Diamond Designation: Three Diamond (Trendy food skillfully presented in a remarkable setting. Learn more about AAA Diamonds.)
Address: 132 W. 44th St., New York, N.Y.
Signature Dish: The Lambs Club Burger
Looking for a midtown restaurant that feels as classy as Broadway itself? Located inside the AAA Four Diamond Chatwal Hotel, The Lambs Club is a stylish choice.
Chef and restauranteur Geoffrey Zakarian – whom you may recognize from Food Network as one of the stars of “The Kitchen” or as a judge on “Chopped” – and his staff, serve up seasonal American bistro and grill-style dishes with signature modern flair. Dressed in pops of show curtain red, the decor feels appropriately theatrical and tastefully retro.
While dinner options like the dry-aged Delmonico steak, Pekin duck breast and lobster spaghetti impress, nothing hits the spot like a burger done right. The signature TLC burger found on the bar and lunch menus comes topped with craveable fixings like crispy fried shallots and a tangy secret sauce. Three-course prix fixe menus are also available for pre-theater ($65) and matinee lunch ($45).
The eatery takes its cocktails and wine selection seriously, too; the wine list features an extensive by-the-glass selection along with a knowledgeable staff to help you find the perfect pairing.
The restaurant is named after The Lambs, America’s first professional theatrical club, which called the building home at the turn of the century. Members of the prestigious thespian society – which is still active today – have included such recognizable names as Charlie Chaplin, George M. Cohan and Fred Astaire.
Further honoring the history of the space, the enormous 18th-century, fully restored French limestone fireplace prominently displayed in the dining room was a gift to The Lambs from the building’s architect, Stanford White.
It’s open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as for brunch on the weekends with live music. The prices are in line with what’s expected in the theater district, but it’s the stellar food, service and atmosphere that make The Lambs Club stand out. As noted by a AAA inspector, “It’s for good reason that this [restaurant] is favored for the midtown business elite to see and be seen.”
The Lambs Club Burger and Fries
1 tablespoon canola oil
Sea salt, to taste
1 pound ground beef (40% chuck, 40%, brisket, 20% fat), formed into two 8-ounce burger patties
2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 brioche or challah rolls
2 tablespoons LC sauce (recipe below)
1 ounce fried shallots (recipe below) or fried onions
2 bibb lettuce leaves
2 half-sour pickle spears
Heat a cast-iron pan over a high flame. Add the oil. Once oil is at its smoking point, season the burgers with sea salt and sear on both sides until heavily caramelized.
Cook burgers to desired temperature. Top with cheddar cheese after they’ve rested for 5 minutes. Wipe the pan clean.
Spread the butter on the buns and toast the buns in the same pan with a little of the rendered beef fat.
Spread the LC Sauce on both sides of the toasted buns and sprinkle on fried shallots. Top with lettuce leaves and burger patties. Serve with pickle spears and french fries.
Makes 2 burgers
1 ¼ cups mayonnaise
2/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cornichons, chopped
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Coarse kosher salt and fresh-cracked pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Reserve sauce in a quart-size container with airtight lid.
Makes 2 cups
5 ounces shallots, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1 quart canola oil, for frying
Coarse kosher salt, to taste
Combine the shallots and cold oil a pot twice the volume of the oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure no sticking and even cooking.
Once shallots are golden and almost crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the oil and place on a plate with paper towels to drain. Season with kosher salt.
Makes enough for 5 burgers
1 ½ pound high-starch potatoes, such as Idaho
2 quarts canola oil
Coarse sea salt, to taste
Wash and scrub the potatoes thoroughly, but do not peel. Cut into batons, ½ inch by ½ inch by 4 inches. Rinse in cold water three times. Soak the potatoes in fresh, clean water overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, heat the oil to 350 degrees in a heavy-bottomed pot. Make sure the oil doesn’t fill the pot by more than a third, so it won’t bubble over when you add the potatoes. Prepare a sheet pan with absorbent towels. Drain the potatoes and dry. Fry for 3 minutes, then remove the blanched fries from the oil with a mesh skimmer. Rest the fries on the prepared sheet pan for at least 15 minutes.
To finish, change the absorbent towels on the sheet pan. Return the fries to the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes or until crispy, then remove with a mesh skimmer. Place the fries on the prepared sheet pan and season liberally with sea salt. Serve while hot and crispy.
Makes 4 portions
For more AAA-approved signature dishes, visit AAA.com/DiamondDish.