I am thrilled to say that I can now join the ranks of the fortunate few who have tried (and loved) former Eleven Madison Park executive sous-chef Bryce Shuman’s Midtown marvel Betony.
The amber-lit duplex sandwiched between office blocks, is lined with impressive wood-carved panels up the walls and across the ceiling. Not a single details gets in the way of arguably one of the best dining experiences the city has to offer. The menu is focused and filler-free, the service is meticulously synchronized, the staff are knowledgeable and approachable, even the seats are sumptuous and cozy.
Shuman encourages his diners to choose from each of the three menu sections to create their own sharing degustation experience. All the hors D’Oeuvres are conveniently built into dispute-free bites of 4, the appetizers require a bit more congenial surgery, whereas the main courses discard the notion of brotherly love entirely.
The Lobster Rolls have a zesty lobster-créme piped inside little crispy cigarillos, which sit on a bed of parsley infused salt-n-vinegar chip crumbs. The hot Foie Gras served with crispy kale and a salty ham broth underscores the incredible caramel flavor of the liver. The Short Rib could have stopped traffic, not only by virtue of the complexity of its dark flavors but also because it is served with a formidable rib bone to which the tender meat clings for dear life. The Poached Lobster bathed in almond foam and covered with asparagus was cooked until 3 perfect heartbeats before the succulent flesh would have become firm.
And finally, the dish that all hoopla is about – the Roasted Chicken! Why is it that so much fuss is being made over baked poultry this far west of the Mississippi? Commerce, Eataly, The Nomad and so many others vie for top hen, and now Betony adds its sublimely memorable and utterly unique contender to that list. A delicate slither of the moistest breast sits on a smear of pea, accompanied by chicken & mint Au Jus with a side salad of dark meat. Unbelievable!
Shuman does an interesting take on desserts by offering an identical trio structure (cake, gelato and mousse) in a variety of interesting and quirky flavor combinations, like Dark chocolate, Olive oil and Bergamot, or Amaranth, Maple and Banana. We settled on the subtle yet sweet Passion Fruit, Ginger and Cilantro to round out my meal of the month for May!