Todd English / Plaza Food Hall - recommendations?
Looking for recommendations on what to try in the Todd English Food Hall / Plaza Food Hall during a solo weekend in the Upper East Side in August.
What is the difference between the Todd English Food Hall and the Plaza Food Hall? They are both in the Plaza hotel, right?
I'd most likely go there for dinner after the museums close from either the Met, Neue, or the Frick.
The main reason why I was gravitating towards the Food Hall is because dining solo there would seem less strange than the more formal UES places (my perception.)
Here are UES places I've researched that sound great:
Are any of these particularly well suited for solo dining?
(or NOT well suited for solo dining?)
Park Avenue Summer
Café Sabarsky (@ Neue museum)
Pembroke Room for afternoon tea
Arabelle (@ Hotel Plaza Athenee where I'm staying)
I think your perception about eating out solo on the UES side is incorrect. It's not uncommon and there is no reason to feel strange about it. Park Avenue Summer is lovely, friendly, and delicious as is Café Boulud. The only other one I can comment on from personal experience is Arabelle, which I thought stuffy and overpriced, very formal. If you are coming from the Met (my neighborhood), one of my favorites is Paola's on Madison at 92nd for excellent, sophisticated Italian. If you want more casual but still very good, Pascalou and Le Paris (both French) are on the same block on the West side of Madison. You should be totally comfortable dining alone in any of these places.
re: City Kid
I've spent time in Rome and Paola's is an authentic experience, with proprietor Paola continually making the rounds to make sure. I haven't had the carciofi but everything I have had has been first-rate...delicious pastas, seafood salad, vitello tonnato, and my favorite entree, the duck breast with wholegrain red risotto, mushrooms, apricot mustard, black truffle vinaigrette. Don't skip the homemade tartufo for dessert, creamy gelato rolled in chunks of bittersweet chocolate. I hope you go and I hope you enjoy it!
CK's answers are so sweet & subtle that I won't fuss with them -other, perhaps, than to add Daniel to the mix.
More importantly, though, it should really be carved at the mouths of the tunnels into Manhattan that there is nowhere in the city that a single person -male or female- cannot eat solo. There's nothing strange about it, and no opprobrium attached; people coming from outside the city often fret on these boards about the possible shame of the table-for-one, but it's truly hasn't been an issue in this town since 1979.
Indeed, for a woman used to living and dining in Rome, negotiating the Manhattan scene must surely be a 'pezzo di torta'.
re: Phil Ogelos
re: Phil Ogelos
>> -other, perhaps, than to add Daniel to the mix.
I'll be at Hotel Plaza Athenee so I was thinking about Daniel which from Google Maps looks like its in the same block behind the hotel. I would expect some servers at a restaurant like Daniel to be mildly annoyed at solo diners. But I certainly could be wrong there.
I had hoped for the Surrey or the Carlyle based on all Hotwire bid history of 5* wins with that amenity list. Alas, it turned out to be the Athenee ($287/night). Looks like a great hotel, it's just not as close to
1) the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Neue, where I will probably spend an hour staring at Der Kuß (The Kiss)
if they have it. It's on my current iPhone cover and travel tote, which I seized at a Vienna Christmas market stall last December.
2) Cafe Boulud - which looks to have delicious breakfasts.
Breakfast at the Athenee will be $4x and standard. (though with a name like the Athenee, maybe the croissants are outstanding?
)Breakfast at Cafe Boulud has much more creative sounding meals starting at less than half that.
Above is based on looking at menu items contains eggs. Eggs keep me full forever for some reason. If I have a breakfast with eggs I could last till 5:00pm without eating again.
However, given this is NYC and Cafe Boulud is not handy for breakfast, maybe I should just bring my homemade granola and put a yogurt in the minibar. Then I will definitely need a real lunch, and I will be near Cafe Boulud and other places mentioned here.
>> More importantly, though, it should really be carved at the mouths of the tunnels into Manhattan that there is nowhere in the city that a single person -male or female- cannot eat solo. There's nothing strange about it, and no opprobrium attached; people coming from outside the city often fret on these boards about the possible shame of the table-for-one,
I completely agree that's philosophically true.
But some restaurants' environments and solo dining create an azeotropic mixture. Some places can make me as a solo traveler / diner feel very differently about the experience than others.
>> Indeed, for a woman used to living and dining in Rome, negotiating the Manhattan scene must surely be a 'pezzo di torta'.
Funny story about Rome (I haven't lived there but I've traveled there over a dozen times for work. ~ 80% solo trips) :
I totally enjoy dining out alone in Rome. I always stay in the same place near Pizza Navona and the Pantheon, in a square called Piazza Montecitorio. The Italian parliament is located in that square so it is guarded by the handsome Polizia di Stato. No through traffic is allowed (so no drive-by hits on politicos), so it's quiet. Cabs get checked for passengers before they let them pass for hotel drop offs. The restaurants nearby are very 'alive' areas at night, especially in Piazza Navona with its art vendors, school kids singing, lovers kissing, etc.
