Adventures in Eating at Allen & Delancey

This past trip to NYC, I spent a lot of time on the Lower East Side. Since I was there to attend the music festival CMJ, it made sense that I would focus my trip in that area as all the clubs have been relegated there. The Lower East Side is constantly evolving and in the few short months since my last visit, a whole new crop of restaurants have popped up. One of the standouts is a new eatery called Allen & Delancey. Not surprisingly, it is located on the corner of and Delancey. Although the name is straight forward, the cuisine is anything but. I haven’t seen this creative of a menu in a really long time. Before I get to that though, I need to spend a minute on the restaurant decor.

Allen & Delancey is exactly the type of restaurant I look for when I go to NYC. It is a perfect ante dote to the busy, bustling and noisy city. The restaurant, which is tucked at the end of Allen street, is really non-descript from the outside. If you blink, you just might miss it. There is no sign to speak of.. just the soft glow of dim lights peeking out behind thick curtains. Step behind those curtains and you enter into a cozy den lit mainly by burning candles. The effect is wonderful- a perfect refuge to escape the madness of the city. We showed up rather late for dinner so we were able to get our pick of tables. We settled on a quiet corner table, settled in and began our eating adventure. 

I was feeling open-minded that night and I feel like that might be the best way to approach Allen & Delancey. The menu is really interesting and in almost every dish, there was one ingredient I have never heard of. There is actually an appetizer which contains leaves. ( I did not order it, I was not feeling like foliage). What I did decide on for a starters was caramelized bone marrow, caviar and shallot puree. It is considered one of their “signature” dishes and I can see why.  It is truly delicious. Each flavor was delicate and subtle and they blended together seamlessly. Neil Ferguson, who  spent a good deal of time under the tutelage of Gordan Ramsey, has really done an amazing job conjuring up a brilliant menu.

For my mains, I moved on to lamb chops with braised middleneck, olives and tomato confit. The lamb was made to perfection and the braised middle neck provided a nice compliment to the lamb. I completed my meal with a delicious Syrah recommended by the fabulous wait staff. I was totally taken by Allen & Delancey. It’s a really, really well done restaurant tat combines great food with incredibly warm decor. It’s a tad on the pricey side but it is worth it..particularly if you are looking for a romantic place to take your significant other. This place is tops. Dinner for two w/ a glass of wine $160.00.

Allen & Delancey – 115 Allen Street. NY, NY 10002


Uggh! Update! It turns out that Neil Ferguson has resigned from his post as head chef of Allen& Delancey as of October 28th, 2008. He is moving to the Soho House. Hopefully the restaurant will remain faithful to his delicious recipes. See here for full details on his move.


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