Many moons ago, I used to hang out and hook up with girls in Murray Hill. I was young and it was cheap, with some cheap thrills too - all good things. I haven't been there in awhile aside from passing it en route to the Midtown tunnel. That’s why it was such a treat to return to my past and get down and dirty… with Murray Hill.
Burlesque in a dimly-lit white tablecloth restaurant. Tits and ass seductively covered in glamour, pasties and well-placed glitter. Murray Hill hosting, boasting and roasting in a powder blue suit. Pot-yielding pals and a table in the corner. Nope – these are not the new lyrics to the classic song by Julie Andrews – these are just a few favored things that happen in a small yet perfect space on Duane Street in a restaurant I could definitely get into. The crowd is intimate – reservations only and no cancellations, with compliance ensured by your credit card when the reservation is made. Our so-diverse-it’s-obnoxious crowd included a lovely table of lesbian firefighters, a couple of bachelorette parties, a couple who disagreed on which anniversary they were celebrating, a few lucky dates and of course, the incomparable, inimitable, hilarious, mustachioed and polyestered, Murray Hill (the pseudo dude, not the pseudo neighborhood). Murray, I’ll know I made it in life if you deliver my eulogy. Although the menu is a $75 per head pre-fix (not including booze, tax or tip) and well, attached to a burlesque joint, there is a diverse offering of both starters and mains. We decided to start with a four-way of Tuna Tartare with Tahini Sauce, Seared Sea Scallops, Skillet Roasted Shrimp with Georgia Cheese Grits and Grilled Octopus, and a one-way of short, young brunette. Although I only tried the Tuna and the Shrimp, everything looked superb. The Tuna was very good and the surprisingly sweet Tahini sauce was the perfect complement. The Grits in SheView’s Shrimp would have even satisfied my cousin Vinny. Once we were done with appetizers and were each a dirty martini (or blood orange margarita) in, my defenses were down and my Murray (Hill) was up – the perfect host! For mains, we had a tall blond with more back tattoos than Kat Von D, the Organic Chicken with Potato Puree, along with Pork Loin with Grilled Georgia Peaches for our worthy counterparts, with Salmon for SheView and Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes for me. The Short Ribs were slightly on the fatty side, but hey, they are supposed to be fatty, and the potatoes were on the crunchy side, but hey, I was feeling happy. So strong marks on the food, stronger marks on the experience and strongest marks for your host – the King of Downtown with a name from Midtown, Murray Hill. 157 Duane Street | Between West Broadway and Hudson (212) 732-5555