Now that the Lenox Room has remade itself as T-Bar, a highly polished steakhouse on the Upper East Side, let’s have a moment of silence for its former identity. The Lenox Room was one of those very grown-up New York places. Opened in 1995, it wasn’t one of the top restaurants in town, but it was pure New York Establishment, thanks to owner Tony Fortuna, former manager of Lafayette (when Jean-Georges made his New York name) and Lespinasse (under the original stellar stewardship of Gray Kunz). Fortuna is one of those guys who really know how to run a restaurant, and although the times have called for a more casual, steak-centric approach, the restaurant still has something of the old cool. The food, a modern steakhouse menu with extensive fish, veal, and chicken selections, is as solid as before, no accident since the chef, Ben Zwicker, is still in place. But, as Fortuna says: “The Upper East Side is changing; it’s not where your father lives now. It’s gotten younger, and we needed a new vibe.” We liked the old one, but we understand.
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