The Lambs Club, Geoffrey Zakarian's New Midtown Spot
Lamb salad with pine nuts and polenta.
The best reason to go to the Lambs Club is the design -- red leather banquettes, silvery art deco flourishes, and a fireplace so gigantic and grand that it could be a Harry Potter set piece. The food can be thought of as old-school Continental meets modern American bistro -- steak tartare and sweetbreads, plus seared scallops and a "heritage" pork chop.
Sadly, at least on first impression, the food is all just fine, but lacks a sense of excitement. Braised octopus is wonderfully tender, but its sauce is weirdly bland and in need of salt even though it includes bacon. Sweetbreads are moderately crisp on the outside but contain a fair amount of gristle.
The best dish we tried last night was the saddle of lamb, the meat cooked perfectly medium-rare, musky and juicy.
On the plus side, the service is relaxed and expert, and the bread is delicious and arrives with a small bowl of beautiful crudites -- green, purple, and white cauliflower -- with lemony dressing.
But if you'd like to have a drink, better bring Daddy Warbucks. Cocktails range from $16 to $18, and there's nothing to distinguish them from cocktails at other upscale restaurants that cost much less. Glasses of wine run from $14 to $20. A moderate pour of thin, middling Rioja cost $16 -- about $5 too much.
The Lambs Club
132 West 44th Street