Restaurant Review: The Lion, New York, NY

Sparky took me out for a hot date on Friday for a belated Valentine’s celebration of our love. We have been lucky to go to quite a few restaurants in NYC while we have lived here and have several that we use as measuring sticks to the others.  The Lion, while a solid choice, was not a measuring stick for us.  It was a beautiful loft space, decorated like the combination of an old library and boys club.  This was definitely a place to see and be seen.  Unfortunately, when you are not very cool like me, this might not be what you are looking for.  Nevertheless, the food was quite tasty.  They were a bit obsessed with putting truffles on everything, which I think is a cheap (as in easy) way to bump up the diner’s perception of the dish without really doing much.

(courtesy of the NY Post)

I started with the butternut squash soup.  It was way too hot and I had to wait a bit to eat it but after it cooled, it had a nice flavor and being a bit carb deprived, I really liked the soup-soaked croutons.  Sparky had the Burrata & Blood Orange Salad and the baby beets were a nice start to the meal.  We were also served a chive biscuit, (similar to Martha Stewart’s Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuts in her Baking Handbook) which was a major highlight to both of us.  It seems we are easily pleased (or just really love biscuits).

For our entrees, Sparky had the Lamb Shank Osso Bucco with creamy polenta and I ahd the trout wrapped in speck with black lentils and wilted endive.  I don’t care for wilted endive, it’s just not my jam, but the black lentils were cooked well.  Unfortunately the fish was just too much.  The speck made a very hard shell around the fish and it was sort of hard to eat.  The fish probably could have been cooked a little less too.  Plus, it was huge, just a totally unnecessarily large portion.  Sparky ended up eating half.  His lamb was quite delicious though and i would recommend this dish to future diners.  The best part of the entree was the last minute brussel sprouts side that we ordered on a whim.  The brussel sprouts were roasted to chrispy perfection and the apples added a wonderful sweetness.  Of course, everything is better with bacon (in this case, guanciale).  This saved the meal for me.

Finally for dessert, we both ordered something in order to sample a little of everything.  The server had been raving about the “scandalous” cheesecake in a jar so Sparky ordered that and I ordered the mint chocolate cake.  The cheesecake was no more scandalous than most cheesecakes and the serving was way too large.  It was in a “Le Parfait Canning Jar”, which I didn’t think really fit in with the aesthetic of the restaurant.  The flavor of the cheesecake was supposed to be caramel but wasn’t particularly overpowering or noticeable, for that matter.  It was served with 2 hard wafer-like cookies in lieu of crust which were pretty good.  My cake was delicious.  It had a crunchy wafer (for lack of a better term) in the cake that gave it a great crunch.  It was also a dense cake with a heavy ganache.  I am a huge chocolate fan so I enjoyed this tremendously.

Overall, this wasn’t my favorite place to eat in NYC.  I won’t elaborate, but our server was too over the top and as a former server, I prefer servers to be more understated.  However, Sparky and I had many laughs and we did enjoy ourselves.  Ultimately, that was the goal, to have a lovely evening out.  Check and check.

Have you been here?  What were your thoughts?



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