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Review - High Tea at the Four Seasons (57th St, Midtown)

AKR Jan 7, 2007 09:48 PM

Review - High Tea at the Four Seasons (57th St, Midtown)

As a special treat, my SO took me to high tea ($46/person) at the Four Seasons in midtown. It was luxurious, probably something I would not have I tried on my own.

They seat you in a beautiful high celinged area off their main lobby, which has a fireplace and tall wingbacked chairs. The service level is extraordinary -- for example every server remembered our names throughout the visit. The Four Seasons seems to have a knack for finding/teaching graciousness to their staff.

The only choice one has to make is what to tea to try from the spectrum of a dozen or so. I went with the peppermint herbal tea, which was served in its own mini pot, with a choice of 3 honeys, which I eschewed.

The savory courses arrived first, on a beautiful platter, with herbs layed underneath the glass. There is a smoked salmon canape wrapped in a potato pancake with a little cheese to hold it together. Next to that was an egg salad with caviar over a shortbread like crust. Then came a perfect cucumber sandwich, thinly sliced over goat cheese on a dark rye/pumpernickel piece of bread. Then there was a smoked chicken salad mini sandwich, with raisins and nuts. All of these were absolutely superb and appeared to be very labor intensive to make, as each was fresh and garnished very ornately. I wish I had taken pictures of them, reflecting on this.

Now came the sweet courses. My favorite was a crumbly scone with clotted cream and a berry/ginger preserve. Rich, but not greasy. Then there was a lemon merangue tart.

  1. AKR Jan 8, 2007 01:20 AM

    Review - High Tea at the Four Seasons (57th St, Midtown)
    (a few edits and additions more)

    As a special treat, my SO took me to high tea ($46/person) at the Four Seasons in midtown. It was luxurious, probably something I would not have I tried on my own. We led off with a glass of NV Louis Roederer ($25) each.

    They seat you in a beautiful high ceilinged area off their main lobby, which has a fireplace and tall wingbacked chairs. The service level is extraordinary -- for example every server remembered our names throughout the visit. The Four Seasons seems to have a knack for finding/teaching graciousness to their staff.

    The only choice one has to make is what to tea to try from the spectrum of a dozen or so. I went with the peppermint herbal tea, which was served in its own mini pot, with a choice of 3 honeys, which I eschewed.

    The savory courses arrived first, on a beautiful platter, with herbs layed underneath the glass. There is a smoked salmon canape wrapped in a potato pancake with a little cheese to hold it together. Next to that was an egg salad with caviar over a shortbread like crust. Then came a perfect cucumber sandwich, thinly sliced over brie cheese on a dark rye/pumpernickel piece of bread. Then there was a smoked chicken salad mini sandwich, with raisins and nuts. All of these were absolutely superb and appeared to be labor intensive to make, as each was fresh and garnished very ornately. I wish I had taken pictures of them, reflecting on this.

    Now came the sweet courses. My favorite was a non traditional crumbly scone with clotted cream and a berry/ginger preserve. Rich, but not greasy. Then there was a lemon merangue tart, which had a core of something like kiwi fruit perhaps. Then there was a cookie cut in half, sandwiching a cream filling. There was a layered jam Napooeon style cookie with strawberries on top. Then there was a mini pecan pie kind of treat. The sweet course was good, but to my taste, not at the caliber of the exceptional savory course.

    It was very impressive for an afternoon tea, although quite expensive. We'll save this for special occasions.

    AKR

    1. b
      Bigtigger Jan 8, 2007 03:24 AM

      Glad you enjoyed what your last paragraph correctly refers to as "afternoon tea." However, this is not synonymous with "high tea." The latter is a working class meal, a hearty supper with an egg dish or stew, sides and dessert with lashings of tea. Afternoon Tea is, as you described it, an elegant pause in mid-afternoon, bridging the gap between luncheon and dinner, and consisting of tea, sandwiches, scones and petit fours.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bigtigger
        NAtiveNewYorker Jan 17, 2007 02:17 PM

        Interesting. Do any places in NYC serve "high tea," named I guess after the height of the required table ("higher" than a low down coffee table filled with just finger snacks)?

        Or is it all just "afternoon tea," sometimes mistakenly called "high tea?"

        1. re: NAtiveNewYorker
          gumnaam Jan 17, 2007 03:07 PM

          High Tea is usually an end of the day meal served later than Afternoon Tea. Think farms and workers after a hard days work coming home or to the farmhouse for their big meal. Usually, High Tea is the last meal though there may be a light supper later at night. Afternoon Tea is more like a light snack accompanied by tea served earlier in the afternoon. The working class is out working at that time, as they well should be(!), so

          Afternoon Tea is usually the privilege of the upper classes, including office goers who often went home for tea. The latter was especially true in the days of the Raj when an anglo-indian civil servant would start the day at five or six in the morning, pig out on breakfast at nine or ten, work all morning and early afternoon, return home for a light tea, and then head out for tennis in the early evening, ending up in the club for a whisky later.

      2. omotosando Jan 17, 2007 05:34 AM

        Yes, but how was the tea? I go to tea for the tea, not the food. Good food is great, but not with mediocre tea.

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