Mon-Thu, 5pm-11pm; Fri, noon-midnight; Sat, 10:30am-3:30pm and 5pm-midnight; Sun, 10:30am-3:30pm and 5pm-10pm
6 at Bleecker St.
Appetizers, $10 to $17; entrees, $18 to $58.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
The East Village’s Saxon + Parole is another restaurant in an old, oft-occupied space. The slightly disjointed room on the corner of Bleecker and the Bowery used to house Double Crown, which served a grab bag of fusion dishes oriented toward the old British Empire and featured an excellent speakeasy-style gin bar. The bar is still intact, but the owners have scrapped the old teak-heavy Colonial motif in favor of a cleaner, more typical modern brasserie look (whitewashed brick, lots of wood rafters) by the well-known design firm AvroKO. The restaurant’s name is a reference to two famous racehorses, and the new menu features grilled meats and “aquatic delights,” which is a fancy way of describing the kind of bankable, run-of-the mill surf-and-turf specialties (steak for two, a pork chop) which you’ll find in bistros all over this stolid, meat-and-potatoes-soaked town.
“Why are these restaurants all the same?” exclaimed one of the weary gourmands at my table as we pondered the “S + P Dry Aged Angus Burger,” which was served with a mass of soggy fries and topped, in a vain attempt at haute-burger originality, with melted Havarti and a fried egg. You can complement your S + P Burger with pots of smooth chicken-liver mousse (served, predictably, in Weck pots), or roasted marrow bones with a parmesan-caper crust, watercress, pickled red onions, and radish. In addition to the de rigueur pork chop (with roasted apple, goat-cheese black pudding polenta, and kale here), I have vague memories of a nice but pricey cut of New York strip ($58) with a pot of tired-looking béarnaise on the side. The desserts are professionally cooked, but like most things at this stylishly generic restaurant, you’ve seen many of them—crème brulee, doughnuts served in a little metal bucket—a thousand times before.
Chicken-liver mousse or bone marrow, New York strip steak.