The Surf Club Restaurant

Very expensive? Perhaps. But, in a city where so many restaurants promise a dose of old school glamour, The Surf Club is one of the few that truly delivers. The restaurant (which is from a chef whose last name rhymes with smeller) is located inside the Four Seasons Hotel, a historic property that will make you feel like Elizabeth Taylor stepping out for a night of whatever it was they did for fun in the ’50s.

The menu reads like a greatest hits of dishes your grandparents probably loved. But the Surf Club makes them feel (and taste) exciting, not stuffy and boring. The tableside caesar is perfectly salty, and the $138 beef wellington is—yes—so freaking expensive but also one of the most memorable pieces of beef you’ll ever try. Dessert is outstanding too, especially the sundae.

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Still, if food was the only reason to come here, we’d be on the fence about whether or not to make a reservation, dress up, and spend all this money on a piece of meat that costs as much as a gently-used pair of AirPods. But what really boosts The Surf Club to the plane of “worth it” status is the fact that they nail fine dining hospitality. The staff provides the kind of service that might make you start using words like “marvelous” or fight the urge to address your server as “garçon.” Salads are tossed and meat is carved tableside with the precision of a neurosurgeon. If you whip out your phone to document your $85 lobster thermidor (only for tax purposes of course), a very non-judgemental hand might appear to tilt a lamp towards your plate. And this happens whether or not you’re here to drop $1,000, or drink water and do your damndest to keep things under $200.

This is no doubt a special occasion restaurant that should be used sparingly. Like a terrifying roller coaster or a cross-country road trip, this might be a restaurant you only need to experience once. But it is worth experiencing.

Food Rundown

Deviled Eggs

These are the cheapest things on the menu at $4 each, and whether or not you’re trying to stick to a budget, they are a great first bite to a luxurious meal. Plus, they won’t fill you up too much.

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Classic Caesar Salad

Like your friend who lacks a sense of direction, absolutely no shortcuts are taken with this tableside caesar. The dressing is made from scratch in a bowl right before your eyes, then tossed with lettuce so crunchy it tastes like they just picked it 30 seconds ago.

Prime Beef Short Rib Wellington

Desert island, final meal on earth, the only thing we can eat on our birthday for the rest of our lives—whatever hypothetical food scenario you invent, this wins. The wellington is carved tableside, revealing meat cooked to edge-to-edge perfection. It’s then covered with a dark sauce périgourdine in an act that can only be described as erotic. The entire thing is so tender you can almost cut it with an intense glare. It serves two, but you could honestly split it between three.

Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes

We can’t tell you about the wellington without also telling you about these potatoes. This side dish should be on the table regardless, but if you order any piece of red meat, it’s non negotiable. They are so unbelievably fluffy and buttery we were kind of scared they’d float away and we’d have just wasted $16.

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