Mon-Fri, noon-11pm; Sat-Sun, 11:30am-11pm
6 at 68th St.-Hunter College; 6 at 77th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Despite an unbearable noise level, cramped tables, and a dingy brown motif broken up by oil paintings of foxhunters, sailing ships, and the pug that's the restaurant logo, Swifty's is always packed. The patrons, universally on in years, come for the top-notch takes on highly traditional American cooking, with an emphasis on New Englandstyle softshell crabs, Nantucket Bay scallops, Hudson Valley foie gras, and the like. While the menu rarely strays from standards like burgers, battered onion rings, and "Swifty’s Slaw," the food doesn't need any twists to stand out. In addition to seafood like mahi mahi in a pineapple salsa, there is a selection of grilled steaks, plus chicken in various guises, including curried. Boneless baby chicken with mango chutney is served with bread crisps, set on basmati rice in a bright curry sauce. It hits just the right note of tart and sweet, crunchy and smooth; no fusion influences are needed. Desserts, including a line of Swifty's homemade ice creams, are equally appealing; baked Alaska comes with a macadamia nut caramel ice cream on a dense banana cake bed, covered in banana-flavored meringue baked into tiny peaks, reminding you simultaneously of summer camp and a New England sweet shop.Recommended Dishes
Banana foster baked Alaska, $12