A Quartet Of Hotel Restaurants For Luxurious City Dining
From uptown to downtown and modern Mexican to a bank-breaking omelet, these four Manhattan hotel restaurants are worth checking out – or rather, checking in to for a meal or two, no room ket required.
Bodega Negra at Dream Dowtown (16th St. nr. Ninth Ave.)
A Mexican dreamscape come to life, Bodega Negra at Dream Downtown whisks diners south of the border for the few tequila-fueled hours they spend here. The sister location of its across-the-pond namesake in London, Bodega Negra is full of old-school Mexican vibes, hung with antique guitars, floored with old carpets, and lined with wood barrels that double as light fixtures for glowing bulbs that light the space with that dim glow that’s flattering to everyone. Chef’s tasting menus are the best way to sample the extensive menu, which ranges from tacos and ceviches to small plates and entrees like slow roasted lamb barbacoa and red snapper steamed in banana leaves. Cocktails—largely infused with various types of citrus and spice—aren’t for the faint of heart; neither is the menu of more than 90 tequilas.
Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien (56th St. nr. Sixth Ave.)
Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien may be most known for its shamelessly headline- grabbing 1,000 dollar frittata filled with lobster and topped with Sevruga caviar, but the modern American dining room also has a plethora of other reasons to visit as well. Open for breakfast and lunch only, the menu is undeniably decadent, and early meals here are sure to keep stomachs satiated for the better part of a day. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s cheesecake-stuffed donut French toast, crème brulée-topped waffles stuffed with fruit, oatmeal “risotto” in an edible bowl; on the savory side, there are six styles of eggs benedict including one with artichokes and truffle-porcini sauce, arepas and huevos rancheros, and the Melted, Gooey, Cheese Omelet whose 30-dollar price tag can only lead one to imagine that it’s stuffed with enough cheese to fill a party platter. Complimentary touches like smoothie samples and refills on fresh-squeezed orange juice help justify the expense.
Charlie Palmer at The Knick (42nd St. at Broadway)
Few places hold on to the past as well as hotel restaurants, and with its three daily meals that don’t encroach on one another’s times and elegant dinner menu on which the most surprising thing is fried chicken as an appetizer, Charlie Palmer at The Knick is one such place. But don’t take this as a bad thing. Named after the chef at the helm of the kitchen, Charlie Palmer only uses premium ingredients—Niman Ranch beef in its burger, Scottish salmon, market-fresh kampachi in a ceviche—and is devilishly elegant with chain-metal drapes and wine laid horizontally like art behind a sheet of glass at the marble bar. In traditional New York style, the views over Times Square are at certain hours coupled with pre-theater dinner and power lunch menus, the latter of which couples two courses with a drink of choice. Go for the martini, which is said to have been invented here.
Parker and Quinn at Refinery Hotel (39th St. nr. Sixth Ave)
Rooftop enthusiasts have long flocked to the top of Midtown’s Refinery Hotel for drinks with a side of views of the Empire State Building, but on ground level, Parker and Quinn—the hotel’s main restaurant— offers a host of appeals of its own. It’s something of a mix between a bistro and a diner, comingling ashy red leather chairs and golden-swirled wallpaper with subway-tiled columns and globe lights and an enormous, impressively stocked bar. The “Bill of Fare” is less serious than its title suggests, and reflects the aesthetics with its mix of French dips, charcuterie and cheese spreads, and salads alongside brioche-bun burgers, flatbreads, and small plates like meatballs and burrata toast. Steaks, chickens served whole or piecemeal, and locally sourced seafood round out the entrees, while Jacques Torres chocolate bon bons, s’mores, and cocktails like an orange- tinged espresso martini make it worth saving room for dessert.