Zady Haunt: Margaux
New Yorkers, want to escape your winter doldrums? We hear you, and are happy to share our fix.
There’s a new restaurant at The Marlton Hotel, a historic West Village spot frequented by the Beat generation of writers and Golden-Age Hollywood stars before that. But we weren’t so interested in the nostalgia as what the restaurant has to offer in the way of modern-day, sustainable fare. With a global touch and elegant courses based around in-season local ingredients, Margaux, the new dining room at The Marlton, gave us a taste of where today’s food is headed: deliciously down-to-earth, and handmade with creativity and care.
Margaux has kept a relatively low profile since it officially opened a few weeks ago—a novelty in this age of Big Product Launches and Grand Openings. The room is a funky blend of Parisian bistro meets Upper East Side living room: There are dim wall sconces and ivory molding that creeps from the wainscoting to the ornate ceiling. Brass bar rails separate booths decked in maroon leather, while smaller tables line another wall of the room. There’s even seating in a solarium just outside the main dining room, a room that resembles a courtyard but with a sun roof and heating. Nouveau art posters in splashy colors add polished flair. It’s a formal dining room, yes—and the service is impeccable—but it doesn’t feel stuffy or cold in the least.
If there’s a wait for a table, don’t worry: Seat yourself at a small bar or on the comfy couches in the hotel’s lounge. Cocktails are a focal point here, perhaps thanks to those celebrated guests of yesteryear. Margaux’s General Manager, Jeremy Blutstein, recommended the Apt. 408 cocktail, named after the room Lillian Gish lived in. It’s a refreshing elixir of gin, lemon, fresh blueberries and tea-infused Curaçao, in the tradition of a sour or “Daisy” cocktail. We were able to wrangle the recipe from Jeremy:
The Apt. 408 Cocktail (makes 1 drink)
- 2oz Fords or Broker’s Gin
- ¾ oz Curaçao liqueur infused with Earl Grey tea
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
- 8 muddled blueberries
Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain and serve in a coupe glass. Pierce a blueberry with a toothpick to serve as a garnish.
On the food front, Margaux’s co–Executive Chefs Michael Reardon and Jeremy Blutstein have achieved the not-so-easy feat of creating a menu that looks cozy and easy to order from but offers adventurous complexity. When we visited in the midst of winter, hearty seasonal produce such as sweet potatoes and cauliflower featured prominently. But the chefs coax these ingredients with a Mediterranean flair—particularly with flavors of Greece. You’ll also find lamb meatballs and barrel-aged feta as small plates and starter courses on the dinner menu. A tabbouleh salad small plate enlivens the palate while melding perfectly with the more earthy, winter flavors. Moving onto entrées, house-made pastas and heartily sized main courses impressed us. While there were a satisfactory number of vegetarian meals, we savored the grilled lamb chops, with a medley of root vegetables and a bagna cauda–based sauce. Vegetables were repeated throughout the menu (kale made appearances as a salad and pasta with braised rabbit, for example), but every dish we tried was unique and imaginative enough to stand alone.
Our favorite new taste was reserved for the finale: a feta gelato. Oddly but pleasantly pliant and chewy, this ice cream had a texture unlike any other, and the usual pungency of the brined sheep’s milk cheese was softened to a murmur of salty intrigue. It takes considerable craftsmanship to make the seemingly impossible work as a dessert. But it did—and we’re inspired enough by the effort to return to Margaux just for this.