The Waverly Inn opened to huge fanfare. Graydon Carter's (Editor of Vanity Fair) hyped project. Once the doors opened, the press was ready to slam the place but the reviews ended up mildly favorable. After eating there last night, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize it certainly isn't about the food. You know it is an exclusive place because there isn't even a website and BTW, unless you are a major star, check your attitude at the door.
I love the physical space. Entrance is on the corner of Bank and Waverly underneath a stoop of a brownstone. A sign says 1920 on the door but I bet the place dates back to the 1800's or beyond. The ceiling can't be higher than 7 feet making everyone seem very tall. The bar is in the first room, which is old and rambling but renovated staying with the integrity of what it must have looked like hundreds of year ago. The back rooms are where the majority of the patrons eat. Rambling rooms with tiny tables which makes for an intimate dinner.
I had dinner with 5 other girlfriends. We were the lucky ones to be put in the table that is directly across from the opening where everyone must go to enter the eating area. We got a full on show last night. Brooke Shields, Donna and Gaby Karan ( sitting right next to us ), Madonna and her latest boy toy, Malcolm Gladwell ( a neighborhood regular ), Alec Baldwin, Salman Rushdie and probably others but I did want to focus on my own party.
The service is really great. And the food, not bad. I began with the grilled vegetable salad which comes in appetizer or main course portions. Based on the clientele, doesn't surprise me. It is after all, a knock off of the Ivy salad in Los Angeles (The Ivy doesn't have a website either). For dinner, I went with the trout baked over a cedar plank. Quite good. Next to me, my friend had the chicken which looked delicious and crispy. We had one order of the truffle macaroni and cheese, to split, for a whopping $65 for one plate. Worth it? Not really. But, it is part of the whole event.
When we left, the paparazzi were outside. They took pictures of us just to be nice. It was quite hysterical. All and all, a total New York evening. Wonderful company, pretty good food and a glimpse of a world that is quite amusing, if anything. Totally fun.