City of Contrasts
City of Contrasts
One of the charms of this city is its endless sense of contrast: you can easily, for example, spend an evening pairing an Old World experience with something very.....well, 2014. Case in point: last week, I went to see Bradley Cooper in his austere, brave interpretation of disfigured Victorian gentleman Joseph Merrick, known as The Elephant Man (hence, the show's title). It is an innovative production of the play, not only because it stars a Hollywood A-lister as opposed to a Broadway veteran, but also because the part is played with no theatrical makeup or prosthetics: Cooper reimagined the twisted, grotesque body of Merrick through his own physicality. Before experiencing this very modern project, I decided to dine at someplace very un-modern, in fact a true-blue classic of the Great White Way. Sardi's, which has been feeding before-and-after theatergoers since 1927, maintains that feel of a great Broadway tradition (and I have been visiting this restaurant, off and on, for almost 30 years). The waiters remain formally dressed in red jackets and black bowties: tables are still topped with starchy white tablecloths, the booths still a burnished red leather, the wood wainscoting still gleaming, and of course the caricatures of celebrities that crisscross the theater, television and film worlds still take up virtually every inch of space on the walls. Dinner choices are straightforward and always satisfying, from a dish of plump, meaty jumbo crabcakes to a juicy 10-ounce sirloin with horseradish-whipped potatoes. Menus offer pre and post-theater choices, and if you let your server know what curtain you are catching, you will be assured plenty of time to get to your seat. Contemporary and classic makes for a rich evening, indeed.
» Sardi's, 234 W. 44th St., 212.221.8440