As someone who's passed the half-century mark, I know that this culture reveres neither old people nor old buildings. It's refreshing, therefore, to see something venerable treated with respect. The bar at the late Chelsea Tavern could have gone the way of all renovations. Instead, it's delightful to enter the lovingly maintained the Tonic through a room that seems better suited to rotund Edwardian gentlemen cavorting with ladies of light virtue than to business suits and Ally McBeal miniskirts. Dark woods abound from the massive long bar to the coffered wainscoting, tiled floors and tin ceilings are not design clichés but authentic artifacts, and the lanterns over the bar seem early Edison. The antiquity of the tavern shouldn't confuse the visitor, though, because a few steps away the main dining room is as up-to-date as next... More >>>
By Michael Kenneth Lopez
At Tonic, tuna tartare is always tonic, with wasabi-spiked roe in the main room or asparagus in the tavern.