Very few restaurants in Manhattan can offer you the opportunity to eat a $36 lobster salad out of a $3,000 handbag. Fred's at Barneys is one of them.
Will they actually serve you the food in the bag? No. But if you spend the money downstairs, who's to say what you can or can't do with your Céline? That's the free market at its finest, and if you're shopping/eating here, you may have been the beneficiary of some free market economics.
The real question is, why on earth are we reviewing a famous department store restaurant? Because it's hilarious, that's why. Nowhere else will you find such an entertaining mix of blown-out 55-going-on-22 moms, burnt-out post-college city natives, and people who think they look like celebrities but most definitely aren't. Fred's isn't so much about the food as the atmosphere - but the hand-cut french fries are arguably more of a reason to go to Barneys than Barneys itself. Their green goddess salad dressing is also a supernatural enigma, making otherwise boring vegetables like pea shoots seem appetizing (see: chopped chicken salad.)
If you do end up at Fred's (grandma in town from Boca?), do yourself a favor and embed yourself in the experience. Split one of the house made pizzas and a salad with the table, or the delicious chicken soup. There for dinner? Braised pork bolognese. Just don't make eye contact with any of the regulars. Legend has it you'll turn into stone.
Estelle's Chicken Soup
Listed on the menu as "grandma's recipe to cure colds & stay thin," we initially thought this was just soup with a side of criticism. Turns out it's quietly one of the best chicken soups in NYC, and beats any Jewish deli by a mile.
Fred's Chopped Chicken Salad
Fred's is famous for all of its overpriced salads, but this is one of our favorites. A creamy mix of avocado, onion, tomato, string beans & pea shoots with diced grilled chicken. Pro tip: get it with the green goddess dressing instead of balsamic.
Oak Street Salad (AKA The $36 Lobster Salad)
A $36 lobster salad that's also got some shrimp, crab, and green goddess dressing mixed in to make you feel like you got your money's worth of crustaceans.
Prosucuitto, Arugula and Parmesan Pizza
All of the pizzas here are small, doughy, and actually pretty delicious. Maybe don't get one as a stand-alone, but instead order as a side to split with salads and your table will be happy. Get some fries too while you're at it.
Crispy Ciabatta Verdura
Crunchy, steaming, hot house-made baked ciabatta smothered in veggies, sun-dried tomato pesto, and mozzarella. Why not?
Braised Pork Bolognese
Only available for dinner. This thick pappardelle comes smothered in San Marzano tomatoes and slow-cooked, red-wine-braised pulled pork. It's excellent.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Nothing crazy, just a tasty classic. A perfect mix of light tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and steaming meatballs - for lunch or dinner.