|Chef Howard Hanna|
Seeing Howard Hanna on the James Beard semifinalist list reminded me that I've never properly and publicly appreciated his terrific Crossroads restaurant. I'm not sure why I've never written about Howard or The Rieger but this occasion seems like all the reason in the world to share my 8 reasons that this chef and his restaurant are among my very favorites.
If you've never been, let me start by telling you that there's no hotel. There was a hotel but that was nearly a century ago. However, much of the original architecture, details, and fixtures remain in this shotgun-style space lending the restaurant a great deal of it's charm.
Eight Reasons (In No Particular Order)
It's not a particularly large bar but it is a particularly good bar. As you enter the restaurant you land squarely in the bar area which seats about a dozen but can can get three-deep at busy times. Great cocktails (see below), a good selection of wines and some solid draft beers will keep you lubricated whether you're waiting for a table, a taxi, or the late night crowd that often gravitates here.
Pro Tip: If you have to stand, try to do it between the bar and the alcove immediately to the right as you enter the restaurant. A little more elbow room and you won't be continuously bumped by diners as they head to their tables.
The Front of the House
|The always stylish Tony Glamcevski, General Manager|
A Great Vibe
|There's always energy in the dining room.|
Pro Tip: It gets a little noisy sometimes. My 48-year-old ears still manage but carrying on a conversation with my parents would be challenging on a busy night (beyond that I would love to take you here sometime Mom & Dad!).
The Chef's Counter
|View from a seat at the chef's counter.|
Pro Tip: I've never had trouble getting a seat at the counter after 9:00 PM. A perfect stop on a night of midtown table hopping.
Table for Two, Four, Six, Eight?
|Mild public displays of affection are always encouraged.|
They Still Know How to Have Fun
|I'd rather actually be good at it than just looking good at it.|
Pro Tip: It is impossible to look good in a photo while you are doing a bone luge.
The Chef and His Food
|Chef Hanna (right) with Rieger General |
Manager Tony Glamcevski
I'll close with some food shots and short descriptions. Note that some of these items are no longer on the current menu.
Put The Rieger on your list and wish Chef Hanna congratulations when you see him.
Served year round but especially delicious and soul warming in the winter.
|Pig Blood Tagliatelle with Pork Ragu|
I don't think this was ever on the menu with the Pig Blood Pasta. You kind of had to know to order it.
Chef Hanna swears it's a hangover cure. I never had it for breakfast though.
|Roasted Bone Marrow and Crispy Oysters
micro mustard greens, pickled red onion, fleur de sel.|
Save room for a bone luge with your favorite liquor. Bourbon is best.
|Leek and Mushroom Risotto topped with Runny Egg|
|Sweet Potato Pie
Noble Tonic #5, pecan brittle, Bourbon whipped cream.|
Ok, there's Bourbon again. I may have a problem.