Part of the Italian culture as expressed to me through the completely adorable servers was that eating alone is a terrible, potentially unhealthy thing. Moreover, I needed to find an Italian boyfriend for when I traveled to Rome! ( An older server at Tre Scalini (http://www.trescalini.it/en/ in Piazza Navona) also told me he felt that "Eeenformateeca is evil" when he asked me what I did. )
I can appreciate this from their perspective. Romans are very into seeing, being seen, and interacting with each other. It didn't bother me that they felt this way, they were still very fun to hang with.
Then, one evening an American Airlines flight attendant I'd become friends with tried to join me after I'd been seated for 15 min or so. Ironically, the Roman server tried to prevent this. I guess he didn't realize this was a pre-arranged rendezvous. He waylayed the flight attendant as he walked to my table with a, "Sir she is our private guest." Yes, I was harangued for that comment all during the flight home too ;-).
>> but it's truly hasn't been an issue in this town since 1979.
What happened in 1979?
>Part of the Italian culture as expressed to me through the completely adorable servers was that eating alone is a terrible, potentially unhealthy thing.
For some Americans it's part of this culture too. I've endured awkward lunches with co-workers who've spotted me dining solo in restaurants near work and invited themselves to join me, in part because of their own discomfort with eating alone in public.
I've since become more assertive about this. If I've planned to spend a leisurely lunch with a book, I no longer have a problem with defying cultural norms, Italian or American, and politely disinviting unwanted company.
Whatever you find in the Plaza food hall will be identical to fare and ambiance available in any given upscale mall in North America -only 7.5 times more expensive.
There are eating places that traffic on their brand names (or the space they're in) all over New York City that no longer merit the distinction: all they see in you is a rube easily parted from her money. The Plaza is one of those places.
Why that appeals, I don't know, but you should know as much going in.
(Not least if you're starting so close to places far far better elsewhere on the UES.)
re: Phil Ogelos
I couldn't disagree more. I'm not a mall person but I've never been to one anywhere that had a Pain d'avignon, Stumptown Coffee, Billie's, Sush of Gari, Greenberg's, etc. -- more like Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang's (disclaimer: I had to go to Cheesecake Factory once and have never been to Chang's). Plaza Food Hall is expensive, yes, but if you need high quality stuff to go or a place to sit for a very informal bite you'll do well. That said, I would not go there for dinner, particularly if you will be up by the Met. Do a search on this boards for options on Museum Mile or near the Met, Guggenheim, or Jewish Museum.
re: City Kid
I can't immediately recall the aphorism, ck, but if all the fine foods you describe are served under flourescent lights in a hotel basement cheek by jowl with clothing stores and handbag shops, there's nothing in those circumstances that can justify them as a culinary attraction, at least not in New York.
And if mall-dining is a precondition, better she head to Per Se, Masa, or their neighbours, at the other end of 59th.
i work nearby and visit both the Food Court and the Todd English Food Hall semi-regularly. The Food Court has many favorites, but more towards breakfast and dessert than dinner. W. Greenberg's, Francois Payard, and Lady M are among the best of them. Only Gari offers what I'd consider dinner.
Inside the Todd English section, I've especially enjoyed the flatbreads, the pastrami sandwich, the lamb gyros, and the arugula and parmesan salad. Avoid the "asian" section entirely. Dumplings are a joke and the noodle dishes are just boring.
Worth mentioning Cafe Sabarsky at the Neue Gallery. Excellent pastries and coffee, plus serviceable sausage dishes. They stay open until 9pm during the week. There's also Untitled at the Whitney.
I think you meant to write that Cafe Sabarsky stays open until 9pm on the weekend? Not the week?
From their site:
Monday and Wednesday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Dependent upon what day it is, Untitled may close too early.
Monday & Tuesday closed
Wednesday & Thursday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Ttrockwood, yes I realize it's not exactly close. However, I thought for a solo dinner the Plaza food hall would be better, so was going to catch a cab or bus.
Do you have a different (solo) dinner suggestion?
re: Lady M on e78th, thanks - I have pushpin'd that to my Google Map.
The Todd English Food Hall is one component of the Plaza Food Hall, which is in the basement of the hotel. I worked in the neighborhood a few months ago, so I ate there five or six times. I'd recommend you check out Luke's Lobster and No. 9 sub; both serve good sandwiches and soups. I love Pain D'Avignon's bread, so a sandwich from there would probably be pretty good, too. All the pastry shops in there have good reputations, but I've not eaten in any of them (not into pastry, generally).
If you feel like paying too much for sushi, you can visit Sushi of Gari. I've never been to actual Sushi of Gari, but this little outpost appears to serve ordinary sushi at extraordinary prices. And the only thing I can tell you about the Todd English section is that you can get a single serving of pre-packaged hummus & carrot sticks for $8. Once I saw that, I didn't bother exploring further.