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Mar 13, 2011 03:41 AM

Most opulent, lavish brunch in town?

Hey all, planning a very special event, and was looking for a very elegant brunch for a Sunday. Basically think the tango scene in Scent of a Woman :)...

Preferably some place on or very near the park, I'd love it if it had actual views of it.

What would you recommend?

Thanks so much!

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  1. The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel?

    Palm Court
    768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019

    1. St. Regis, Peninsula, Waldorf......definitely a five star hotel

      1. You know, the Palm Court was my first thought, but on seeing it a few months ago I felt it was like a gallery- everyone inside was cordoned off and everyone outside (there's a *lot* of foot traffic) was gawking and staring at them. Really awkward :). Plus no windows, which I thought was a shame.

        Just had a look at the St. Regis- Astor Court seems to get really mixed reviews.

        Peninsula was promising, but had a look and the main restaurant, Fives, didn't seem like such a nice space.

        Took a look at the Pierre, as it turns out that's where the tango scene was actually filmed! Unfortunately, they've remodeled since then and the replacement, Le Caprice, is now far from elegant like it used to be :(.

        Waldorf: also promising at first, then I took a closer look. It's a buffet style, which wouldn't be as desirable, but could still work. But then I had a look at the pics, and it looks like a Vegas buffet- people in t-shirts and shorts all lined up to get sliced ham from under a red lamp. Far cry from what we're after!

        Is elegance dead? There's got to be some brunch around the park that has that ridiculously over the top, old world elegance. Doesn't necessarily have to be in a hotel.


        Palm Court
        768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019

        Astor Court
        2 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022

        12 Replies
        1. re: BigBrother

          How about lunch at per se? Yes, it isn't brunch food, but it is superb cuisine. The space has understated rather than opulent elegance, and there is a fabulous view out towards Central Park.

          1. re: RGR

            I appreciate the suggestion, but I've been to Per Se twice- the first time and the last :). That place is never getting another penny from me again. Offensively over-priced for what you get. I'm fine with spending the coin, I just thought the food didn't live up to half my expectations for that amount. Same with Jean Georges across the street. It's a shame there's nothing else at Time Warner... although, I wonder about whatever replaced the V Steakhouse that was there a while ago (which I actually quite liked). Will look it up

            Per Se
            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

            Jean Georges
            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: BigBrother

              While I felt per se's food was superb (with the exception of a veal dish which was bland, bland, bland), I do agree that one can get cuisine just as good or even better elsewhere without spending that kind of money.

              Is it Porter House that took V's space? Of maybe A Voce? Haven't been to either but can't imagine they'd have the kind of elegance you're looking for.


          2. re: BigBrother

            I hear you. Generally, some quality is sacrificed for the setting and service when it comes to hotels.
            One if by land, two if by sea also comes to mind. Spectacular location. Three-star food.
            Look what happened to the tavern on the green.

            Truthfully, I think most hounds prefer quality over the room, like huevos rancheros and a bloody mary at the local spot over a fancy white linen brunch.

            If you have an unlimited budget, call per se and arrange a private room and a customized menu. They are open Sundays. Certainly no lack of elegance there, although it might not hark back to the days of the titanic. :) Modern elegance means a nice room, great service and high quality food.

            Perhaps you are right, an elegant brunch with five star cuisine is dead. Modern chefs that service world class food usually don't have lavish rooms, the opulence is in the food. If you want that old world feel, you will probably have to compromise the quality of the food.

            1. re: AdamD

              What about something elevated on a higher floor? I'm thinking Rainbow Room style. The food doesn't have to be spectacular (at the end of the day we're really just talking eggs and oj, let's be honest), so the ambiance and view should be a knockout to make it memorable...

              1. re: BigBrother

                Hmmm brunch on a high floor near the park.

                Where is Kathryn when you need her? :)

                Asiate at the mandrin probably has the highest floor brunch near the park.

                80 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

                1. re: BigBrother

                  The River Cafe has a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. But, of course, that means going to Brooklyn.


                  If you're willing to sacrifice the view but still have the elegant room, I would suggest Tocqueville. They don't serve brunch; however, it's one of our favorite places to have lunch on a Saturday. (Not open on Sunday.) Imo, it's one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city, and the food is superb.



                  1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: BigBrother

                    Perhaps, the Boat House in Central Park? Gorgeous lakeside view!



                    Central Park Boathouse
                    Central Park East Drive E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021

                    1. re: RGR

                      Hah, it's funny, the Boat House was quickly becoming my top pick when I came back to read this! It's probably got *the* most parts right. Will keep looking, but this is top for now. Thanks so much RGR!

                      1. re: BigBrother

                        You're welcome, BB! It is a bit touristy, but so what? The view -- at least, in the summer, never been there at this time of year -- is stunning. We've been there two times for lunch, and the food was surprisingly good.


                        1. re: RGR

                          Hoping to make reservations for the Boat House for brunch the later part of March 2012 for 10 people. But, since some in our group have difficulty walking is the Boat House doable? I have heard it is quite a walk to the restaurant. What other suggestions may you have? We are in New York to celebrate our daughters graduation. Leaving on Sunday and want a final brunch before taking off for the airport. We are staying near Columbus Circle and Central Park West.
                          Thank you,

                          1. re: foodseek

                            I recommend The Carlyle Restaurant @ Carlyle Hotel. They used to have sunday brunch buffet but sadly discontinued it recently and now it's prix fixe. It's really elegant.

                            For photos of its interior and settings, please refer to:

                            Sunday Brunch Menu:

                            Carlyle Restaurant
                            35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

              2. What about the Carlyle? I think that's about as elegant and old world as you can get.

                1. Por Una Cabeza. One of my favorite songs.

                  AdamD's suggestion, Asiate, seems like exactly what you're looking for. You'll be able to set your own pace for this meal and tables are far apart enough for privacy. If they aren't too busy, you might be able to ask for a booth.

                  80 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023