipate - a long wait, aloof servers, and a couple of celebrity sightings - never happened.  I walked out of The Lion with a smile on my face, as I was very impressed by the service, atmosphere (until around 10pm, when The Lion becomes more of a bar scene), and most importantly, the food.  I definitely plan to return.    

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