Review of our trip - Marseilles, Raoul's, Keen's etc
Our first night was at Two Times Square in the Marriott. This was purely for the view for my sister as it was her first time in NYC. The main course of black cod & collard greens was suprisingly good. This was the first place I ever tried NY cheesecake about 10 years ago when I came to New York with my Mum, so I ordered it for sentimental reasons, and it didn't disappoint....delicious. Although, I have to admit my judgement could have been coloured by the fact I was so excited to be with my sister who I haven't seen in 2 years and the pink champagne we were drinking.
Sunday brunch was at Marseilles. It was amazing. The Eggs Benedict were delicious.....I don't even know how you get an egg to cook that perfectly. I probably shouldn't have also had the nutella croissant, but we were on vacation, and it was oh so good. Service was fabulous too. I really loved everything about this place, and wanted to come back another night for dinner, especially as they had a special "Stinky Cheese Festival" menu, but alas we never made it back here. But it's definately on my revisit list.
Sunday night we went to Raoul's. I love this place! There wasn't one thing I would have changed. To start I had their paté with baby spinach, walnuts & olives which was delicious. I had been craving paté for ages, and this was everything I wanted it to be. Of course I had to have their famous steak au poivre. It just melted in my mouth and is one of the best things I've tasted in a long time and came with the perfect fries. The profiteroles for dessert were also perfect. I love when they are made with ice cream rather than cream. I had used OpenTable for the reservation and mentioned my Sister and I were in town to celebrate our Birthdays. Both our deserts came with the most amazing spun-sugar, 12-inch high "cages" over them, covering a candle which we had to blow out through the cage. Then when you tapped the cage it shattered into a ton of beautiful gold pieces decorating the whole table! I love the decor and vibe of this restaurant, including the gorgeous naked paintings. This was probably my favourite meal of the whole trip and I will definately come here again.
Monday we went to Tribeca Grill. It was kind of boring for lunch. I had gone there for an evening meal a couple of years ago and loved the atmosphere and the food. Although it was perfectly pleasant, it was just a bit flat for atmosphere. I had their black angus burger which was good but nothing amazing. Later we hit the Bubble Lounge but just stayed for one glass of champagne, because we had just come from a spa half-day around the corner and were practically falling asleep. But I really, really liked the look of the place, and will definately revisit sometime when we are more lively. Later that night we just found a little Italian restaurant around the corner from the hotel that was forgettable.
Ayza on Tuesday for the Prix Fixe lunch of hummus and a mini panini of prosciutto,mozzarella, parmesan & basil which was really tasty but really tiny. That was fine for us as we followed it with the chocolate and wine pairing which was delicious. We really enjoyed our time here, including the funny, friendly waiter and his very helpful suggestions, but I would only really come here with female friends if we wanted to do something girly. In the evening we tried again for a nearby Italian trattoria-style restaurant and the meal was ok. But for the second time of trying one of these places they stuck a 20% service charge on the bill before giving it to us. There were only 2 of us dining and we took exception to this. We brought it up and they said "it's what we do here", suggesting this was normal for NY. We told them "no it's what you do in this restaurant and it's not normal for the rest of the town". In the end we didn't want to make a fuss so sucked it up, but I was so angry to be charged what I'm guessing is a "tourist tax". This has never happened to me before in any of my previous visits, but maybe I was further away from Times Square when we did walk-ins before. Even more annoying is that we had planned to go to Casellula, but it was packed to the rafters, so we just randomly picked this place as it was nearby. I wish we had just waited at Casellula now. I guess we'll know better next time.
Seeing as the only bad meals were the ones we winged, I was relieved we had reservations for Keen's on the Wednesday night. I had filet mignon with au poivre sauce because the sauce at Raouls had left me hankering for more. We took the advice from these boards and ordered sides of creamed spinach and fries to go with our steaks. I never thought I would be oohing and ahhing over spinach but it was so delicious....how do they do that?!! The steak was perfect as I had expected. I also remembered everyone talking about the coffee cantata and it was a fabulous, light end to a hearty meal. Although everything was wonderful, I have to say that for my taste, the "au poivre" sauce at Raoul's just beat the sauce at Keen's. Service was excellent; you can tell they've been doing this for a long time. It seemed like a very manly place, although we didn't feel at all uncomfortable, just an observation. What a perfect last meal for our trip.
Thanks to everyone for all the brilliant suggestions. When we followed the advice we got on here the meals were spectacular, so I will know better next time than to leave things to chance. I remember someone on here told me to book as much as I could as I could always cancel. Good advice and I will definately be doing that more next time. I adore your city, thanks again.