The Farm Pizza. Photo by Ryan Leeds

They used to shirk at skirt steak. “It was deemed a more inferior cut, chefs used to toss it out,” Chef Gregory Martin explained.

Martin is the Executive Chef at the Westin hotel’s Foundry Bar & Kitchen, located on 43rd and 8th avenue in the heart of Times Square.

Calamari and gastrique. Photo by Ryan Leeds&

Manhattan Digest reviewed this pleasantly surprising find last fall when he had just taken the helm at the Foundry. After tweaking the menu, the upstate New York native managed to bring some welcome additions to an already solid line up. One of these additions: brown sugar and spice rubbed skirt steak served medium rare atop a bed of crunchy cider vinegar slaw. With a precise amount of charbroil and juicy pink center, Martin proves that skirt steak can, in fact, reign supreme–Ok, it’s not filet mignon, but it also won’t bust your budget.

Skirt Steak. Photo by Ryan Leeds

A recent visit also included the farm pizza, a thin crust, generously sized pie with fresh ingredients: pear jam, cipollini, and a pile of sharp arugula which contrasted beautifully against the sweet jam. Who knew that a luxury brand could be so cheesy? Chef Martin. He also adds Coach brand goat cheese to the mix. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of goat cheese so he graciously swapped this for a smooth, rich Great Hill Bleu Cheese.

Calamari clings to so many bar menus. Usually, it’s served with uninspired marina or a decent aioli. Those won’t fly in Chef Martin’s kitchen. He elevates the crispy squid rings to new heights with a tomato based tang: caramelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar. It’s a process that yields a sweet, sour and slightly spicy gastrique. Is it good? As the French would say, “très deliseuer!”

The pan-seared halibut is also a winner here. It’s a generous portion of fish, prepared with a crisp exterior and hearty flakes. Blood oranges adorn the top. Underneath, spinach and blood oranges mingle with butter in a creamy emulsion.

Pan Seared Halibut. Photo by Ryan Leeds.

The Foundry is a notch above the usual hotel restaurant. It offers common favorites like beef sliders, quesadillas, burgers, and salads and has enough options for vegans, vegetarians, and meat lovers alike. For more information, check out the last review here or click below:

Foundry Bar & Kitchen, 270 West 43rd at 8th Avenue.