Gordon Ramsey has opened his first restaurant outside the UK in New York City in the London Hotel on 54th between 6/7th. I went with my friend for lunch. We didn’t get into the restaurant but we did get into the London Bar which is a bit more casual.
You walk into the hotel and on the right is the bar. Quite elegant yet chic at the same time. Banquettes and chairs in leather the color of a cool blue. Silver chrome and wood. Although the London Bar is supposedly more low key there is a certain elegance to it that you wouldn’t want to show up in grungy jeans. Actually, I am not sure they would even let you in.
The main dining room is located directly behind the London Bar that is closed off by big frosted glass doors. You know there is something going on behind those doors but you can’t see it unless you get really close, or open the door and take a peek like we did.
The bathrooms are shared between the London Bar and Ramsey Restaurant. A long corridor of doors, just pick one that is open. The bathroom is a beautiful long marble sink and much larger than most New York apartment bathrooms. Elegant.
The prices are sky high so be prepared. We ordered a la carte off the menu. Each portion is quite small, almost like a tasting similar to the size dishes one would get at French Laundry or Per Se. They recommend ordering at least 4 for lunch. The menu starts on top of the left hand side of the page and ends up the bottom of the right hand side of the page. Probably about 20 different choices. The choices start from light at the top left to heavy at the right bottom. I liked that.
We each liked a lot of the same things so except for the last dish, we basically had the same meal. We began with the tuna swordfish carpaccio. Small round rings of tuna and swordfish layered on a rectangular plate. Then four thin slices of cucumber molded into small round rings evenly placed on the plate with micro floral greens plates on top. There was a hint of a lime, cucumber, soy marinade. This was delicious. Light and simple. A total winner.
Our second course was also a hit. Quartered bottoms of artichokes placed randomly through a small rectangle plate. Frisee lettuce placed over the artichokes and a dollop of truffle mayonnaise and cut chives. The mayonnaise is the key to the salad. Another winner.
Our third course was a make shift Caesar salad. A crispy rectangle bread sliced thinly with a salad of chicken, lobster and shaved Parmesan over the top. Different and good. I would have liked a tad more dressing to try an enhance each of the different ingredients.
For the fourth, I went with the pork. My friend went with the scallops. To give you an idea of how small the portions are, there are 2 scallops to the entire plate. The pork was my least favorite. Literally a rectangular brick of pork that was a tad dry and too dense. Just like each other entree, the sauces are light, simple and tasty. It was the same with the pork but this dish needed more punch from the sauces. On the side was a long piece of crunch pork belly which was quite good and a roasted green apple and a small applesauce. The roasted green apple made the dish. If they had covered the pork with 4 roasted apple slices instead of one, it would have changed the entire dish. Alas.
Dessert was quite interesting. We had an apple caramel trifle served in a tiny tall shot glass. The layers of caramel and a cider granite were at the top but the bottom which was the largest part was like a green apple gelatin which was quite good. This was served with a small cinnamon round donut. They also give a few tastes to finish off the meal. Peanut brittle which was crunchy and good. Four chocolate truffles which were a delight because when you bit into it, caramel oozed out. Very good.
We peeked into the restaurant on the way out and noticed that they have a cart of hand made candies that they bring from table to table. The waiter gave my friend a handful which were really interesting. Taffy and nuts and a caramel which was very smoky.
I’d like to go back to the formal dining room just to check it out. The food is innovative. Some hits some misses but the elegance of the rooms sets a tone in itself. If you are in the neighborhood, just stop by the bar for a drink to check out the design. That alone is really worth a peek.
After seeing how Ramsey treats the help on that TV show of his last year, I’ll pass…