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Concorde Restolounge’s masterful mix

A beautiful lamb shank is a joy forever. And a well-placed pinch of sea salt atop said shank? Forever and a day .

Concorde Restolounge true to its name is an easy open and classy lounge but the place also serves seriously good high-end food at reasonable cost. Upon our arrival I enjoy a glass of Atteca Garnacha de Fuego old vine 2007 ($9). The Spanish wine is so nice that my wife and I later purchase a bottle of the 2008 at a liquor store on the way home. Our waitress returns to solicit menu queries. She explains that the red curry beef tartar ($14) is served with mango and mint coulis and is prepared using beef tenderloin. Unlike traditional steak tartare the dish doesn’t feature raw egg. I demand she serve this to me like five minutes ago and my wife orders the saffron seafood soup ($10). We sit back and enjoy a brief wait though I nearly black out in beefy anticipation.

We admire our surroundings. An inner glass wall features a New York waterfront scene and helps draw natural light into the room during the day. Taking up most of its north wall Concorde’s bar is inviting; a benevolent dark sun. From it servers issue forth like well-dressed sunbeams into the plush designer solar system that is the seating area. The walls are done in black crocodile leather tiles and the floor in diagonal faux-wood tiles. These subtle textures and the dark-wood décor are complemented by silver-and-white accents and a pony-hair bench that runs the length of the wall opposite the bar.

A precise little meat cupcake arrives. Beef tartar (or tartare) is all about the meat. Duh. Concorde keeps it that way. The red curry is low-key the finely ground beef melts in my mouth and the sunny splash of coulis adds just-there sweetness. Three salty crisp criss-cross-cut potato chips season the dish. The seafood soup is attractively presented in a half-shell bowl its cluster of mussels standing tall. The broth is golden and contains delectable chunks of sea bass and Arctic char.

Our entrees follow at a polite distance. My braised lamb shank ($31) gives me that warm I-ordered-the-right-thing feeling. It’s a generous portion of meat. The tender grainy lamb is cooked to falling off the bone but is held in place by the sheer force of its own deliciousness. My wife has ordered the anise-crusted venison short loin ($42). It’s also a generous dish. We agree that we’d like to see these oval slabs a bit rarer but they’re nicely crusted on the outside. The anise is an unexpectedly good spice combo with the venison. I enjoy an entire chop though my wife who loves licorice like mice love cheese reports that the anise is a bit much by the last bite. Both dishes are accompanied by a vegetable medley of baby zucchini and diced potato. It’s not the potato salad that the menu advertises comes with the shank but I’d have eaten the exquisite lamb with a barbecued phone book.

Chef Darby Kells visits our table to discuss our dessert options which we’re told vary nightly. We give the nod to white chocolate cashew crumble and a chocolate fudge brownie. Both are served with a golden cape gooseberry. The crumble is served in a cup topped with whipped cream. It’s light and tasty. The brownie though is an overachiever. Served with inviting crème Anglaise its thin flaky outer layer hides a warm rich interior. No exaggeration it’s the best brownie I’ve ever eaten.

Concorde’s staff is pleasant its interior comfortably elegant and our beautiful meal was well paced. Attention to detail is a theme that runs from the décor to the service and most importantly the food. Though I’m keen to sample the menu further next visit it’ll be a struggle to keep from ordering the lamb shank again.

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