For those of you that are familiar with New York's famed Plaza hotel, you are well aware that this legendary landmark has been closed for a number of years due to renovations. Recently (make that very recently), she has reopened her grand doors. Now, should you fall in love with your boudoir while vacationing, The Plaza will not only extend your stay, but you also have the option to buy your very own piece of luxury Manhattan real estate. Yes folks, the famous hotel now shares its space with condos.
With such a lengthy hiatus, I decided that my mother's visit would be the perfect excuse to sample The Plaza's newly opened Rose Club for a post-work cocktail. We arrived at the hotel around 6 p.m. and made our way past the lobby's dainty Champagne Bar and up the grand staircase to the second floor. The atmosphere changed drastically from tranquil and bright European Renaissance to dark, subtly Gothic modern "club chic."
The bar and seating areas were almost occupied to capacity by the time my mom and I arrived. We did spot a table that had just been vacated, though not yet cleaned, and decided to grab it anyways. The location was perfect and we figured that someone would approach us shortly.
Ten minutes later, a waiter finally arrived and took our drink orders. Since beers were a staggering $12 and wines reached in to the early $20's, Mom and I were able to justify the $26 mojito (I suppose it was the "When in Rome" theory?). We also asked for glasses of water and for our table to be wiped clean of crumbs and that the previous guest's glasses be removed. While studying the room, I noticed that other patrons were receiving lovely bowls of nuts to nibble on as they patiently waited for their beverages. Mom and I just sighed, looked at each other and our dirty, empty table, and laughed out loud. Was it the fact that I was wearing Uggs or that Mom preferred wearing sneakers instead of stilettos (that we were so obviously being ignored)? Should my shopping bag have said "Chanel" instead of "Bloomingdales?"
When our drinks arrived, sans our requested waters, bowl of gratis snack nuts and without a hand-rag in sight to clean the table, I got angry. "Sir, our table has been dirty since we arrived. Please wipe it off. We also asked for waters and snack mix." The waiter glared at me and stormed off. When he finally returned with our items, he did not make eye contact with me and literally slammed the waters and nuts down on the table. Mom and I attempted to enjoy our mojitos, but sipped them as quickly as we could. Not ten minutes in to our cocktails, our waiter returned with our bill, which we had clearly not asked for. Interesting. What if we had wanted another round?
Will I return to The Rose Club? No thanks. I could think of plenty of things I'd rather spend $26 on. Furthermore, I'd rather not pay to be treated like total crap.
Need more streamlined advice? Shoot me an email with your specific requests: Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com.
If you've grown tired of traditional macaroni-n-cheese, I suggest trying this recipe that substitutes hominy (maize/corn kernels) for pasta. This dish is loosely based on a recipe from my dear cooking mentor, Ofelia.
- 1/4 cup chopped white onion
- 1 clove of fresh garlic, chopped
- Two 15.5 ounce cans of hominy (drained and rinsed with water to remove extra starch)
- One 4 ounce can of chopped green chile (drained and rinsed with water to remove "canned" taste)
- 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup of cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 1/2 cup of sour cream
- 1/2 cup of shredded Colby cheese
- 1/2 cup of crushed Fritos
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add hominy, tomatoes and green chiles and saute for five minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour ingredients from the saucepan in to the bowl containing the sour cream and cream cheese. Stir components together to blend evenly. Fold mixture in to a lightly greased, 8x8 glass casserole/Pyrex/Le Creuset dish. Evenly top with crushed Fritos.
Bake uncovered in a 300 degree oven for twenty-minutes. Serves four.
Was I the only New Yorker who hadn't been to The Spotted Pig? Apparently so, because when I divulged this to my girlfriends over dinner, I got a couple of chuckles. In order to best avoid the dinner rush, my friends and I arrived at The Spotted Pig around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday night. Foreseeing a two-hour wait from some of the horror stories that I'd heard, I was pleasantly surprised when our table was ready for us by 6:15 p.m.
Situated on a picturesque, tree-lined West Village street, The Spotted Pig is adorned with unfinished hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, an old-fashioned mahogany bar, menu specials written on a large brasserie mirror and decor consisting of shabby chotchkies and mismatched plants.
