Dress for Dinner
by Julie Besonen, 08/17/2011
Courtesy, The Red Cat
The Red Cat
227 Tenth Ave., 212-242-1122, Chelsea, Manhattan
A basket of apples and bunches of flowers kit out the welcoming vestibule at The Red Cat, a sophisticated eatery paneled in barn wood. There's a high- octane rush as soon as you enter the bar and dining room, crammed with a convivial crowd who knows how to dress—urbane, bold yet unfussy, just like the food. Executive chef Bill McDaniel carries out founding partner Jimmy Bradley's vision of progressive American cuisine, pairing grilled peaches with pan-roasted quail, for instance, and frying green beans in tempura batter, downright exciting when dunked in sweet-hot mustard sauce. And a table here isn't complete without an order of the signature quick-sautéed zucchini with toasted almonds and pecorino. Chelsea art-world denizens provide pizzazz, but it's the food and friendly service that keep it so mobbed.