In a space along a street in Midtown that has undergone many a transformation in its lifetime, one can only pray that Betony, with Bryce Shuman's Michelin star food and service that makes you feel like you're sitting down for a meal in your living room, is here to stay for a while.
In a world that seems to increasingly seek and embrace the singular superlative title of "the best thing I ever ate," Betony slips quietly into the scene with its purely extraordinary piece of roasted chicken. This chicken is undoubtedly the best piece of chicken in New York. Sliced in a slender triangle and draped with seasonal vegetables like celery root sitting over a decadent jus, the chicken is impossibly soft and tender, like none I have ever had before, managing to occupy a buttery chicken flavor so perfectly fresh and pure. At my most recent meal here, all four members of our party ordered the chicken, and all four cleaned the plate so completely you would have thought it had never seen food.
While a taste of this signature dish should not be missed, several other appetizers and small snacks deserve almost equal praise. At the top of this list is the hot foie gras, served next to pork belly in a hot ham broth. True to the rest of Betony's style, this piece of foie gras seems so simply executed at first, yet the purity of flavors does not belie a handsomely silky, rich, and perfectly textured bite. The Radicchio Tardivo, with beets and robiola bosina is another creamy yet light addition to the meal. With entrees ranging from $29-$43 and appetizers from $11-30, Betony is fitting for a superbly special meal that doesn't have to break the bank like a tasting menu easily could.
Service is incredibly knowledgeable and calmly prepared to please to perfection. For our bread course, the pastry chef even prepared a phenomenal piece of gluten-free bread for our resident allergy-ridden guest, and our server was able to tell us the preparation of every dish to astonishing depth. It's the kind of subtle hospitality that makes a delicious meal even that much more rewarding.
Although it stretches across 3 levels, with the main dining spaces on the first and upper levels and a private room downstairs, the 80-seat space still manages to feel like an intimate private dining experience in one's own parlour. The two-tops and four-tops are larger than normal and spaced a good deal apart, giving each diner room to both spread out and cozy up in the plush, purple velvet banquettes and admire the ornate molded ceiling panels. It's a space that feels both personal and fantastically regal all at once.