Away from the hustle of New York’s 23rd St. lies one of the latest gastronomic additions overlooking the (relative) tranquillity of Madison Square Park. The Clocktower is a chic, multi-room establishment run by renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr and Chef Jason Atherton, offering contemporary, British-inspired cuisine.
The Clocktower is one of many in Stephen Starr’s portfolio of fine restaurants in New York and the United States. It comes with the opening of the latest Edition Hotel in New York, remoulded in the boutique image of Ian Schrager, with whom the category of ‘boutique’ is so well-associated.
This is not the first time Schrager and Atherton have worked together. What London Metro called “restaurant of the decade” was the fruits of their previous collaboration at the London Edition – Berners Tavern. But it is Atherton’s first venture this side of the Atlantic, having previously set up shop in places like Hong Kong, Australia and Dubai. An alumnus of the Gordon Ramsay Group, where he spent nine years expanding the Maze brand, Atherton has since carved out his own reputation for securing Michelin stars in record time (just six months at Pollen Street Social, the Mayfair feather in his cap).
The Clocktower accommodates 90 covers at any one time, although lavishly distributed across three large dining rooms. The atmosphere is a warm blend of stained ebony oak and velvet seats – gold leaf framed pictures of American icons of the recent past embellish the walls. A vibrating glow from the Christian Liaigre floor lamps is underpinned by the nearby bar and billiards room, also exuding a vintage yet more lively style. Here expertly crafted cocktails – originals and classics – through interesting combinations of whiskey, syrups and coffee, are sipped in harmony with the warm surroundings.
The restaurant is open all day, offers a seasonal menu combining contemporary, transatlantic cuisine with the odd British classic thrown in. Where else could one choose between Fish n’ Chips with mushy peas and ‘Long Island duck breast’ served with plum and shallot chutney, foie gras, chanterelles and lemon thyme jus? The menu does a few things well – with an eye on tradition, a respect for it, and not trying too hard to ‘be ahead’. The well-sourced wine menu offers a good range from every imaginable region and sub-region, old and new world – there is something (excellent) for every taste. This perhaps best epitomises what the Clocktower is all about.
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