Where to eat like a Rockefeller: From clams casino to steak Diane, vintagedishes live on
You might listen to Billie Holiday, smell of Chanel No. 5, watch Downton Abbey religiously and dress like a character on Mad Men, but your retro vibe is still missing one key factor: Food.
There's no shortage of century-old favorites still hanging around modern menus — eggs benedict, shrimp cocktail or coq au vin, anyone? — but while more homestyle classics have seen a resurgence, former staples of fine dining are hard to find. Hard, but not impossible.
Rich and frequently alcoholic, these dishes come from a gilded age when more meant more — especially on your plate.
Clams Casino — Strip House.
It's impossible not to feel like Frank Sinatra when eating clams casino. Sitting around the vintage half-naked portraits of women Frank Sinatra may or may not have had sex with only adds to the effect. Even if that wasn't the case, these clams are on the half shell with breadcrumbs and bacon with a zest of lemon. What's not to love?
Lobster Thermidor — Rainbow Lodge
Rainbow Lodge manages to include a mix of modern and classic meat, game and seafood dishes, and the lobster thermidor is a specialty. The meat from a whole Maine lobster is cooked with egg yolk, oyster mushrooms and cognac, stuffed back into the lobster shell, topped with cheese, and finished with a dijon mousseline at the table.
Crêpe Suzette — Philippe Restaurant + Lounge
Even Ricky Bobby loves crêpe suzette. He wants to crawl inside one right now. So why are they so hard to find?
Sweet Paris and CoCo's Crepes both make a lemon and sugar crêpe with vanilla ice cream, but it's missing the critical Grand Marnier set on fire. For the an authentic suzette flavor, try the Grand Marnier crêpe soufflé at Philippe, served with some vanilla bean swirled in as well.
Baked Alaska — Fluff Bake Bar
The most creative (and only) version of Baked Alaska I ever had was served on a stick by Rebecca Masson, who browned the exterior meringue a la minute with a blowtorch. But that was a special event inspired by her Top Chef: Just Desserts team.
Masson (via her Fluff Bake Bar shop inside Revival Market) doesn't generally serve Baked Alaska, but she will for special orders. Or you could try out a more traditional version at Oceanaire or Strip House.
Oysters Rockefeller — Tony Mandola's
When it comes to taking it back old-school, nobody does Gulf coast cuisine like Tony Mandola's, so it's no surprise that oysters Rockefeller — a New Orleans invention — are front and center on the menu, served with spinach dressing and topped with Hollandaise sauce.
Steak Diane — Carmelo's
It's nothing to look at, but Steak Diane literally oozes luxury. At Carmelo's it starts with a filet mignon that's sauteed in garlic butter with mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and brandy, the slightly more Italian version of a Steak au poivre.
Still too light? it also comes with a side of fettuccine alfredo.