As neighborhoods change, so do neighborhood restaurants. A recent example in my neighborhood has been the closing of Dresner’s, a beloved UES establishment whose low prices and comfort food mostly attracted an older set of customers, and its reopening, by owner/operator Dermot Kelly, as Flight. Billed as a gastro-pub, offering “flights” of wine, beer, whiskey and food, as well as traditional menu offerings, Kelly hopes to attract a more youthful crowd while keeping some of his
long-time patrons. He took down a wall or two to open up the space, kept the glass-enclosed café that juts out onto the sidewalk, made the bar more sports focused, with three televisions sets tuned to football, and amazingly well-priced, with $5 small plates, $5 select wines and beers, and $7 specialty cocktails.
Executive Chef/Owner Golam is Indian, and there are a few Thai and Asian-influenced specialties on the menu, including Thai Style Pasta ($20) and Steamed PEI Mussels ($12), but the rest of the offerings are what I would call neighborhood American – salads, seafood, pasta, burgers, etc.
You can eat well for a reasonable price if you know what to order. The menu is still a work in progress and the dishes vary in quality. Though some members of our press group loved the Mussels, for example, I found the marina sauce too thin and spicy.
On the other hand, I loved the Spinach + Cranberry Crusted Goat Cheese salad with walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. ($10) In fact, I liked it so much that a few days later I went back to Flight for lunch with a friend and ordered it with the addition of shrimp. It was just as delicious.
Flight offers four 6-ounce pours of beer from a selection of 16 different types of draft Beer ($12). My colleagues enjoyed their Wheat Beer while I enjoyed a Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner. A Flight of 3 whites is $14; a “Flight” of 3 Reds is $15. Fresh, thin pita with a fairly bland eggplant dip is served with the meal.
The Avocado + Seafood salad ($14) was forgettable and without much in the way of avocado, but the Shrimp Crostini ($14), for the same price, was a real winner. Normally four shrimp to an order, the shrimp are bathed in a delicious lemon and garlic sauce sitting on top of parmesan-crusted toast. I recommended it to my friend at lunch, and it was a hit with her, as well.
The pasta with sundried tomatoes, chicken and spinach in a garlic white wine and lemon sauce ($21) looked and tasted like pasta with leftovers. Nothing melded together. It just didn’t work. The Filet Mignon with garlic-mashed potatoes ($29) is a better choice.
A total winner is the thin, flaky puff pastry Apple Tart topped with vanilla ice cream and a touch of caramel sauce ($7). It’s also a bargain.
I live a block away from Flight and look forward to trying out some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes not included in our press dinner: their Buttermilk Southern Fried Chicken with Biscuits ($18) and Brown Bread Ice Cream. I can also imagine stopping by for an Irish Whiskey Flight ($15) on a cold winter night or sitting at the bar with a beer and a Three Cheese Mushroom Quesadilla.
Flight will be serving dinner on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Let’s hope its strategy works.
1479 York Avenue (Between 79 and 78th Streets)
Happy Hour: 4 – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday: 10-11 p.m. Friday – Saturday
Lunch: 11:30 – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday
Brunch: 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Saturday – Sunday
Dinner: 3:30 – 11 p.m. Sunday – Wednesday
3:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. Thursday – Saturday