I went to Employees Only 510 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 in that snow storm Thursday night, thinking it would be empty. It was not. The long bar is packed with people and I was a little jealous of those that got to watch and interact with the mixologists. They were all in chef whites, smiling and chatting, filling glasses with beautiful looking cocktails. Still, I was glad I made a reservation for the restaurant section (in the back) because that guaranteed me and Mary a spot. Plus, our waitress was wonderful as well.

I’ve often heard of Employees Only being the place for wonderful cocktails, and it is. Mary had the Amelia (Luksusowa Potato Vodka & St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur shaken with pureed Blackberries & Fresh Lemon Juice), which was thickened and sweetened just-so by the fruit puree. So impressed, she tried another, the West Side (Charbay Meyer Lemon Vodka and Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice shaken with Fresh Mint, served straight up), an adults lemonade.


My Ginger Smash (Muddled Ginger Root & Fresh Cranberries shaken with Plymouth Gin, Berentzen Apple Liqueur & Fresh Lemon Juice served over ice) was a potent showing of the spicy root, while still feeling balanced in a very calculated way.

Ginger Smash

I had gone in with the understanding that I was here to try some great drinks, so I was pleasantly surprised with the care taken over service and food in the back. Our waitress had sincere recommendations, turning us onto a Hand-Cut Steak Tartar, mixed for you table-side. Watch as the sea salt, pepper, capers, Worcestershire, and hot sauce (if you choose) are added and given a vigorous whipping into the beef, herbs, and egg yolks. Eaten with thin crispy toasts, it’s fresh and feels light, probably the best tartar I’ve had.

Hand-Cut Steak Tartar before mixing 2

Mary had a generous piece of pan-seared salmon with a beautiful golden crust. The artichoke, fingerling, and mache salad with a mayo-based dressing is a little heavier, a nice match to the simplicity of a plain but perfect fish fillet.

Pan Seared Salmon

I had a special of Prawns a la Plancha. Each body had the crisp snap, each head was juicy, and I’ve told you how much I like prawn heads. The dark greens were soaked in a vinaigrette and sprinkled with pistachios. It was quite sour but it seemed so right that way. I even dipped more bread into the warm dressing.

Prawns a la Plancha

I was then about to be surprised again, with quite a dessert, a unique Mascarpone Cheesecake. It was lighter than the usual New York style, as our waitress had promised. I already love the mild creamy finesse of marscapone, but here it was given a new texture, almost pudding/jello-like. The caramel was a wonderful sweeter compliment, with accents of sea salt on top. It’s the perfect dessert to share.

Mascarpone Cheesecake

Aside from the darkness (which fits their speakeasy style), I have no complaints. The meal (3 cocktails, an appetizer, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert) is reasonably priced for around $148 (including tax and tip). I will be back!

posted by jessica at 09:53 AM Filed under American and New American, Cocktails and Liquor, Drinks, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.