Swifty’s: A Society Legend Still Rules

Swifty’s has charm from its ceiling to its floors. It’s got a classy clubhouse feel with huge portions of luxury American comfort food. The surroundings are such that you feel like you’ve been there before even if it’s your first time through its doors. The staff seem like old friends and they are friendly without ever being intrusive upon your meal and/or conversation.

My appetizer was the wonderful artichoke with Bernaise-style dipping sauce served cold and it was very satisfying (they are actually willing to serve it hot or cold. As far as entrees go, Swifty’s is famous for their Cheese Souffle (yes, there is a bit of a classic French fare influence on their menu), but I was in the mood for Steak Poivre. It was a big grassfed New York Strip–about 14 ounces–with an Au Poivre sauce that would make Julia Child proud. When the sauce dripped onto my golden fries, it was a super-decadent moment that I enjoyed immensely. As a matter of fact, it made my night!

For sides I had the super tender Haricots Verts, the divine Herbed Rice (covered in three or four green herbs fresh from the Union Square Farmer’s Market) and their famous Fried Onions (which are addicting fried strips of onions). All were very fresh and tasty. The Vegetarian Burritos are technically an entree, but I enjoyed having them as a side as well. The veggies were grilled and perfectly tender.

My dining partner Cindi and I ordered the homemade Carrot Cake and Apple Tart for dessert. They were huge portions and it’s great to know that all desserts are made on Swifty’s premises including their legendary ice cream. The Carrot Cake is unusual in that it looks more like a walnut cake with its creamy beige cream cheese icing and tons of nuts in the batter, and the Apple Tart is done in the classic French way with huge horizontal slices of apple that seem to have been marinated in port wine.

Swifty’s is a legendary Upper East Side experience. It’s got a great back room for parties and there are always new artists’ paintings on display (that are available for purchase). It’s truly a neighborhood institution that is homey and classy at the same time and seems to be the local neighborhood place for both the older and the newer Upper East Side residents to wine and dine

Swifty’s does wonderful catering as well. I fondly recall all the great parties thrown by the late fashion world legend Eleanor Lambert at her Fifth Avenue apartment each fashion week and how there was a huge spread of Swifty’s classic comfort food–including world-class baked ham and turkey–on her huge dining room table for guests to graze on. That was my first exposure to Swifty’s wonderful eats. Definitely keep them in mind for holiday gatherings and special occasions.

For more info on Swifty’s (located at 73rd Street and Lexington Avenue), go to www.swiftysnyc.com. Reservations are recommended but not mandatory. UPDATE: NOW CLOSED–REST IN PEACE. THIS PLACE WAS AN UES LEGEND!

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