“Who wants club food if anyone can have it?” Sam Sifton asks at the end of his anticipated write-up of The Lion, a question that seems to sum up the spirit of his one-star review.
Sifton was apparently spotted every time he dined at restaurant—which is partially owned by Dan Abrams and David Zinczenko—and appeared to be having a good time, but if that’s the case it doesn’t come across in the article. Sifton seems confused by the décor, the crowd and the seafood. He has kind words for the sommelier, which is one place where he departs from Adam Platt’s panning (“There is a slim, slightly pretentious wine list to help ease you through your laborious dinner at the Lion”).
Even if he laments this pseudo-speakeasy’s democracy, Sifton has kind words for former Waverly chef John DeLucie’s menu, particularly the meats. With one notable exception:
Only a Berkshire pork chop with fermented black garlic and what the menu calls “applewood smoke” really disappoints. It arrives at the table on a wooden cutting board, beneath a glass dome filled with acrid smoke. The flavor it imparts seems to be that which might have been achieved if someone had simply stubbed out a glowing Marlboro on the meat.