There’s something about the American coast that evokes a sense of longing and nostalgia — something about growing up in a sleepy New England town meant for whale watching and harvesting the day’s catch. Imagine smoke, fog, cliffs, light houses and the crash of waves — this very something is what seafood menu dreams are made on.
Enter Simon and the Whale, the not-so-sleepy and charming “neighborhood bar” located within the popular Freehand New York hotel in the Flatiron District. Parts quaint, parts warmth, fully New York and oh-so-sophisticated, this restaurant and bar is, perhaps, restaurateur Gabriel Stulman’s answer to dining somewhere that feels very close to home.
Upon arrival, the restaurant feels very warm, dimly lit, the perfect place for reflection or a boozy night cap. The 76-seat restaurant space which features dark and moody wood-paneling, green tufted upholstery and brass light fixtures has a high-end feel, but is both warm and welcoming. Additionally, while the menu seems Mediterranean (which we also love), a closer look throws that notion out the window.
For starters, a must at Simon and the Whale is to try the restaurant’s trademark black bread (made of pumpernickel) served with taramasalata and smoked mussels served simply with wheat crackers (mmm). Or, if you’re like me and can’t wait til after dinner for dessert, order the sweet potato crostini to satisfy any sweet tooth craving. As far as entrees go, there’s more than one haunting meal. Try the ricotta gnocchi, squid ink tagliatelle (ah, squid ink) and the wild striped bass served in a warm and tasty tomato broth (yes, please)! There’s absolutely no room for ordering error, as this menu is nothing but delicious comfort food for busy New Yorkers.
Hmm, with a beautiful interior and an unfussy menu, Simon and the Whale provides the comfort and warmth of a childhood spent seaside or in a bed and breakfast town – whether you grew up by the sea or wish you did, Simon and the Whale proves it can transport one warm meal at a time.
Thank you to Simon and the Whale.
23 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010
Monday – Friday: 8 AM to 11 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 10 AM to 11 PM