Stepping into Swifty’s is like entering a beautiful English country manor. It delights with small irregularly shaped rooms with wooden paneling, patterned wallpaper, leather banquettes, and mirrored walls. This romantic Upper East Side spot charms easily.
Established 15 years ago by owners Robert Caravaggi and Stephen Attoe, both alumni of the legendary Mortimer’s, it bears the qualities of both permanence and tradition.
Swifty’s is a reflection of the hospitality of the owners, who receive their guests with ease and warmth, making them feel as if at home. It has become a dining place for New York’s society and celebrities as well as power brokers.
Caravaggi explained with a smile that Swifty’s is basically a bistro but with a very elegant clientele. At the same time it embraces its younger, more casual diners.
According to executive chef and co-owner Stephen Attoe, the menu items stay consistent but are embellished throughout the year with local and seasonal ingredients. You’ll find American classics here like Roast Chicken with mashed potatoes ($29) or the Swifty’s Baked Meatloaf with mashed potatoes ($27). European influences can be found throughout, as well as some decadent dishes.
For example, the House Made Torchon of Foie Gras made for a fabulous beginning to my meal. It melted like butter—rich and sweet—and married perfectly with the candied apricots and toasted brioche for additional layers of texture, smooth and crunchy ($23). I thought I heard the angels sounding their trumpets.
Back to reality, I glanced across the table. My dining companion was enjoying every bite of the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, served with tomato aspic ($26).
And then, like, magic, the Gruyère Cheese Soufflé with field greens and mustard sauce appeared on the table.
I noticed how my friend gazed at it with fascination. Against my will, I cut through its airy perfection in order to enjoy it warm. But no regrets. Inside it was smooth, and creamy, and besides, I love cheese. It takes patience, meticulous timing, and proper heat to make a proper soufflé. Otherwise collapse threatens. Savoring each bite, I couldn’t help but appreciate its precise execution.
There’s no question that the food at Swifty’s is of high quality, locally sourced when possible, and comes in substantial quantities. It’s hearty and satisfying. It naturally cheered me up—my mood hadn’t been that cheerful until we started eating.
I also had the crispy Grilled American Red Snapper, which rested gently atop the white beans along the green herb sauce. A true masterpiece, it was light and satisfying with a gentle playful heat that lingered on the palate ($34).
Dessert was another pleasant surprise. The desserts are all made in-house. It took us a while to decide since there were so many tempting choices like the Classic Vanilla Meringue Cake or the Chocolate Molten Cake. Finally we opted for another soufflé but sweet this time: the Hot Chocolate Soufflé with fresh whipped cream ($16). It arrived as airy as its savory cousin. We also had the warm Honeycrisp Apple Tart with vanilla bean ice cream ($14).
A few days later I went back for lunch and had a chance to try the exceptional Swifty’s Slaw ($9.50). It was prepared with long thin strips of red and white cabbage with housemade dressing, and looked like a mound of colored pearls. It must have been my lucky day because the chef’s special that day was a finger-lickin’, lip-smackin’ dish of sautéed soft-shell crab.
Service is efficient and friendly. A smart American and international wine list with a reasonable price range is available.
1007 Lexington Ave. (between E. 72nd and E. 73rd streets)
Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner