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St. Regis Hotel -- 55th @ 5th Avenue

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  • Mary H. Jan 11, 2002 02:35 PM
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My husband and I will be traveling to NYC in late February and will be staying at the St. Regis Hotel. Looking for great restaurants in the area for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Like all types of food, particularly Italian, American (i.e., Gramercy Tavern), delis, Pizza. Your suggestions would be much appreciated and whether you would recommend reservations. Thanks! Mary

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  1. For dinner, you actually one of NY's 4-star restaurants in your hotel - Lespinasse. Not sure there are any recent reviews on this board, but it's supposed to be quite an experience, very much the classic, elegant, fancy NY restaurant.

    The King Cole bar there is also a must-do -- great drinks, and the best bar snacks in NY -- wasabi peas, macadamias and such.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Jason W.

      Jason, I stayed at the St. Regis Hotel about 3 years ago & I agree: it is a must-do. In fact, I would have to say that the King Cole Bar was probably the best bar that I ventured into. This trip, I plan to visit the Oak Bar at the Plaza -- haven't been to this hotel property or bar before despite several trips to NYC.

      Any other bar suggestions? Thank you for your help.

      1. re: Mary H.

        I don't mean to horn in here, Mary, but if you
        (understandably) like the King Cole, you might also
        enjoy Bemmelmen's (sp?) in the Carlyle Hotel.
        Interesting old New York room and often some
        great music.

        1. re: Mary H.

          Other bars near you to consider:

          for view: Top of the 6s (I think that's the name) at the top of 666 5th Ave (west side between 52 & 53) and the Pen-Top at the top of the Peninsula Hotel right across 5th Ave from the St. Regis both offer views because of their height. I don't know where the women's room at the 666 is, but from the men's room you can see New Jersey! The Oak Bar can be tough to get into ... lines out the door waiting to get in (although this might have changed post 9-11). I'd also recommend the Rotunda in the Pierre (east side of 5th between 60 & 61.

          Four restaurant suggestions (all very expensive): for seafood, Le Bernardin in the Equitable Building on 51st between 6th and 7th.

          JoJo, 160 E. 64th St., just east of Lexington, and Jean Georges in the Trump International Hotel (which also has a more casual restaurant/bar, Nougatine, that shares Jean George's kitchen) at Columbus Circle are both awesome. They are two of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants. If you want to waste an entire afternoon have lunch at Jean Georges when the room is flooded with natural light and gorgeous. Both offer prix fixe lunches that are very good. Jean Georges also has a small but very good cheese course and an excellent sommelier.

          Finally, if you'd like to give downtown a lift, I heartily recommend Montrachet (239 W. Broadway in Tribeca near Franklin Street (the downtown subway station there is gorgeous too!). Excellent food, great wine list with great depth in Burgundies.

          1. re: Timowitz

            Yo, Tim:

            Top of the Sixes closed in 1996...it's now a private cigar bar, called Havana.

            JoJo used to be one of my favorite restaurants, but I thought it closed (seemingly indefinitely) for renovations...are you sure it's open?

            Seth Ruffer

            1. re: Seth Ruffer
              c
              Caitlin McGrath

              JoJo reopened recently, after renovation and a menu revamp of some kind. I have not been, but I believe it was reviewd in last week's NY Magazine.

              1. re: Seth Ruffer

                Seth

                Thanks for the heads up about Top of the Sixes. Yes, JoJo has reopened, shortly after 9-11, I believe. William Grimes did a Diner's Journal report in the Times. I will be in New York in February the weekend before Valentine's Day and hope to renew my acquaintance if I can find someone to go with me. I'll be interested in seeing if it is as enjoyable as it used to be, although I have no reason to believe Vongerichten's standards would have slipped. The renovation was largely cosmetic; I think the look is a lot plusher. The changes to the menu, according to Grimes, were minimal. In fact, the changes he did mention were overstated. Some of his "new" menu items were old standards brought back (and heartily welcomed by me).

