What’s on the menu at St. Thomas, Yorkville’s new restaurant for tapas and wine-pairing dinners
It’s the sister spot to the Michelin-starred Enigma
Three years ago, chef Quinton Bennett opened Enigma, an opulent tasting-menu restaurant that has since clinched a Michelin star. Before that, he racked up experience leading kitchens in high-end restaurants and hotels in the UK, and travelling extensively in his spare time. Over two decades, he honed his token style: carefully constructed dishes with global influences but classical French or British backbones.
St. Thomas is Enigma’s sister restaurant—right down to its kitchen and team—but the ethos is a touch more low-key. There’s an à la carte menu with more-accessible price points and a focus on Spanish food, particularly the cuisine of the Basque region, which revolves around tapas (or pintxos, in Basque).“It’s important to me that neither restaurant feels like a stuffy library where you can’t crack a joke,” Bennett says.
St. Thomas is still plenty luxurious, with a steadfast focus on top-notch ingredients, inventive recipes and scrupulous precision in the kitchen. But there are always a few seats reserved for walk-ins, and guests can just as easily grab a vino tinto and some chorizo-prawn focaccia as settle in for a multi-course meal.
The kitchen hums with the orderly chaos typically associated with restaurants of this calibre—think lighting-quick knife work and plating tweezers galore. But it’s not complication for the sake of complication: underlying the menu of elevated pintxos is a constellation of house-made oils, gels, infusions and the like (often as much to curb waste as to extract maximum flavour) that make every dish a carefully considered balancing act.
Sweet Hokkaido scallops are reinforced with nori pesto and shiro cream; Wagyu flatiron steak comes with porcini purée and smoky demi-glace; and petals of pickled red onion are filled with clear, piquant onion gel. And from 5 to 6 p.m., it’s pintxo hour—for $45, guests get a glass of champagne and a choice of three snacks, including savoury sourdough churros and Wagyu tartare on freshly baked brioche.
There’s a lengthy wine list that tends toward old-world classics, including a solid by-the glass-selection that includes organic Spanish Grenache and South African Syrah. Cocktails are balanced and thoughtfully constructed, like an autumnal blend of calvados, dry curaçao and Drambuie clarified with a milk-fat wash. There’s also an extensive selection of top-shelf spirits, like Pappy Van Winkle, a hard-to-find American-made bourbon with a cult following.
The opulently whimsical room—with iridescent forest-green walls, gold mosaic tile, glass partitions etched with floral patterns and chandeliers strung with glittering butterflies—is loosely inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Slightly set off from the main room is a small champagne lounge (which is also available for private bookings) set before an ornate wine-and-liquor display.