Simon & the Whale

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80 Good

Gabe Stulman takes on the hotel restaurant at the Freehand.

23 Lexington Ave., New York, NY, 10010

212-475-1920

http://freehandhotels.com/new-york/simon-and-the-whale/

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The lowdown

Like Danny Meyer, Gabe Stulman has a history of finding promising chefs, like Matt Griffin at this lower Lexington Avenue hotel restaurant, and empowering them to do ambitious things. Like the appetizers, the modest entrée list is dotted with familiar dishes reworked in all sorts of creative, unfamiliar ways, like fusilli pasta spooned with pig-head ragù, the crunchy, refreshingly porky pork Milanese made with an earthy cut of collar, and the whole fish for two, which comes with a flavoring of Madras curry. The house baker is the renowned Zoe Kanan, there are plenty of eclectic, well-chosen wines to consider, and the selection of desserts ranges into the kind of experimental territory rarely seen anymore around this profiterole- and panna cotta–saturated town.

Adam Platt

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What you need to know

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized