Part of the Blue Ribbon restaurant empire, this spacious New American outpost on the Upper West Side is surprisingly perfect for any meal of the day, and will easily become your favorite restaurant in the neighborhood.
From sushi to fried chicken, Blue Ribbon restaurants have managed to develop a portfolio as diverse and individualistic as the neighborhoods they call home, and somehow, from the Lower East Side to the Upper West, quality is not lost among such breadth.
It’s ultimately a wise strategy, for if one brand of restaurant should fall out of favor or fashion, the empire is not left scrambling for survival. At The Ribbon in particular, this strategy can be felt within the restaurant itself. At both brunch and dinner in recent weeks, it’s clear that The Ribbon’s appeal is vast and deep, ensuring its rightful presence in the neighborhood for a long time to come.
Craving an elegant piece of salmon on Friday, but would prefer to end your Sunday with a large portion of fried chicken and southern sides? The Ribbon offers it all, dressing up a wide range of American classics just enough to set them apart from the crowd of other so-so restaurants on the Upper West Side, and to lodge them in your culinary memory until you just have to return again for more.
At dinner, the Sliced Hangar Steak is one of these dishes, whose thick, rich, green peppercorn sauce lends the perfect amount of vegetal acidity to the decadently tender cuts of beef. The delicate shoestring fries on the side are no joke either, somehow maintaining their crispy exterior even when soaking in the sauce for a few minutes.
The wide-reaching menu also offers house-made pâté and a butcher board of meats and cheeses, but the Beef Marrow with Oxtail Marmalade should be the appetizer everyone rushes toward. Sweet and buttery, the marrow is the perfect spread over charred challah toast topped with small leaves of fried parsley for an ethereally crispy, herbal finish.
While dinners at the restaurant can feel crowded and boisterous quickly, brunches tend to be more subdued, as families with strollers and friends sipping on Bloody Marys while watching the latest football game sit side by side in peace.
The eats at this nebulous weekend meal are also satisfying to all walks of life on the Upper West. Of course there is Avocado Toast with cherry tomatoes, radishes, chia seeds, and espelette pepper on a thin, sometimes too-soft piece of whole-grain bread, and of course there is Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon for a lighter, saltier, and brinier plate.
But there is also The Pig Club, a hearty sandwich with rotisserie pork, smoked bacon, pickled jalapenos, and provolone for a less traditional, arguably spicier brunch. The thick slices of pork find home here in a crunchy, airy hero bun, with perhaps a bit too much bread for the otherwise great pileup of ingredients.
And then there is the Prime Rib Poutine, featuring, obviously, a thick, tender, perfectly pink slice of prime rib topped with a fried egg over french fries, sauteed onions, and a thin cheddar gravy.
As my Canadian boo so eloquently put it, "That’s not poutine." He’s right, it’s not, but I’ve come to wonder, is anything actually poutine? It seems the Canadians have such a monopoly on these gravy-cheese-curd-fries, that it’s possible I’ve never had poutine in my life. I suppose I’ll have to go to Montreal to find out.
But like so much at The Ribbon, this poutine-inspired plate is remarkably flavorful and satisfying, without feeling like a brick of carbs and fat was just dropped into your digestive tract. Against the backdrop of The Ribbon’s spacious, retro vibes, and next to one of the restaurant’s "design your own" Bloody Marys, there’s ultimately not much to complain about.
Sometimes there is an incremental cost to achieving and maintaining flexibility in restaurants, but The Ribbon shows no signs of struggling. A success across cuisines and times of the day, many restaurants could learn a thing or two from this American classic in the making.