Mon-Fri, 6:30am-midnight; Sat-Sun, 7am-midnight
E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Fans of Sam DeMarco’s comfort food at the restaurant First, and later District, will want to know he’s back from a post-9/11 midlife crisis and romantic sabbatical in 2004 (he got married and became a dad). Now he’s turning out spicy wings and rib-eye dip in the unlikely elegance of the Omni Berkshire hotel lobby. And with the tasty overgrown sliders (White Castle on steroids with superior pickle—four to an order), you have a perfect dinner for divorced daddy’s custody-night out as well as for those of us who will never totally grow up. The spiffy lounge (butcher block, marble, stainless steel) is a sexy spot, good for a drink and a snack pre-theater, after work, a lunchtime escape from routine, even for dinner. We’re sharing an excellent Caesar “stack” (crisp romaine with white anchovies) and a not-lush-enough rigatoni carbonara the kitchen forgot to warm. Smoked prime rib, really rare, with horseradish cream is a knockout, as is the global fusion of Sichuan “duck a l’orange,” with white kimchee, steamed buns, and heady sriracha-spiked mayo. Argentina’s Kaleido Malbec from an impressive wine list is a real discovery.