A Smoky New York City Restaurant
Posted: Apr 27, 2009 4:22pm ET
I had dinner Thursday night at a great New York City restaurant. The food was lovely, but the best part was the cigar (two, in fact) that I puffed during cocktails, appetizers, entrée and dessert. The only bad part? The restaurant is only open a half-dozen times a year, and it only seats about 30 guests.
The “restaurant” was dubbed De La Rue, a combination of the Manhattan cigar shop De La Concha and the nearby restaurant Rue 57. The cigar shop closed for a short time in the early evening while the restaurant staff set up tables on the perimeter of the large shop, providing seating for about 34 guests. At 8 p.m., the doors opened, and the customers poured in for a dinner featuring Padrón cigars and a fine meal from Rue 57.
What a great concept.
“This is the De La Concha smoking oasis,” said Ron Melendi, who manages De La Concha, which is on the Avenue of the Americas between 56 and 57 Streets. “The customers love it. We partner with Rue 57, and they transform the store into a restaurant.”
The counter where one would normally buy a lighter was turned into a bar, manned by an exceptionally friendly sommelier from Rue who pointed me in the right direction, a 2005 southern Cote du Rhone that was drinking perfectly. Several members of the waitstaff walked the half block from Rue 57 to De La Concha, carrying plates of goodies: Kobe beef sliders, which were juicy and delicious; bruscetta with lots of olive oil, another winner; and a few pigs in blankets, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The main course featured a choice of three dishes, a roasted herbed chicken, potato encrusted salmon, or a hanger steak with frites. Naturally, I went with the steak.
I had never eaten at Rue 57 before (or, at “De La Rue”) and I was more than pleased with the food. It was a fine steak. What made it even better was the Padrón 1964 Anniversary Series Exclusivo I was smoking during dinner, which is one of my favorite cigars. Capping it off was the presence of Jorge Padrón, who spoke to the crowd about his cigars and even raffled off a few killer boxes, including a box of Padrón Serie 1926 No. 9 (our No. 1 cigar of 2007), a few boxes of Padrón 80 Years (last year’s No. 2 cigar) and a handful of Padrón Family Reserves, which aren’t sold.
Everyone was happy as could be.
“I try to do between four and six dinners a year,” said Melendi, who plans on having Carlos Fuente Jr. and Litto Gomez for future smoky meals.
Cigars and steak in the heart of NewYork? Count me in anytime.
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