When you were young and you knew your multiplication tables, people clapped for you. But now that you have a bank account and fewer favorite dinosaurs, people just expect you to be impressive on a daily basis. Such is life as an adult - and, if Legacy Records were a person, it would probably relate.
Legacy Records is the latest place from the people behind Charlie Bird and Pasquale Jones, two of our favorite restaurants in the city. Unlike those downtown spots, however, this place is in a fancy new condo building in Hudson Yards, a neighborhood that’s about one RoboCop away from feeling dystopian. The restaurant itself is huge and expensive-looking, and, much like a fully-grown person with a job and a phone bill, it inspires certain expectations. As long as you’re willing to spend some money, however, Legacy Records will easily meet them.
The menu here is similar to what you’ll find at Charlie Bird and other places that want to be like Charlie Bird, which is to say: pasta, crudo, duck, and steak. If that sounds boring, that’s because it usually is - but when the formula is this well-executed, it’s hard to complain. The roasted duck is one of the best dishes made from that bird in the city, the pastas are more complex than what you’ll find at most Italian restaurants, and the crudo sampler will make you feel like you’re at a dinner party hosted by Poseidon. It comes with five different types of raw seafood like scallop and tuna belly, and it’s one of the better ways to spend $25 on yourself.
As for the space, it’s opulent. The floors are a mix of tile and hardwood, there’s a horseshoe bar that looks like it belongs on a 100-foot yacht, and the tables are all topped with leather - which, apparently, is something that you can do with tables. The ceilings are also so high it’ll make you want to Google the cost of vertical real estate, and the green-and-gold color scheme has a vaguely country-club-designed-by-Wes-Anderson feel to it. Despite all of this, however, Legacy Records isn’t quiet or stuffy.
The service is friendly, the old-school hip hop soundtrack is louder than you expect from a place where you can buy a magnum of vintage Krug, and the host won’t check to see what kind of shoes you’re wearing. And, in that sense, this place has retained a lot of the DNA of its downtown predecessors. The only real difference is: it isn’t as small or charming, and all the little extras like the excellent wine list feel less surprising. Essentially, Legacy Records is the grown-up version of a cool downtown restaurant - but, fortunately, it’s still capable of surpassing expectations.
We would rarely tell you to spend valuable carb calories on bread instead of pasta in a place like this, but Legacy bakes their own baguettes and seeded loaves in house, and they’re amazing.
You can order the crudos individually, but that isn’t really the way to go. Get the tasting. It’s $25 per person, and it’s basically a little omakase involving things like tuna belly, razor clams, and hamachi. This is some of the best food that you’ll eat here, and it’s worth a trip on its own.
A large plate of prosciutto with some horseradish grated on top. If you like prosciutto, there’s zero chance you’ll regret ordering this - and, with a side of the bread, you can make a DIY sandwich that you can then show to your neighbors.
If you’re serving pigeon in New York City, you should at least call it squab. It’s the considerate thing to do. That said, this is some good-tasting bird. We probably wouldn’t order it again, but that’s mostly because we see a lot of pigeons in our daily lives, and we’d rather not complicate the relationship.
Raviolo is, apparently, the singular of ravioli. So it makes sense that this is one large piece of pasta, stuffed with a smoky mix of peas and parmesan. It won’t fill you up, but it’s a great dish to start with.
Despite the lamb sauce, this cavatelli is light and fresh, with a little mint mixed in. The lamb itself sort of tastes like cheeseburger, but hopefully you consider that a perk. Split an order with someone.
There’s nothing revolutionary about this ribeye, but there also doesn’t need to be. It’s just a medium rare piece of beef with sautéed greens, and it’s both very good and one of the more substantial options on the menu.
This duck has been “lacquered” with honey, which is a thing that we only thought was done to waterbed frames in the 1980’s (a bachelor pad staple for any aspiring Tom Selleck). That lacquering process results in a dark, caramelized, dry-aged whole duck, presented to you table-side and then taken back to the kitchen to be de-breasted and served. It’s a rich, excellent thing to eat.