Sourdough with Cultured Butter
Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Parfait – London Stout, Lentils du Puy, Smoked Duck Vinaigrette
Fish & Chips – Mushy Peas, Triple Cooked Chips, Tartar Sauce, Ketchup and Vinegar
Spotted Dick – Glazed Blueberries, Lemon Thyme Cream, Corn Tuille
Pink Lady Apple Tart Tatin for two – Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream
Cold Brew Coffee
Raspberry Bakewell Tart
In 2014 a trip was made to London largely for Wimbledon, a Monty Python Reunion show and The Fat Duck in Bray, but left to decide on the trip’s most surprising meal that recognition belonged to Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social, a lengthy Lunch tasting showing the Chef executing bold plates that were both technique driven and innovative, his work finally brought to America thanks to restaurateur Stephen Starr and on display at The Clocktower inside The New York EDITION Hotel.
Located up a spiral staircase inside the Met Life Building at 5 Madison Avenue, the “World’s Best Restaurant” only a few yards up the street, diners entering The Clocktower are quickly greeted at a hostess podium inside a bespoke space that is soon revealed to consist of at least five rooms inclusive of Bar, Library and Billiards plus two additional seating spaces, each decorated with dozens of framed photos featuring New York celebrities.
Trained by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Ferran Adria as well as Marco Pierre White, and now with over twenty restaurants spanning four continents, The Clocktower sees Chef Atherton taking a largely traditional approach to British Comfort Food Classics with a focus on good ingredients and time-honored technique, the weekday prix-fixe a surprisingly good deal with three courses, mignardises and a loaf of housemade Sourdough Bread with Cultured Butter for under $40.
Troubled by staff turnover ever since opening, the restaurant now on at least it’s third Executive Chef in two years, late-May 2017 saw the space only approximately 1/4 full for Lunch on the Tuesday following Memorial Day weekend and with a nearly 1:1 Staff-to-Guest ratio the service was always present without being intrusive, questions answered without a moment of hesitation and the eventual order consisting of four plates delivered over the course of about eighty minutes.
Offering three meals daily plus Brunch on weekends, each a little different with the full Dessert menu offered from 11:00am onward daily, it was as a third slice of Bread was debated that the first course arrived from the kitchen, the recently updated Liver Parfait a creamy blend of Chicken and Duck glazed in Beer alongside toasted Brioche and served atop nutty Lentils plus smoked Duck Breast and raw, warmed Vegetables.
Told that Atherton’s Fish and Chips were something that should have been sought out in London, and thus happy to see the item offered at The Clocktower even though both the Chicken and Beef also seemed tempting, it would be hard to imagine a more perfect version of the British Classic than the crunchy plank of line-caught Icelandic Cod served with smashed Peas and Triple Cooked Fries plus Malt Vinegar, Ketchup and Tartar Sauce, the outside completely oilless while the flesh inside is flaky, moist and faintly sweet.
Eating far more ‘Chips’ than usual, the thick-cut allowing for a Mashed Potato center and Golden skin, Desserts began with a seasonal steamed Pudding chockablock full of Blueberries and topped with fragrant Cream before moving on to the Pink Lady Apple Tart Tatin “for two,” the warm skillet filled by a flaky laminated base topped in caramelized Apples with more hot Caramel Sauce added tableside, the smooth Vanilla Ice Cream served in a sidecar best eaten as a melted ‘Soup’ to mellow the sweetness while the meal’s last bite, a complimentary Raspberry Bakewell Tart is warm, chewy and perfect with Coffee.