                1. re: Seth Ruffer

                  Jo Jo's, after a beautiful renovation, is opened and BETTER than ever.
                  The food is sublime, the service professional and informative. The ambience is very inviting and lively, a wonderful crowd for people watching.

              2. re: Mary H.

                Ugh. Was at the Oak Bar on Friday and had a never-to-return experience. My boyfriend and I were seated, I ordered a beer ($8) and he ordered a Johnny Walker Black($15?) and then we were ignored for the duration of the time. My bf sat there seething in front of an empty glass for over 15 minutes before we both got on our jackets -- the international signal for "check, please." I finally got our waiter's attention with a wild wave, asked for the check ... and he proceeded to clean off the table next to us. Very infuriating.

                1. re: Abbylovi

                  Try Cafe des Artistes for a lovely bar. Try to coordinate when nothingis goingon at Lincoln Center so that (a) it won't be as crowded and (b) you won't have to put up with the glitterati (present and has-been).

                  THe report on the Oak BAr is distresssing although it is still a beautiful place. Of course, the owners of The Plaza, ever since Western International; have run the place like a roadside chain. Eliminating the caot-and-tie rule in the bar was the begining of the end.

              3. re: Jason W.

                Had a dreadful experience at Lespinasse.....After waiting over an hour for our chicken, it came out clucking. When we told the waiter that the chicken was under cooked, he responded"that is the way the chef prepares it".
                After a chat with the manager, we finally were presented with the dish properly cooked. They did comp the dinner, that was what the entire experience was worth...zero.

              4. Tons and tons of great places at all ends of the budget spectrum...for terrific nouvelle cuisine, JUdson Grill on 52nd between 6th/7th Aves--moderately pricey, great ambience, better food; for pan Asian that you won't forget, China Grill (maybe one of my two or three favorite restaurants in the city) at 6th Ave between 52/53 Streets...expensive, but portions are made to share; one of the best Sushi restaurants in the city is Sushisay, east 50s...expensive and absolutely worth it; Molyvos on 7th Ave between 55th/56th for great greek cuisine in an upscale setting...moderately expensive; Osteria de Circe, on West 55th between 6th/7th Aves is very expensive and serves wonderful northern Italian cuisine; Aquavit on West 54th for delectable scandinavian (though I kinda think the quality has somewhat deteriorated since the emergence of Samuelsson as a "superstar"), expensive...Cite on West 51st between 6th/7th Aves for a terrific wine deal...food is quite good, and after 8 pm they'll pour umlimited amounts of any four wines (they choose the wines--they're always top notch)for $59.50/person....

                For less expensive fare there are a couple of delis--Stage and Carnegie--both of which are tourist traps..the real delis are downtown--see other posts here...it's not easy, in my opinion, to get really great pizza in midtown...the area has been annexed by various versions of Ray's, but if you're from out of town, this should be fine...

                However, great ethnic adventures can be had in the midtown area...most are moderately priced or less..Bay Leaf for Indian on West 56th between 5th/6th Aves, or our favorite in the area, Bombay Palace, on West 52nd between 5th/6th...Africa #2 on 53rd Street bewtween 8th/9th...etc., etc.....

                Narrow down your interests and you'll get tons of great suggestions here.

                Have fun!

                Seth

                7 Replies
                1. re: Seth Ruffer

                  I've always thought of China Grill and Cite as expense account places -- not places I'd go on my own dime. I recall the steak at Cite being ok, but for a pricey steak there are tons of better options, wouldn't you say? Are there other dishes there you love?

                  1. re: Jason W.

                    I agree they are pricey, but China Grill is, in my opinion, quite a good value because they serve family style, so all dishes are large enough to share (and then some!) The staff are usually extremely friendly and helpful, and when you are seated they'll usually advise you, if you are, say, two people, to order only one entree and one appetizer, because of how large the portion served are. I've never had anything I haven't absolutely loved there--the seared tuna is incredible; pork loin is indescribable; you get the idea...

