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BETWEEN THE COVERS OF THE WRITING ROOM - by Gail Green, Gail Green Interiors

While not a library, albeit it’s plethora of books lining the walls, The Writing Room reveals within it’s covers an array of dining delights. The restaurant, like a well-fashioned novel, has a tripartite configuration: Dining Room, Bar Area, and Library / dining salon in the rear. Each area reveals a sensory of savory pleasures.

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Cuisine:   TheWritingRoom presents American gourmet pub cuisine that fulfills a diner’s expectations at a reasonable cost. One of their noted specialties is the herbed Fried chicken, so artfully constructed by talented chef Lucas Billheimer, that the crispy, savory skin lifts from the meat below like that of a perfectly baked baguette. His rotisserie chicken is also tasty and equally satisfying. Moist, flavorful, uncomplicated, Billheimer’s preparation and presentation are a perfect marriage. These delicious duets are accompanied by a selection of diverse seasonal vegetables. Speaking of bread, the soft, billowy rolls that are served, melt in your mouth. The food is straight forward and simply delicious. The spinach salad on crostini, accompanied by a balsamic vinaigrette and eaten with a steak knife, is really appetizing.

 

 

Just Desserts: For the finale, a delightful sextet of dark-chocolate covered orange creamsicle pops accompanied by a lightly heated brownie is offered among other

sweet options.

 

Presentation: Here, the wood tables are simply attired with white china and flatware as one would find in an American steakhouse.   Surely, the food takes center stage.

 

Staff: Ready, willing and able, the jeans and suspender-adorned staff is exceptional in anticipating your wants. Our attentive server repeatedly checked in to see what more she could provide. I found her suggestions right on and her service superior.

 

Audience: Definitely an upscale Upper East Side crowd that is smartly but casually dressed populates the restaurant. Ranging mostly from 30’s to 60s, everyone is made to feel at home. At the Bar, the lively crowd tends toward the younger, while in the Library salon, it tends towards older, more sedate clientele. Energy abounds with noise kept to an acceptable level, enough to carry on an audible conversation. By and large, it’s a highly “friendy” atmosphere.

 

Decoration: The tripartite feeling of TheWritingRoom is amplified by its decor, a very library-like style. The entry, outfitted with a newspaper and magazine rack, is positioned so that when a patron enters, they have the option of going to the bar on the right or the main dining room straight ahead. The rear eating Library Salon is equally accessible by either of the two areas. The restaurant’s circulation works well and is easy to navigate. The dining room, whose walls are covered with photographic images of literary giants, add to the bibliophile flair. I found the tall black booths especially successful in the way they wrap the back and sides of the room, giving it a clubby feel. The leather chairs with nickel studs fit right in. Yet, an open, airy feel is evoked.   The lighting throughout TheWritingRoom, with its filament bulbs, is reminiscent of old-time turn of the century saloons. It dimming effect provides a cosy, evening ambience.

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The Bar: A quite long zinc topped bar runs down the length of the restaurant, separated from the main dining room by an exposed brick wall. The bar itself banks on the brick wall while the other side of the area houses high-tops for additional seating. It’s a super idea to have both stool and booth seating. Together, both areas encourage convivial conversation and good times. It’s a bustling bar!

 

The Study, TheWritingRoom’s main focal point, is artfully led up to by a hallway lined with faux front card catalogues. In it’s interior are floor to ceiling bookshelves lining the walls with books by the mile. As though one were in an elite club or personal private library, a feeling of intelligent discourse and gastronomic sharing is evoked. All it needs is a little dust and an old-timer or two with spectacles falling off their noses. Perhaps, a newly minted Hemingway will appear at midnight, tapping out his next novel on the typewriter above the mantel.

 

Offering great cuisine and ambience, TheWritingRoom is sure to be a perennial winner on the Upper East Side.

 

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