UPPER WEST SIDE — Diners head nightly to Henry's restaurant for grilled hanger steak with wild mushroom bordelaise, but once a month the restaurant serves up a different kind of treat: live performances by Broadway singers.
The bistro at West 105th Street and Broadway is one of several upper Upper West Side restaurants that offer live entertainment, spicing up dinner with singers, guitarists, jazz groups and in one case, a belly dancer.
Henry's adds stage lights, microphones and a baby grand to its dining room for a regular musical event called Sing for Your Supper, hosted by New York Festival Singers founder and vocal coach Steven Biler.
The shows started two years ago as part of the restaurant's 10th anniversary celebration, and they were so popular that owner Henry Rinehart made Sing for Your Supper a regular feature.
Since then the restaurant has hosted performances by well-known vocalists such as opera tenor Paul Appleby, Broadway singer Mary Testa, and sopranos Meredith Lustig, Corinne Winters, and Amy Burton.
"It's turned into the best free show on Broadway," Rinehart said. "They're two feet away from you while you're eating dinner."
Each program has a theme: a holiday show featured Christmas songs by Jewish composers, and April's "Romance in Spring" show had love songs performed by couples who are partners both on and off stage. The next Sing for Your Supper, on May 7, is called "Invitation to the Dance," and will showcase songs about dance. Singers will dance waltzes, rhumbas, foxtrots, and soft-shoes.
Henry's also has a Jazz Brunch on Saturdays, and is considering bringing in actors to do storytelling, similar to The Moth.
Several other Upper West neighborhood eateries offer live entertainment.
Turkuaz, a Turkish restaurant at 2637 Broadway and West 100th Street, has entrees such as fish kebabs in vine leaves and baby okra with lamb, and serves up a belly dancer for the late dinner crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. "[S]he really made the entire night more of a cultural experience instead of just a nice dinner," said one Yelp reviewer, who also praised the restaurant's strong coffee, well-made drinks and great food.
At Bistro Ten 18, at 1018 Amsterdam Avenue and West 110th Street, diners can chow down on Fulton Fish Market cioppino and garlic toast, and catch the Morningside Jazz Collective on Thursday nights from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.
Smoke at 2751 Broadway at West 106th Street is best known for hosting world-class jazz musicians, but it's also a supper club that serves braised short ribs with creamy jalapeno grits and sauteed spinach.
At Alouette, a French bistro at 2588 Broadway and West 97th Street, classical guitarist Andrew Schulman, an Upper West Sider, plays during dinner on Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant brings in a rotating cast of jazz musicians on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Owner Jon Pardo said the music, which the restaurant has been hosting for two years, has brought in customers. “There are a lot of people who look forward to it,” Pardo said. “It’s very subdued. People can still have conversations."
The Underground Lounge at 955 West End Avenue and West 107th Street has standard bar food, such as wings, macaroni and cheese, cheeseburger sliders and pizza. The entertainment is more eclectic, ranging from stand-up comedy to salsa bands and open mic nights. Recently a theater company performed Shakespeare’s King Lear at the basement bar.
DNAinfo.com New York's Upper West Restaurant Month runs throughout May: check out participating restaurants and deals here.