Bill's Food & Drink
57 E. 54th St.
This venue is closed.
John Delucie’s makeover of the old Bill’s Gay Nineties townhouse space on 54th Street is another pricey new midtown restaurant that hews closely to a careworn formula. DeLucie and his partners have left the bottom floor of the legendary old saloon more or less intact, complete with ersatz sports photos hung crookedly on the walls and an aged piano player tinkling away in a corner of the room. But the vaulted upstairs dining room at Bill’s Food & Drink has been decorated in the style of their popular downtown establishment, the Lion, with deer heads, an ancient ship’s wheel, and random portraits of old tycoons. Like at the Lion, the menu has an assortment of ye olde plutocrat specialties (Osetra caviar, Delmonico steak, bacon chops), and if your friends happen to be hungry (or, God forbid, thirsty), you’ll be lucky to escape the joint with a bill under $500.
My last meal cost exactly $660.71, for four people, plus tip, but minus the cost of an excellent Bordeaux (Château Cherubin ’06), which my friend paid for out of the kindness of his heart. Our feast included some borderline sludgy yellowfin-tuna crudo ($21), several oversauced pastas, and a delicious egg-and-cheese fonduta dotted with black truffles. We eschewed the $65 foie gras in favor of the $45 lobster fra diavolo, which was an oily mess. The steaks tasted like bad London broil on my first visit, but they’re better now, although to procure the best ones (the porterhouse, the rib eye), you’ll have to fork over a total of $183. The most economical option is the loup de mer ($29), and if you’re still hungry, I suggest the soft-serve ice cream, which, in classic plutocrat style, comes in a frosty silver cup.