Welcome to Balthazar for bankers.
If you know Keith McNally restaurants, you know Augustine. It’s another in a series of extremely successful restaurants by the restauranteur who made his name on selling steak tartare under warm lights and antiqued mirrors - a cool French brasserie in every sense, except only if you consider hanging out in a room full of people wearing Brooks Brothers “cool.”
But Augustine is right in the middle of a neighborhood that could desperately use some more cool, even if it is the “Mom went shopping at Opening Ceremony” kind. One of two restaurants in the beautiful Beekman Hotel, this is a badly needed upgrade over Bobby Van’s and The Capital Grille, or whatever other terrible place you had to have a client meeting in because you were trapped in this part of town. It’s even worth considering if you’re looking for a spot for Date Night downtown but you’re tired of Freemans and scared of the people at Le Turtle. The energy in the room is great, the menu is large and varied, and the food is mostly excellent.
There are, however, some drawbacks. The Beekman Hotel has become such a FiDi destination that Augustine is almost always packed full of people. The room itself, grand and spacious when empty, starts to feel extremely cramped when seated to capacity and full of people drinking at the bar. Tables for two are uncomfortable. And the food - as good as it may be - is also really heavy. This is not a place for a light meal before you go jogging.
Then again, if you’re a banker who works in this area, any drawbacks Augustine may have are immaterial. This is a great new restaurant for the FiDi area. And you’re too busy closing deals to go jogging anyway.
This is a good decision, assuming you’re the type that eats bone marrow, in addition to having it.
A great, classic steak tartare. Go with god.
Did you know that “spaghettini” is the French word for spaghetti? It isn’t. Provenance aside, this is a very good pasta.
An incredible take on the French classic, this plate of sliced duck breast also comes with a little pouch of duck confit on the side. Eat all of it.
You want a chicken? You got a chicken. Most things from the “rotisserie” part of the Augustine menu are good, and this is no exception.