                    With regard to Cite, I offered that suggestion mostly because of the wine deal--I think their food is above average, but nothing to write home about. (Last time I was there the leg of lamb was very good, and the polenta served with it was delectable! However, the waiter was sort of indifferent..) The thing is, for $60.00/head, you're going to have an opportunity to drink a lot of great wine that normally would cost much more.

                    I'm pretty lucky, too, because each time I've been to Cite, and usually when I've been to China Grill, it has been on an expense account! (Althought the last three times I was at China Gril, I paid out of my own pocket..painful, but worth it...)

                    Seth

                    1. re: Seth Ruffer

                      Seth, these sound terrific. My husband and I love wine, and the Cite's special priced deal after 8 p.m. for unlimited wine is appealing. These suggestions are definitely going on the short list! Many thanks.

                    2. re: Jason W.

                      We have had limited exposure to ethnic food (Indian, Lebanese, etc) and tend to eat American, Steaks, Seafood, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, with Italian (Northern & Southern) probably being the favorite. We also prefer menu offerings which include great salads and fresh vegetables. I love sushi but my husband is not a big fan...he will venture out and give it a try occasionally.

                      Further, we would like to have some great pizza for lunch, as well as visit a terrific deli. Based on your comments, it sounds like we will need to venture away from the hotel area. Any suggestions within Manhattan? We also will be seeking places for dessert, and a chocolate fix.

                      To give you a point of reference, my favorite restaurant in NYC is Gramercy Tavern. I prefer to sit in the bar area where it is more casual...great people watching & great food.

                      Thanks again for your assistance.

                      1. re: Mary H.
                        c
                        Caitlin McGrath

                        For a different kind of "meal," the St. Regis itself has a lovely afternoon tea, complete with harpist. I was there in Novemebr and enjoyed it a lot. And it certainly is a meal, as they'll bring you as many plates of scones and tea sandwiches and pastries as you want. It's $35/person, though.

                        For chocolate, you're right near Rockefeller Center, where there is La Maison du Chocolat (which happens to be discussed below).

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                          a
                          Alberto Viliani

                          for chocolate & tea there's Fauchon (famous Parisian confectionary) where there's great chocolate & a place for tea.

                          for pizza in the neighborhood, try Angelo's on 57 Street between 6th & 7th -- coal oven, thin crust -- quite authentic

                          we love Topaz for a cozy, Thai food experience -- very fresh.

                          Just visited the new renoavtions at JoJo (East 64 Street between Lexington & 3rd) very charming & cozy -- the appetizers were particularly interesting like peekytoe crab, beet green ravioli, and orange dusted shrimp -- yum!

                          Have a great time in NYC!!

                    3. re: Seth Ruffer
                      m
                      Motts McGregor

                      Based on an earlier recommendation I saw on this board, I tried Sacco's at 54th and 9th Avenue recently. A bit of a hike from 5th Avenue, but well worth it if you've got the time. The slice was a huge step up from the usual greasy and over-cheesed affair available in this part of town.

                      -Motts

                    4. For top seafood I would go to Oceana at 55 East 54th street between Madison and Park.Very attractive place.If you like wine and want steak I'd try Sparks at 210 East 46th street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.It's known for it's extensive wine list and fair prices.

                      1. No one has mentioned Trattoria del Arte, 7th Ave between 56th and 57th. I've eaten there at least 20 times in the past ten years. Very good food, huge portions. Nice antipasto bar. Do not miss a couple of their "signature" dishes: filet mignon of tuna, seared rare, over lentils (a nice compromise if your s.o. doesn't like sushi), the double veal chop (wonderful quality and virtually impossible to finish) and very good lamb chops. The canolli (sp?) are the best in the city, as far as I'm conerned.
                        Have a great time in NYC. (Was married at the St. Regis Roof, but that's another story . . .)