At Crown Shy, the Only False Step Is the Name
Good eating places don’t rain down from nowhere, however Crown Shy got here shut. No doubt it went via the identical beginning pangs as all of the others. As far as I can inform, although, it merely materialized one morning this March at 70 Pine Street, and was open for enterprise that afternoon by the point the monetary district’s elevators started disgorging merchants, bankers and analysts searching for 5-o’clock refreshment.
One cause it appears to have crept up on the town is that it’s a big, well-capitalized, big-time restaurant of the sort that solely established teams appear in a position to get off the bottom lately. Yet Crown Shy doesn’t come from Danny Meyer, Andrew Carmellini or any of the opposite typical suspects. Its two major gamers have been recruited after talks amongst April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman and the constructing’s developer fell aside in 2016, earlier than accusations of sexual harassment engulfed Mr. Friedman.
Crown Shy’s chef, James Kent, used to run the kitchen on the NoMad, and his associate, Jeff Katz, is the managing associate at Del Posto. Neither precisely fell off the turnip truck final week. As a group, although, they’re unproven, and as they went via development and hiring, the drumbeat of publicity was extra muted than it may need been if marquee names had led the venture.
Then there’s Crown Shy’s location, a sprawling, hovering, street-level area that, so far as anybody recollects, has by no means held a restaurant earlier than. Many New Yorkers have seen the 1932 constructing’s distinctive, hulking, pyramidal silhouette on the skyline, however till not too long ago, when the workplaces on its 67 tales have been repurposed as costly residences and resort rooms, not many had encountered the frenzied exuberance of the foyer, which makes use of polished marble in a minimum of 5 contrasting colours. It appears like one thing Bernini would have designed if he’d lived to see the Jazz Age. Depending on which entrance you utilize — the revolving doorways are topped with aluminum reliefs of Art Deco flowers being pollinated by elongated stylized butterflies — you could need to enable an additional 5 or 10 minutes to take all of it in earlier than you eat.
Above all, it’s the extent to which Crown Shy already has its act collectively that makes you ask: Where did this place come from? The complete operation radiates confidence from begin to end.
The wine listing at Crown Shy ranges from blue-chip appellations to rising markets, with many rewards for worth hunters.CreditDaniel Krieger for The New York Times
The end brings actual desserts from an actual pastry chef, Renata Ameni. She involves Crown Shy recent from Manresa, in Los Gatos, Calif., and earlier than that, she put in half a decade at Eleven Madison Park. Her desserts at Crown Shy look uncomplicated, and also you don’t notice how intelligently they’ve been put collectively till you begin to eat one.
There’s a milky-white yogurt cheesecake beneath tender spring strawberries, with clean strawberry sorbet within the middle and a pistachio crumble sprinkled over that. Her chocolate tart provides her an opportunity to point out off about half a dozen totally different results she will work with chocolate, beginning with a crunchy, crumbly, virtually salty chocolate crust, shifting on to a delicate, soufflé-like filling and ending with curls of darkish chocolate.
Ms. Ameni’s aspect of the kitchen can be answerable for the savory churros full of Gruyère sauce — the menu calls them fritters, they style like gougères and the feel is one thing else totally. Also her work: the miniature loaf of pull-apart bread that seems after you order. With dried olives on high and olive tapenade between each skinny slice, it is among the most memorable elements of the meal.
Even the compulsory scoops of ice cream that eating places appear required to supply aren’t allowed to depart her pastry station till they’ve been was a composed dessert, and never some type of slapdash sundae, both. Satsuma ice cream will get to put on a toasted turban of marshmallowy meringue and a few cracked honeycomb sweet on the aspect. The impact is witty and scrumptious, progressing from purely candy to bittersweet to tart and bittersweet.
Mr. Kent’s savory dishes pursue the identical technique. This is to say, they commonly over-deliver, beginning with the iced Wellfleet oysters dressed with cucumber jelly, diced cucumbers, grains of jalapeño and microleaves of purple shiso. An virtually absurdly creamy purée of white bean hummus beneath a fiery purple slick of melted ’nduja might be meant to be shared, however as quickly as I’d tasted it I got here up with different concepts, as my dinner company will testify.
Two tartares present Mr. Kent’s expertise for carrying shiny new concepts with him into well-traveled territory. In the primary, he laces hand-chopped uncooked beef with toasted walnuts and earthy rye croutons; within the different, chopped uncooked snapper is sprinkled with particular person juice-filled vesicles of grapefruit, lime, lemon and orange that pop between your enamel, a type of instantaneous, interactive ceviche.
The Gruyère fritters are constructed like churros full of cheese sauce.CreditDaniel Krieger for The New York Times
Maybe one or two concepts ought to have been left by the aspect of the highway. The hen liver ragù tossed with housemade cavatelli doesn’t should be so candy with sherry; a tough pesto is a positive use for recent chickpeas, however isn’t there a greater associate for it than shaved jicama?
All is forgiven when Mr. Kent turns a mainstay like grilled hen right into a major course as thrilling because the one at Crown Shy, which retains the sunshine brightness of its citrus marinade, and is served with a purée-slash-hot sauce of fermented sizzling and candy peppers.
The vivid orange of that sizzling sauce virtually matches the marble within the foyer. But Crown Shy’s two huge eating rooms and prolonged bar are just a little extra restrained, dominated by cream tones, blond wooden tables, and chairs with saddle-brown leather-based seats and backs. The solely echoes of grandeur are the large home windows and the ceiling excessive up overhead.
The wine listing is one to get misplaced in. Finance wizards with bonuses to expunge can definitely do this, nevertheless it’s nice to see numerous bottles beneath $100 on virtually each web page. Anyone who is aware of what a few of these wines value wholesale will have the ability to find any variety of good offers, however even the unschooled will discover the worth areas. They leap off the web page: Portugal, Greece and New Zealand, for example, together with huge stretches of Germany and pockets of Spain, France and Italy.
With so many strengths, Crown Shy will need to have a minimum of one factor mistaken with it. And sure, it does. Obviously that identify is ridiculous. Knowing that it refers to a bent of very tall timber to not let their higher tales develop into their neighbors’ branches doesn’t assist, both. But we must always in all probability get used to it, as a result of we’re going to be listening to extra about this restaurant.
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