The city has more restaurants than one can count, even more bars, but very few truly lounge-worthy eateries, and even fewer that openly welcome and cater to LGBTQ patrons. Kim Stolz and Amanda Leigh Dunn met minds upon their return from L.A. and decided that what NYC was lacking was a lounge like the ones they left behind. Stolz explained “West hollywood is a mecca for the LGBT community and coming back to NY we felt like there was a huge hole, so we sought to fill it and have gotten great traction. I think people are really happy with what The Dalloway has become.” The partners set about making their dream come alive at 525 Broome Street.
Co-owner Kim Stolz is a self-proclaimed “Virginia Woolf fanatic”, so Woolf’s image adorns various corners of the lounge. The fabulous cocktails are named by flavor after Woolf’s characters, and even the receipts end with the namesake’s quotes. The vibe is old-world, but clean, classy, and with a serious kick to the menu. Stolz and Dunn joined forces with chef Vanessa Miller to create a menu featuring eclectic food items to accompany their cocktails. Miller set about developing small yet shareable dishes, that include the “sweet to balance spicy, light to balance heaviness/richness, and also in a lot of cases a cold component to balance out a hot component,” however, she added ”the challenge with small plates is being able to accomplish all this and still keep a dish down to 4 or 5 bites, something that me and my team work really hard to do and have been succesful at so far.” Miller is ambitious and my purpose here is to attest to her success in balancing the many components she works with and creating new tastes out of classic dishes.
To that point, I ate much of what is on their month-old menu last weekend, and the more I tried the less certain I was of what I would recommend…because it just got better and better with every bite. There is an assortment of fresh, crispy flatbreads topped with always-delecatable combinations like mozzarella and tomato and lesser-used pairs like dried figs and pecorino (topped with honey and peanuts, this particular item was bold, sweet, savory, and had just the right amount of crunch). The recipes that add up to a balanced meal -such as the gnocci with spicy lamb ragu, fried chicken with a perfectly crunchy, sweet-zesty maple chipotle batter, and the superbly tender short-rib over a sweet cornbread puree, and deep, tart cherry sauce are all sure to be the favorites that regulars will never need to decide between! You’ve got to love the idea of eating everything on a menu, sharing it, and leaving for the dance party downstairs satisfied…brava for the small plate revolution!
On another foodie note, one thing that impressed me very much was that I forgot all about dessert. This has never happened before and caused me to pause and think back on what I had just eaten. Nothing tasted too sweet- not even the cocktails registered as “sugar”. I quickly, and with great satisfaction, realized that Miller’s work was so balanced in flavor that I was satisfied in the sweet/savory/salty/spicy/bold/pungent/bitter departments. My tongue, my brain, my belly were all very happy well before they placed the homemade “deconstructed” s’more before me. The last bite led me downstairs to join the “Ugly Sweater” holiday party (sweaterless…), a hilarious event, with many more to follow. Spend your winter nights down at 525 Broome Street: eat it all, drink it well, and *be in the comfort of your Woolfian surroundings.
Something strong- Mrs. Dalloway (of course): tip back this luxurious blend of gin, raspberry puree, lemon juice, shaken with an egg white
Something stronger- The Looking Glass: green chartreuse, lime and cucumber juice, sparkling wine and cane juice
Danielle recommended- Vita’s Closet: rum, lime and strawberries, crushed mint, sparkling wine and a touch of sugar
The Dalloway: 525 Broome Street, NYC // 212-966-9620