Eating at Eats, and Loving It
When you see a food place that for the most part looks like your average corner restaurant, you’d probably go in expecting regular fast-food-like offerings. But when a recognized food authority like Timeout.com hails that place as the best in anything, one is bound to have high expectations. Very high expectations.
We walked into “Eats on Lex” with exactly that. Eats is located on Lexington Avenue, in the Upper East Side of New York. One of the first things I noticed was the array of windows letting in much natural light. It also allows one a full view of the bustling street outside. I thought the place would be a good place to dine in especially at night. But really, after I got a taste of the menu, I realized it would be a perfect eat-out place anytime of the day.
Eats is primarily a burger destination, but there’s a wide variety of other things you can order. They have shrimp atop fresh salad greens, as well as oysters and mussels.
The Dining Experience
Eats grills its burgers as the customers order them, so there’s a bit of wait time before I can dig in. This is usually the time when the waitress sets some sort of complimentary bread on the table. Usually, it’s the good old, toasted and garlicky affair. Eats does a different take, and I was amazed by the bean spread that was served. Eats already sets itself apart from its peers, and that doesn’t even count the main course yet.
Eats further stands out with its “Dry-Aged Steak Burger”. At first I was curious about the name. Why would you want to advertise your burger as “dry”? Also, “aged” sounds good on wine, but doesn’t sound too appetizing on a patty. Boy, was I wrong.
After a little research, I found out that a dry-aged piece of beef is one that has been left to dry for weeks. What’s more, the process of dry-aging can only be done in high-grade beef. That’s because the meat has to contain evenly-distributed meat and fat content in order for it to be dry-aged successfully. That’s why these kinds of meat are only available in high-end groceries and butcher shops. Dry-aged beef is a lot tastier and more tender than the regular kind — perfect for a burger! Eats offers dry-aged steak burger for $15, which I say is a good deal.
While the burger was the highlight (and my personal favorite), it wasn’t by far the only amazing part of our meal. There’s also the Brandy Glazed Chicken Livers, whose sumptuous and zesty flavors were perfectly balanced by the mixed greens. The Seared Ahi Tuna & Avocado BLT was also a refreshing take on the classic burger, and was perfectly complemented by the garlic aioli’s solid flavor.
And of course, the oysters! I love oysters, and the fried ones that Eats on Lex had were perfectly to my taste. Like all other lunch items, they were served with mixed greens. For a slightly more exotic taste, there’s there’s the excellent-tasting ceviche.
Salad and dessert galore
Customer can order different kinds of salad, such as the kale salad with pear, cheese, and shrimp toppings. This was what we had, and it was a great bookend to the meal. The shrimps here aren’t the reheated kind — they’re still fresh and steaming when served. Unlike other restaurants, Eats serves a hefty amount of toppings for a satisfying experience.
Eats makes it a point to serve everything with panache, from their burgers to the salad and even the desert. Even the drinks had a level of simple artisticness in them. My favorite was the espresso martini, which looked more like dessert than anything else. There’s also the apple-spiced martini which was a close second in my book.
Outside the meals
The service is also top-notch. The waiters were very attentive and efficient. I also learned that happy hour in this establishment goes farther than the usual two-hour limit in other New York places. During these times, the bar can get so crowded that people going together might have difficulty finding adjacent seats. Also, you can only get the happy hour specials (like the $1 oysters) when at the bar itself.
Overall, the place isn’t really something you will visit if what you’re after is a striking ambience or a first-class setting. Eats on Lex will deliver great food and great service at a competitive price, and that’s what they capitalize on. The place is clean and accommodating with a good ambience. And isn’t that really all that’s important for a great meal?
1055 Lexington Avenue, New York