The clubby Soho landmark has stepped up tenfold since chef Jeremy Lee took over in 2012. Spread across several snug, low-ceilinged dining rooms, it’s a convivial spot, with a nursery’s worth of greenery and a menu that could have been conceived and typeset in 1876. Bring yourself to order “bloater paste” and you’ll be rewarded with a sumptuous herring pâté topped with a tasty layer of congealed butter to be pierced by a shard of crusty bread. And Lee’s smoked-eel sandwich, served on grilled sourdough bread with pickled onions and creamy horseradish, is fantastic (and, it turns out, a favorite of Henderson’s).
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.