Decked in furry walls, leopard and cowhide, when first entering this massive space one can easily be taken back to a moment straight out of the 70s or for those movie buffs familiar with Nicholas Stroller’s comedy Get Him to the Greek’s furry walls scene starring no other than hip hop superstar Sean Diddy Combs. The block-long restaurant is tremendous in size and at first may be confused by passerbys as some type of sporting goods store. The first-floor building has a simple facade that leaves you questioning what could actually be inside.
We’re talking about Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine, which opened last March in the Hells Kitchen area. The eatery was designed around the infamous basketball personality Walt Frazier also known to most as Clyde Frazier, NBA Hall of Famer who played for the New York Knicks in 1967—now commentator for his long lost team. Large columns fill the space with overly sized images of Frazier in his debonair suits. Murals of him dress the walls from left to right and top to bottom, showcasing photos from his heyday as a New York Knick.
But don’t let the larger than life decor fool you. The main dining room is kept chic with simple white table clothes and plush mink-gray colored chairs. Once you are seated your waiter tops your table with a warm basket of spicy-jalapeno cornbread and soft brioche rolls with sweet and savory butter to garnish. A great way to perk up your palette right before dinner.
My guest and I started off with a couple of cocktails. The signature cocktail menu had a list of different drinks offering bourbon, beer, whiskey, wine, cognac and malt scotch. I decided to tickle my taste buds with a Bounding and Astounding (Stoli blueberry vodka, triple sec, canton ginger liqueur, muddled blueberries and Sprite, $13) My guest ordered a simple Jack and Coke and I followed up with a Loosey Goosey (Grey Goose pear vodka, fresh cucumber, st. germaine elderflower liqueur and prosecco, $13). This was a perfect post- drink to enjoy after our appetizers. We asked the waiter for suggestions and he had quite a few recommendations. We settled on the the avocado fries with tamarind dip ($9) and house-made jalapeno poppers with Mexican chorizo and jack cheese. The avocado fries were light, cripsy and the dipping sauce had a hint of spice. The poppers were so good that even their fieriness couldn’t keep me away. I couldn’t resist going back for more. On top were droplets of pomegranate seeds that gave just a tiny burst of sweet to ease the heat.
When it was time to order dinner I knew I wanted to go with something a little bit lighter since we just loaded up on deep fried plates of heaven. I chose the blackened Scottish salmon ($26) drenched in a vanilla-bourbon butter with grilled asparagus and creamy mashed potatoes as sides—fresh, light and full of flavor. It was the perfect choice. My guest ordered the cowboy skirt steak ($26) served in a sizzling skillet topped with cilantro chimichurri and poblano-potato timbale. The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare and the chimichurri was fresh and filled with flavor, giving the meat the perfect punch.
It was easy to get wrapped up in the loud decor, eccentric touches and bold flavors, but one of the most exciting details of Clyde’s own hall of fame was the crowd that populated the space. As we walked over to our table we passed the lounge and large-extended bar that was filled with young New Yorkers. Black men dressed in crisp-preppy suits and handsome white guys kicking back and sipping on brews. Women dressed casual and some dressed to the T. We also passed a table of young children who looked to be out for a birthday celebration. “Oh please pass, this may take a few takes,” said a sweet Southern woman trying to snap a picture of the young bunch. I’m assuming it was the birthday boy’s grandmother. Around the corner was a table of couples and another filled with young families. Oddly enough this “hip” spot was “hip” enough for moms, dads and their kids too. Nothing shouts pretentious about Clyde’s. Everyone looked to be having a good time, even the young ones playing basketball at the half court over to the side of the bar. Yes, there’s a basketball court inside the restaurant—a perfect break for in between dinner and dessert.
Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine: 485 10th Avenue New York, NY 10018 Tel: 212-842-1110