To start, I ordered the deviled eggs followed by the infamous Spotted Pig burger (that I'd read so many raves about). The "eggs" (note the pluralization) were just one whole egg sliced in half. The cooked yolks were mixed with a zesty mustard blend, crunchy green chives and sprinkled with sea salt. Though I've had better versions, these devils were tasty and just "enough" substance to whet my appetite. The moment of truth came as my medium-cooked burger arrived. Enveloped between a grilled brioche bun was a generous portion of beef topped with an ample lathering of pungent and salty Roquefort cheese. Accompanying the sandwich was a mound of homemade shoestring fries, lightly dusted with sea salt and rosemary. Was the burger all it was cracked up to be? Indeed, it was. Though I felt that the amount of Roquefort used was slightly overpowering, the beef patty itself consisted of the highest quality ground meat, producing a juicy, velvety, melt-in-your-mouth masterpiece.
My experience at The Spotted Pig was virtually liberated of anything negative that I'd heard. I found the service to be excellent and our wait-time minimal. The food was pretty impressive and I will absolutely return.
Perhaps I'm just not very familiar with part of town that borders the Village and Soho, but surely there must be better brunch options in this area. I was truly looking forward to my meal at Jane, but walked away from my experience a bit disappointed. The space itself and overall service was lovely, but my entree left much to be desired. Did I order wrong? Maybe I need to drop the notion that if a restaurant serves and specializes in brunch, that surely their Eggs Benedict will be a hit. My entree arrived lukewarm, with just a small dollop of what makes every Benedict worthy of ordering...Hollandaise sauce. The home fries that accompanied my dish were a pile of measly sliced baked potatoes that were seasoned with a couple of red pepper and onion slivers.
Is it wrong to go in to a highly popular restaurant with great meal expectations? Or is it best to keep my general "glass half empty" outlook (that I generally have on life) on the NYC dining scene? Perhaps it's better to be pleasantly surprised.
For me, sushi was definitely an "acquired taste." I'm very particular about seafood, and for the most part, I avoid it unless I'm confident in the person who's preparing it. To this day, I still think I'm the only Jew who doesn't take lox on her bagel and cream cheese.
When I told Teddi that it was her turn to pick the restaurant, I was hoping that she wouldn't say "sushi." Sure enough, she mentioned that Tenzan had recently opened in her neighborhood and served, you guessed it, sushi. "It's light and healthy and just sounds good," she said. After a hefty three-hour French class, I was starving and reluctantly gave in to her restaurant choice. I did tell her it was her turn, after all.
Imagining I'd walk in to a dark 20'x20' room lined with linoleum floors and a dirty, overstocked fish tank, I found myself in the most zen-like atmosphere. Taking center stage in the restaurant was a floor to ceiling waterfall that made the most tranquil sounds. The space itself was large and finished with the latest in modern interior decor.
Since Teddi had eaten at Tenzan prior to our date, she noted that the lunch specials were the way to go. We each ordered the two-roll combo that came with miso soup or salad. I opted for the salad, a spicy tuna roll and a shrimp with mango roll. Instead of beginning my afternoon with a glass of plum wine, I ordered a cup of hot tea that was both nutty and spicy.
I was pleased to find that iceberg lettuce did not take center stage as the main component of my salad. The robust, meatier mixed greens actually enhanced the flavor of the ginger dressing. Both of the rolls were excellent and exquisitely fresh, however, the spicy tuna stole my heart. The ratio of fish to rice was precise and the temperature of both rolls was perfect; not cold, but not warm. The shrimp with mango was a lovely combination, but I felt that the bland shrimp was overpowered by the zesty ripe mango.
When the check arrived, I was shocked to find that our entire meal set us back a mere $18! For $9 each, Teddi and I had a fantastic meal, great service and left the restaurant with full bellies. So take it from me, any of you sushi-unaficionados, Tenzan will change your mind on the infamous roll forever.
**Still can't find what you're looking for? EMAIL me: Lindsay@TheLunchBelle.com