If you pay any attention to restaurants in this town, you have undoubtedly heard the outrageous (and also definitely false) statistic that goes something like, "90% of restaurants in New York City close after the first year." We have a better idea for a statistic that is far more accurate, and it goes like this: "100% of New York restaurants will cease to merit reviews or media attention after their first twelve months in business." If you didn't open recently, or you already got your review, you better hope for a kitchen fire or a presidential visit to get you back in the headlines. We'd like to change that. And we'd like to start with Betony.
In September of last year, we dropped an 8.7 on this new Midtown fine dining establishment that surprised us with its relaxed, creative, and exciting approach to fine dining in a formal environment. We're back today to tell you that not only is this still one of the best restaurants in this city - it's even better than it used to be.
We've been to enough five-star, Michelin-celebrated establishments by now to know what we don't like about them. Usually, it comes down to a distaste for rules, and for people who take themselves too seriously. I don't want to have to eat from an extraordinarily expensive tasting menu, and I don't want to deal with a sommelier who's gonna make me feel like a dick if I order the "cheapest" bottle of wine on the menu for a hundred bucks. I guess the point here is that great restaurants shouldn't only be designed for rich people who love Bordeaux and struggle with gout. They should be for middle class people who aspire to their own diseases of excess too. And that's exactly why we love Betony. This is a place that seems to understand our (and surely many other people's) reservations about big-ticket meals, and even despite their Midtown location, they know how to cater to people other than just media tycoons and their mistresses. We'd come spend our money here over any number of downtown fine dining establishments, including (and especially) Batard.
If you still have yet to eat at Betony, let us explain what is unique about the approach here. For all diners, the menu is set up like a traditional tasting - three courses, with several things to choose from in each course. But everything on the menu is ordered individually. You can also order a great bottle of wine for under $50. Or, you can choose to drink cocktails with your meal and not be scoffed at. As a matter of fact, they'll probably encourage it, considering the fact that they've put so much effort into making high quality cocktails here.
It's all surprisingly informal, considering the level at which this place operates on, and the strangely ornate room that you'll be eating in. As a matter of fact, we should probably discuss the dining room. This space was previously occupied by another tenant, the first New York outpost of a famously ostentatious restaurant in Moscow. They're the ones that designed it to look Tywin Lannister's velvet party chamber, and Betony opted not to change it. Smart move? That probably depends on how serious you are.
The menu changes constantly at Betony, so in the Food Rundown below we're opting to simply show you some examples of ridiculously delicious things you can eat here rather than give you a play-by-play on each individual time. You really can't go wrong, but our best advice is to order what sounds good, ask a lot of questions, and eat some foie gras.