Gone But Not Forgotten Restaurants: Coach House

June 22nd, 2011 § 4 comments

The best American food in New York used to be served by an elegant Greek gentleman, Leon Lianides at his Coach House Restaurant at 110 Waverly Place in Greenwich Village. The restaurant closed in 1993 (the site is now occupied by Mario Batali’s Babbo, an excellent restaurant that introduced a new type of Italian cuisine).

Upon being seated at Coach House, diners were served warm corn sticks. Celestial cornbread. Perfect accompaniment to the black bean soup (which was enriched by a hint of Madeira). There were wonderful crab cakes. Just juicy hunks of the best Chesapeake lump crab meat held together by the merest bit of bread crumbs and seasoning. Lamb ruled at Coach House in the form of triple thick lamb chops or racks of lamb. Greedy HG always had dessert: Pecan pie (not too sweet) that had the right proportion of whole pecans and filling.

Mr. Lianides did not forsake his Greek heritage. He sometimes offered chosen customers (like HG) a taste of Tarama Salata, the salty Greek fish spread to accompany their icy pre-dinner Martini (click here for a link to Leon’s recipe for that Tarama Salata). He also gave HG an excellent cooking tip: Cut away every scrap of fat from lamb chops or lamb racks before roasting or broiling. Lamb fat does not enhance flavor. HG agrees…(SJ does not!)

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§ 4 Responses to Gone But Not Forgotten Restaurants: Coach House"

  • Thank you, I admired Leon so much after reading the Bon Apetit article about the Coach House and that James Beard said that if he had to choose one restaurant and you must eat there for the rest of your life, it would be the Coach House.

    When I had a restaurant my bread was the corn sticks. We really perfected them and they became a signature item.

    Again I appreciate the tribute.
    Stephen Block

    • Gerry says:

      Always a delight to remember Lianides and the great Coach House. What was the name of your restaurant, Stephen, and where was it located?

  • Roberta Donna says:

    On the occasion when my aunt and uncle from North Carolina visited NYC, they would make a point of dining at the Coach House, me included.
    Little did I know the long lasting effect these gatherings would have.
    It was at the Coach House that I became aware of where food could take you , and then never actually leave.
    The Black Bean Soup , the steak with the richest and deepest au poivre I have ever tasted to this day , the cornbread sticks, and the perfect traditional cocktails , man oh man . A friend who accompanied us said that
    ” they have must secret flavor explosives they add to the food ” . If there is anyone out there who recalls the Chicken Pot Pie , you will understand why This contributor has been
    Attempting to duplicate it. It was served not as a pot pie per se, but openish
    And on a white plate , as memory recollects. No scooping, which is not a negative, but rather flat , as if were broken open before presented to you. To this day , No other has ever equalled it.
    And yep, the Pecan Pie . Would love it now .
    All this and the genuine hospitality of Mr Lianides,
    what a lasting impression .

    • Gerry says:

      It was HG’s favorite restaurant. Thanks for bringing back the joyous memories. Ah, those Coach House lamp chops…and everything else.

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