Enduro opened this fall in a Midtown space set back from Third Avenue that used to be occupied by an Outback Steakhouse, but walking into the restaurant will leave you stunned that restaurants this size are still opening in Manhattan. The cavernous room features a huge bar area, high ceilings that were raised even higher during construction, and a view into a gleaming kitchen. It’s a stunning space to look at, and the "modern American grill," the brainchild of culinary veterans, is also serving some delicious food.
Enduro is owned by Alan Rosen, who also runs Brooklyn’s famed Junior’s, and he’s brought on chef Nathan Huntington, who was formerly chef de cuisine at Chicago’s renowned L2O, where he helped Laurent Gras win three Michelin stars. They’ve assembled a reasonably priced menu of high-quality ingredients prepared simply and smartly, while staying fun and inventive. We had the opportunity to dine there at the invitation of the restaurant, and left quite impressed by the experience.
You’ll most likely want to order a few "Snacks" for the table when you sit down, so go for the fresh-baked pretzel bread, daily pickled vegetables, and house-smoked whitefish spread, which is smoky and would go great on a bagel, a nod to Rosen’s Junior’s pedigree. Shrimp in the shrimp cocktail were monstrous and would be at home in a fine steakhouse, a diver scallop with butternut squash and watercress was perfectly cooked, as was a crabcake that contained a lot more crab than cake. For entrées, there’s plenty for carnivores: a 22-hour braised hunk of short rib could have been eaten with a spoon, all meats are hormone- and antibiotic-free, steaks are dry-aged for 28 days, and the house-ground burger is sourced from Niman Ranch, as well as the bacon. There are also all-natural chickens spinning in the rotisserie, along with Berkshire pork loin and a whole fish of the day. Also made in-house are a coconut layer cake and a soft-serve cheesecake and graham cracker ice cream that all guests should be required to order.
Enduro is a restaurant that can fit into lots of niches: Order creamed spinach, shrimp cocktail, a rib-eye for two, and thick-cut bacon and you’ve got a steakhouse. Order the charcuterie platter and a handful of snacks and appetizers in the bar room and it’s a small plate wine bar. Order the rotisserie chicken and fries and it’s an any-night-of-the-week dinner out. While it’s not perfect, it’s beautiful, versatile, service is fantastic, and there’s no arguing that it’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood.