The first time I had dinner at the Four Seasons it was one of our tri-annual meals in our 20’s that we would have at our birthdays and anniversary so we could try out the top spots in town. We had dinner in the pool room. I’m pretty sure I didn’t love it but what I did get is the feeling of the people of the room. There is really nowhere else in the world that has that. Fast forward, the last time I had lunch in the Four Seasons was about two weeks before it closed. It took place in the upstairs area above the pool room. The room felt old, musty and decrepit and the food mirrored that. It was certainly time to exchange ownership to a new generation. The new generation is here and they are the Major Food Group which includes Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick and Rich Torrisi and what a job they have done.
The menu, the china, the rolling carts, the suits, the hospitality and the lighting. There is something insanely glam about the place that wows. Perhaps it is the 1950’s furniture or the 50’s music that plays in the background. There is even someone at the door who greets you when you walk into the place, just like a high-end hotel, and it feels great. As you make your way up those stairs and turn into the big open grill room space, with the beautiful constantly in motion gold curtains that resemble a feminine gold chain. The bar just speaks elegance and cocktails.
The food is a mixture of old school and new school including meats, fish and a variety of starters. Some are twists on recipes of 1950’s cuisine keeping in the mid-century theme throughout. That includes the rolling carts that come tableside to make the mushroom omelet.
Or to slice up the prime rib.
Even the pasta a la presse appetizer has a cart that squeezes a variety of meats down over the course of the evening to put out a rich broth that goes over the pasta. All the carts glow in stainless steel.
Avocado Crab Louis is a salad of yore but works today. The attention to detail is everywhere including the china.
The steak comes out in a copper pan before hand to show you what they will be making you.
The duck is grilled to perfection with a spicy mustard beneath the duck and a sweet sauce on top.
Even the fries are served with elegance.
These chocolate cookies are a take on old Pepperidge Farm numbers but served along with a coconut whipped cream for dipping. I couldn’t stop eating them.
There were many issues with renovating this place including pushback from landmarks. For instance, the wine cellar is landmarked.
The pool room, will open in a few months, and it feels insanely new again.
There is now a bar upstairs from the pool room
Inside an updated room to lounge, eat and drink in where was before it was untapped except for private events.
Yet the kitchen is the one thing that was not landmarked nor should it have been. What a joy it must have been working on those plans. It is huge.
There is an open-fire burning oven.
The station next to it.
Tons of toys. This rotisserie is in the part of the kitchen that has yet to be used and will be the one to service the pool room where the menu will be different than the Grill. Extremely smart to have different kitchens for different rooms.
We are heading out of town for most of the summer but I plan on dining in the pool room next. It feels good to dress up for dinner, to sit in a glamorous room and to know that hospitality is first and foremost. It is what I saw in my 20’s that made me feel like I was a part of the pulse of NYC as if I had walked behind the curtain just for a night to take me to somewhere unique, special and glamorous. When I was 10, my Grandmother took me to a place in DC for dinner that you walked down an expansive circular staircase to a dining room that had the same hospitality that the Grill has today. I loved dressing up for that night, borrowing my Grandmothers jewelry and feeling so grownup and special. I don’t live like that every day but there is something about the Grill that brings me back to that feeling. I hope that they can keep it up.