I’ve been meaning to check out The Lawrence since it opened in Midtown last March, but for some reason, procrastination got the best of me. Chad and I had initially intended to dine at KR Steakbar this past Saturday, but after reading two mediocre reviews about Kevin Rathbun’s latest concept, we made a last minute change of plans. I couldn’t have been happier with our decision after the fact.
The Lawrence sits at the corner of 8th and Juniper and boasts a beautiful floor-to-ceiling glass facade. The exterior is actually quite deceiving, and I was surprised at just how small the space was once you stepped inside. Not small in a bad way – more of a cozy, intimate way (meaning you could easily scope out your neighbor’s dish to find out what or what not to order). The cuisine is more or less modern American, something that I just can’t seem to get enough of (although I try to branch out for variety’s sake every now and then).
The cocktails are as unique and adventurous as their names, an aspect that always tacks on a few bonus points in my book. Recently I’ve been into grapefruit (cocktails, not the actual fruit), so I started with the Venus Fly Trap, which proved to be a refreshing choice. I forgot to ask how this balanced blend of gin, bitters, grapefruit, St. Germaine, and chartreuse liqueur got its name, but it certainly didn’t bite.
For a shared appetizer, the pork belly was a no-brainer. This dish alone would have convinced me to return to the Lawrence (hint, hint – please don’t drop this one from the menu any time soon). The preparation of the dish was simple – the sliced pork was served with pickled strawberries, glazed turnips, and roasted potatoes. To be honest, I would have been content with a plate full of the deliciously crispy pork belly on its own, but the strawberries added a nice tangy twist.
Returning to my predictable ways, my next dish was the pan seared scallops. The trio was served over a salad of roasted brussels sprouts and citrusy clementines. When scallops are good (and these were really good), they’re one of those things that you just don’t want to share, or maybe I’m just food-selfish? I reluctantly spared a sliver for Chad, minimizing the loss by keeping the bite to a 75-to-25 brussels sprout-to-scallop ratio.
Chad had the Norwegian Steelhead Salmon, which was only slightly less than equally as delicious as the scallops were. The salmon had a crispy, blackened skin, and was served over a creamy English pea risotto.
The only bite I wasn’t totally crazy about was the side of spaghetti squash that we opted to share. I love a good spaghetti squash, roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, salt & pepper. Unfortunately, this squash was roasted well beyond al dente and was literally drowning in butter. Upon returning, I’d probably replace this one with the king trumpet mushrooms or the roasted beet salad.
Because I was forced to forgo the chocolate truffle cake (only 31 more days until I can return to my chocoholic ways!!), I ended the meal with a liquid indulgence, a la the Lady Lawrence. The lady of the house was just as tasty as she was beautiful, a perfect little (on second thought, not so little) nightcap.
Everything about our dining experience at The Lawrence made me realize what I’ve been missing out on all these months. I certainly do not intend to procrastinate in planning my return visit.