Swifty’s is as American as the baked Alaska, which of course, is a staple on the menu. Even though the food might make you long for gastronomical yesteryear, the restaurant is not dated. Swifty’s has an almost natural timelessness to it, even though it only opened in 1999. The icon of the restaurant is the pug, named after the trusty, lovable pug that belonged to Glenn Birnbaum, the infamous (in some circles) owner of Mortimer’s. And his image (the pug, not Birnbaum) is plastered on almost every surface.
The décor is classic and unpretentious. Most of the tables are on banquettes and it is very clubby in feeling. There is a room in the back, which is slightly more spacious. Swifty’s is located between 72nd and 73rd and Lexington, and the clientele is primarily from the Upper East Side. Yet the restaurant is only exclusive in the sense that Truman Capote would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during lunch and dinner. The Swifty's team is loyal to their clientele and is considered a second “home” (and first kitchen) to many, but welcomes first-time diners with warm affection.
Swifty’s is open for lunch and dinner and it's virtually impossible to have a bad meal. The appetizers range from a $10 crispy iceberg lettuce salad with creamy blue cheese dressing, to the $15 corn fritters with American caviar. And along with the rest of the menu items, they are prepared simply and executed beautifully. The entrées are more adventurous and they range from a $25 free range chicken curry, served with basmati rice and pappadum, to a $40 New York strip steak with French fries. My choice appetizer is the French onion soup. Once you swallow your first spoonful, you are transported to a Paris Brasserie.
Yes, the onion soup is delicious but the cheese soufflé sends me over the moon. It is served with a basic green salad and it's sublime. There are only a few places in this city where you can order cheese soufflé, so when you are at Swifty’s, definitely treat yourself to one. It is not easy to serve simple food well and Swifty’s does just that. Swifty's, genuine on and off the plate. — Jordana Z.
1007 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10021