It's a deliberately retro spot that's been born, after an eight-month buildout, at the corner of Fourth & Vine in Belltown. Mark and Katie Stern, the owners of the Big Picture cinema three blocks down the street, have recreated, at Henry & Oscar's, the atmosphere of a mid-Manhattan lounge.
The bar now takes up what used to be the main room at Shallots, long, narrow, lots of windows. At Shallots, the tiny bar was an afterthought; here, it could be the main event, like the saloons back in Noo Yawk. No accident. Mark Stern's grandfathers, named Henry and Oscar, were in showbiz, and the concept was to emulate Toots Shor's legendary sports and showbiz hangout on West 51st St. (Those were the days! El Morocco, the Stork Club, the 21 Club! Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra! Toots sold the place at the end of the 1950's, reopened down the street a year later, and eventually got closed down for non-payment of taxes.)
What you don't see from the bar is the rest of the restaurant, down the hall, swanky seating with private booths as well as large tables. One is labelled The Chairman, another The Godfather.
Happy Hour prosecco is five bucks, the fried calamari a notch over six, a colorful Chicago hot dog four. There's a decidedly old-fashioned beef stroganoff on the dinner menu for 18 simoleons, and if you've got a fat roll of bills in your pocket, you might want to go for the filet mignon or the ribeye. The exec chef is Mark Wadhwani, a veteran of Ruth's Chris, the steakhouse chain that's good at relieving diners of their benjamins.
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