Gabriel Stulman is the neighborhood restaurant specialist — but for the most part, his restaurants have until now been quarantined to tiny spaces in the West Village like Fairfax, Bar Sardine, and Joseph Leonard. Here at Simon & the Whale, though, the restaurateur’s eclectic addition to the new Freehand Hotel in Gramercy, the neighborhood restaurant vibes are alive and well, albeit in a much larger space located at 23 Lexington Avenue, between 23rd and 24th streets.
Designed by commonly used firm Roman and Williams, Simon & the Whale is awash in the aesthetic favored by au courant restaurants: warm woods, glowing lights, gold and brass details, and blue tones, especially on the banquettes. Tables spread throughout a few small, connected rooms seat 62, while the bar fits an additional 18.
Customers at those tables will dine on globally-influenced dishes such as a Japanese-flavored black bass crudo with shiso, puffed rice, and coconut milk to the more Italian pork collar milanese with aioli, apricot, and arugula. The full menu is here.
Simon & the Whale, which joins all-day restaurant Studio and cocktail bar The George Washington Bar, is now open Sunday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.