Harding's, a resolutely American restaurant that recently opened in the Flatiron District, is bringing it all back home. Chef Ariel Fox, who helped launch the white hot Acme reboot, has created a menu that pays tribute to traditional American flavors and dishes, with such classics as oysters Rockefeller, steak and potatoes, and pumpkin pie soup. Fox, with the help of interior designer Libbey Gillette, have plucked the best of American cuisine and style from about the 1860s through the 1950s, and stepping inside the 3,500 square foot room feels a bit like opening up an old trunk full of half-forgotten relics.

The bar—a massive rectangular U-shape handmade with Black Walnut from Bucks County, PA—is an isolationist's wet dream. All the spirits and beer are from somewhere in these American states, and this limitation engenders a fresh opportunity to stray from the beaten path. Instead of your usual martini with Tanqueray, you may be compelled to test drive the outstanding Death's Door gin from Wisconsin. Overlooked doors of cocktail perception may be fly open from within! At least, that's what happened to us.

Harding's atavistic ambiance is enhanced by an array of charming little touches, from the 1896 American flag with 45 stars dangling on the wall, to the antique lace tablecloths to actual Civil War bullets embedded throughout the restaurant in the walls and furniture. Each table comes with an antique pewter candlestick, but they're no match for the eleven four foot antique chandeliers scattered throughout the room. In the back, a private dining space overlooks the whole scene, and we'd be surprised if the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter doesn't book it for their Christmas party—it comes with the keys to a private "den" for pre-dinner cordials.

Located in the capacious space that was formerly Gravy, Harding's has only been open a week, and the menu is bound to evolve, but at the press preview we became instant addicts of the oysters Rockefeller, a rich combination of pickled cabbage, wilted winter greens, and fennel sabayon—comfort food on a shell ($14). You also can't go wrong with the Warm Octopus & Potato Salad, which Fox prepares with baby new potatoes, hard boiled egg, and sherry caper vinaigrette $16). Wash it all down with a glass of Brooks Amycas from Oregon's Willamette Valley ($10) and savor some of the stuff that makes America exceptional. Here's the menu:

Harding's Winter Menu 2012

32 East 21st Street, (212) 600-2105