Prior to the humble basket of fried hake that upturned their lives and sparked the idea for Dame, owners Ed Szymanski and Patricia Howard had been dreaming up plans for a modern, meat-focused English restaurant.
“It’s so weird to me that we’ve become known for seafood cooking,” says Ed Szymanski, the chef behind arguably the most popular seafood restaurant to open in NYC in the past two years. Dame was the first seafood restaurant he had ever worked in, let alone run. “The extent of my fish cooking was putting it on as a special every now and then.”
The pre-seafood-era restaurant was going to be called PESH — an acronym of their names, they recall with a grimace — and it built on the more experimental British meat cooking that Szymanski was building a reputation for at Cherry Point, the now closed Greenpoint restaurant that received a two-star nod in the New York Times under Szymanski’s tenure.
A couple years, a pandemic, and a slam-dunk rendition of fish-and-chips later, a sibling to Dame is coming to life. Szymanski and Howard’s highly anticipated second restaurant, a modern English bistro now called Lord’s, is set to open on October 3 at 506 Laguardia Place, between West Houston and Bleeker streets.
If Dame was the team’s pandemic pivot, Lord’s is picking up where Szymanski’s cooking left off at Cherry Point, and nods more directly to his English roots. He cites chefs from London’s dining scene that he worked for prior to New York, including James Lowe and Tomos Parry of Michelin-starred restaurants Lyle’s and Brat, respectively. His love for Fergus and Margot Henderson — the godparents of nose-to-tail cooking — is reflected at Lord’s.
“This my wheelhouse,” Szymanski says. “This is the kind of food I fell in love with and made me want to cook.”
It is perhaps easiest to describe Lord’s by what it is not. It’s not a steakhouse, nor a gastropub, according to Szymanski and Howard. There’s no honking burger or glistening, plate-sized roast. Seafood plays a supporting role on Lord’s menu in preparations like deviled crab on toast and skate with a seaweed called sea spaghetti — “It’s like tagliatelle, but from the sea,” Szymanski says — to appease customers who see the Dame duo and instantly imagine plates of fish. But this is undoubtedly a place that respects meat, from the nose to the tail. Pig’s head terrine and braised tripe are on the opening menu, and Szymanski lights up as he ticks off future charcuterie plans, from goose rillettes to duck liver parfait to saucisson hanging in the downstairs cellar space. “It is a more nuanced and offal-y approach to meat cooking,” Szymanski says.
The duo is nearly as excited about the amount of space that they have at Lord’s as they are about their forthcoming charcuterie game. The elegant, high-ceilinged dining room, designed by Howard, fits 60 seats, including 10 stools at a bar running the length of the room. There’s hundreds of bottles of wine stored in the basement.
To compare: at 24 seats, Dame is a tiny restaurant. The kitchen, squeezed in the back of the dining room, can’t fit more than two people at a time. There’s no freezer, or proper dishwasher. “We’ve been making do with something so shoebox-y that it’s nice to have a real space and go back to that style of cooking that we were originally planning on,” Szymanski says.
Lord’s is open from Monday to Friday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Reservations are available via Resy.