The atmosphere screams of the sophisticate you expect of Columbus Circle while lightly beating of the beatnik roots of the popular jazz scene. Tables close enough to reach out and touch your neighbour while being far enough away that you can still have an intimate conversation. The backdrop of the stage a panoramic view of the city from the edge of Central Park. Even the building being spaced so perfectly from the view that they don’t crowd your view of the treetops of the park. Intimacy, privacy and connection to the city and it’s music prepare you for both a musical and culinary treat. The menu reaches to the heart of jazz’s Louisiana connections with a seared Catfish Po’Boy, Bourbon Flamed Angus Strip Steak, Crawfish and Crabcakes and Crawfish Beignets. The mainly seafood laden “Gumbo-laya” with crab meat, shrimp, crawfish, andouille sausage, tasso ham and chicken makes me wonder if the chef’s can dish out what the menu has me yearning. And to Dizzy Gillespie himself is a dish named “Salt Peanuts”
The warm lighting and simple flourescent downlighting on the tables decorated with an eggshaped dome light help to accentuate the clean edges and of the room as well as its waving acoustic wall panelling. The scent of the room becomes as intoxicating as a back-alley New Orleans restaurant as I now crave crawfish étouffée and gumbo.
The crab soup was light on the crab with a nice touch of saffron. Though lacking in content, the use of celery and spices blended nicely for a rather enjoyable start. The spices used gave a late kick that would last until at least your meal was served. I still would like to see more crab in the soup advertised as a crab soup.
The sounds of Dizzy Gillespie’s All Star band featuring Charlie Persip, Dizzy’s drummer and current New School professor was great. Starting off with specific people who couldn’t keep tempo, but were excellent once they woke up or had their solo and got on-point.
The seared Catfish Po’Boy served with coleslaw and sweet potato fries was slightly chilly when served. The fries were so heavily salted that one may forget they were sweet potato fries and think they were in a 1990’s McDonald’s. Maybe a selling point for those who don’t like sweet potatoes. The Po’Boy itself on a toasted roll with lettuce, tomato and all your po’boy basics was delicious. The spicy mustard they used added a well needed layer of flavour that the seared catfish lacks on its own. Cooked well enough that the fish stayed together while being cook fully through.
The second course of the night Chelsea Crowe, and her rich voice, perfect for jazz. Soulful, never late and on pitch as she sang Willow Weep for Me. I would even venture to say that I enjoyed listening to her sing it more then Nina Simone. even her stage presence was simply delightful. An act I’d like to see mature and be given a chance to perform more herself.
“I go green by drinking local.”
The Long Island based Blue Point Brewering Company’s Blueberry Ale closely mimiced the blueberry beer from the Boston Beer Works without the use fo blueberry garnish. Though the Beer Works is moving away from the blueberries through the hoses and rather an added garnish. The selection of wines, champagnes, beers, cordials and spirits was a bit more then i originally expected and made the place a bit more versatile as an after dinner spot.
The gift of the night was a free carrot cake for Dizzy’s Birthday.
If not for the music and culture, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola offers an amazing view, decent bar selection and very good food.