Upper East Side - The Mark
The Upper East Side is a quarter celebrated in literature and cinema - this is what your imagination draws when someone dreamily talks about New York. These are gray Ralph Lauren suits, polite concierges in ironed uniforms and still slightly pursed lips at the mention of "inelegant" downtown areas. His best reflection is the equally snobbish yet charismatic The Mark.
The black minimalist facade of The Mark with monochrome geometry in the marble lobby immediately resembles Daniel Buren's "striped" installation at the Palais Royal. As it turned out, I was not mistaken with the Parisian mood. The restaurant's interior was created by the favorite designer of Pierre Berger, Paloma Picasso and Alain Ducasse - Frenchman Jacques Grange.
While they are preparing a surreal mix of America and France - pizza with truffle - we treat ourselves to fresh coconut and get acquainted with the activities of the star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The restaurateur manages to manage establishments in five countries, writes thematic books and regularly receives the most prestigious awards from Michelin guides to periodicals such as Esquire and the New York Times.
The French menu at The Mark is adapted to Manhattan demand: based on burgers, bagels and pizza warmly loved by Americans, but with European retouching in the form of truffles, foie gras, varieties of cheeses and a rich wine list. Over the years of work in the States, Jean-Georges has taken into account and provided all the features. Ennobled pizza, steamed shrimp salad and classic cheesecake were served on a white plate with tiny illustrations by Jean-Philippe Delomme - playful images of the local beau monde.
Mid Manhattan - Chevalier
Midtown is located 25 blocks below the Upper East Side, the very same New York, where the stone jungle with their hurrying natives in strict suits, brogues and a huge Americano in hand. This time, my route ran precisely through this territory.
I needed to get to the intersection of 53rd and 5th avenues, where a reserve was waiting for me at the Chevalier restaurant. A spacious, bright room with curtains and columns with vintage mirrors - here the atmosphere was completely opposite to everything that was noisy outside the walls of the restaurant. American Stephen Sills, who worked for Anna Wintour and the Rockefeller family, created a rather cold interior in neutral tones, but with a passionate accent in the form of a bright red bar.
One hour of the day, the hall is filled with business people in high spirits - most of them share their impressions about the dishes of Chef Gallante, the ladies are surprised at the weight of the Baccarat glasses and discuss the filigree work of florists. Meanwhile, the waiter is already serving me the classics of the menu with might and main - thin slices of fried duck with cherry, chanterelles and turnip sauce, brown scallops with cheese sauce and sea bass with verbena. Gallante works especially well with boiled lobster in an oil froth emulsion with wild mushrooms and dill, which is included in the $ 47 prix fixe lunch. For dessert I have - chocolate mousse with biscuit, French old school, similar to a suprematist masterpiece. It is worth paying attention to the cocktail menu. Daiquiri "Hemingway" with maraschino cherry liqueur and "Suzette" based on vodka and lime juice, although they overcame the price of $ 20, but fully justified it.
Times Square - Charlie Palmer
In Times Square, you can hear all the languages of the world at once, see all nationalities, place the world's most expensive advertising and go crazy with traffic and noise. For most tourists, the most prestigious location to stay is the one that borders the famous square. For such people, there is the legendary The Knickerboker Hotel, built over a hundred years ago. And I was brought there by the Charlie Palmer restaurant and my love for dry martini, a cocktail, according to legend, mixed for the first time in the bar of this particular hotel.
The concierge met me in the cozy lobby and escorted me to the 4th floor to a restaurant named after the founder of this gastronomic chain, an American celebrity chef. The spacious hall in gray and beige tones was not overloaded with the hotel's rich historical heritage - the minimalistic design with glass and marble trim looks more like a progressive establishment somewhere in one of the downtown skyscrapers. However, the policy of Mr. Palmer is aimed precisely at the advanced technologies of American cuisine and its marketing.
While I was waiting for the octopus salad and scallops, I was offered the same cocktail in an updated version at a super loyal price of $ 16: Tanqueray gin, Martini Rouge and orange peel seemed to retell the century-old history of The Knickerboker in a new way. The seafood was served with vegetables, soft cheese and fresh figs, followed by a medium-rare rib eye steak. A little more cocktail and I was ready to finish my lunch, but the pannacotta with poppyseed sauce extended the pleasure by another half hour for sure. In general, what to look for in the Charlie Palmer restaurant? A basic and clear menu on the east coast of the country in its best interpretation.
Downtown - Cipriani
At the intersection of Fulton and Church Streets, you will see the process of creating a transport hub under the direction of one of the most expensive architects in the world, Santiago Calatrava. Even lower is the area of deals, trading and the narrowest streets - Wall Street. It is there, at 55 Wall street, that the Cipriani banquet hall is located. There are several restaurants and lounges of this iconic family in the city, but the location in the Financial District is the most versatile and, in my opinion, significant, from the history of the building to the possibilities and services of the restaurant.
In the middle of the 19th century, after the Great Fire, Boston architect Isaiah Rogers created a structure in the style of the Greek Revival with huge columns specially for the Merchant Exchange. Subsequently, it housed the state customs office and one of the largest banks in the country - Citibank. Today the monumental premises have been occupied by the heirs of the Venice Harry's bar, where you can hold a wedding or a large event for 700 people, a romantic evening for two or a business dinner. The far from loyal pricing policy is explained by the really high quality of food and service. Their native Bellini, classic carpaccio, tagliatelle with veal and vanilla meringue cost almost $ 100, but I still haven't been able to find a pasta with a similar taste in New York. In the equally famous Grand Central Station building in East Midtown, there is a more democratic version of the restaurant - Cipriani Dolci, where you can have a great breakfast or meet with partners for lunch overlooking the blue "star dome" of Grand Central.
Chelsea - L'Amico
Returning to Midtown, take a look at the intersection of 30th Street and 6th Avenue. When you talk about the contrasts of Manhattan, remember this area: dilapidated unfinished red brick, graffiti and an overly imposing audience. This is where the western part of the island begins, the Chelsea area.
The new establishment under the leadership of the French chef Laurent Tourondel, however, stands out favorably against the background of the general entropy. His Italian L'Amico menu is focused primarily on Americans, so traditional burgers, steaks and fries are as good as Neapolitan pizzas and pastas cooked in an open wood oven. Just imagining what the scent of fresh baked goods should be there, I booked a table for the next Sunday brunch.
By giving up their famous pizza, I still couldn't avoid starchy foods. Breakfast began with a compliment from the chef - fresh spicy bread with baked dried fruits and powdered sugar. Eggs Benedict was served on a cushion of grated potatoes instead of the usual toast, and several types of crostini with crab meat pate looked more like a full meal than a modest Italian snack.
A large Sicilian family at a nearby table was enthusiastically discussing their dessert - a caramel apple pie with lemon sorbet and fresh berries. It was impossible to watch this passively, and I asked the waiter about the same. With the finest espresso you rarely find in New York, the final portion of the three-hour breakfast was particularly cozy.
Photo: archive of press services
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