I love eating in New York and this season has marked a particularly rich period of restaurant openings - intimate, one-of-a-kind, unpretentious for the most part, with excellent food.
One of the segments that has really flourished is the hotel restaurant scene, which was previously an afterthought and not particularly exciting. But oh how that has changed in the last year. Now the property eateries are among the best in New York and I have had the hard job of checking them out recently.
Among my favorite new arrivals: Maialino www.maialinonyc.com in the Gramercy Park Hotel, a Roman-style trattoria helmed by Danny Meyer who is one of the city’s most famous and successful restauranteurs (he also owns Union Square Café and 11 Madison Park among others). I love the food, as close to what you can get in Italy’s capital and then some (pastas like bucatini all’ Amatriciana and carbonara, wonderful fried artichokes and great pork chops) and it’s a very buzzy scene. The only downside is that it’s been getting such great reviews that it’s hard to snag a table so book well in advance.
Then there is the no-reservations Breslin in the Ace Hotel, the city’s hottest new gastro pub with a very meat-based (and artery clogging) menu - my husband loves the lamb burger and I am a fan of the leek and goat cheese tart. There is often a long wait but you can hang out at the bar or in the lobby until a table frees up. Or go during less busy hours.
In the hot The Standard in the Meatpacking neighborhood, the Standard Grill (www.thestandardgrill.com) is a great new addition with a kitchen that runs from 7am to 4am (perfect for the night owls who prowl this area at night) and an excellent lunch that runs until four in the afternoon. Chef Dan Silverman made a big name for himself at the Lever House, which was one of the most respected restaurants in the city, and has now made this hotel eatery one of New York’s most popular with straight-ahead no nonsense food - try the “Million dollar” roast chicken or the wonderful octopus with sweet potato.
And the East Side Social Club in the Pod Hotel has given Midtown East a bit more of a scene with a good Italian American menu and classic New York scene - think cured meats, stuffed eggplant, pappardelle with pork shoulder ragu and grilled swordfish with raisins and capers.
Other options in hotels to consider? The sister outpost to London’s Le Caprice (www.lecapriceny.com) now housed in The Pierre , the excellent Italian restaurant Locanda Verde (www.locandaverdenyc.com) in the Greenwich hotel, and the new Vietnamese Ma Peche in the Chambers Hotel (www.chambershotel.com) are also very good additions.
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