The renovation of P.J. Clarke’s included an extensive transformation of the upstairs space (formerly a movie-prop warehouse) into a nominally members-only restaurant with its own kitchen. Members swipe their cards; outsiders with reservations are buzzed in. Once inside the sumptuous room, hostesses turn on the flirt for boisterous patrons who look famous but aren’t. They order from a clubby menu—shrimp cocktail; refreshingly thin, bacon-dotted New England clam chowder; seared salmon with spinach; and steaks. Revisit once, chat up the staff, and you may be offered a door card—but you’re not likely to use it all that often.
205 E 55th St
|Cross street:||at Third Ave|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Fri noon–3pm, 6–11pm; Sat 6–11pm|
|Transport:||Subway: E to Lexington Ave–53rd St|
|Price:||Average main course: $27. MC, V|