When I book a hotel, an on-site restaurant and bar is essential for me. In most cases, I won’t consider staying at a property if there’s no food and beverage on the premises. New York hotel restaurants are pretty typical. In fact, almost all three-star, four-star, and five-star properties have their own eateries, or they lease space to chefs or hospitality groups to provide their guests with in-house dining and drinking options.
Sure, you’re probably familiar with some of the big hitters like Cafe Boulud in The Surrey Hotel, Locanda Verde in the Greenwich Hotel, and the Nomad, but there are dozens of other fantastic hotel restaurants scattered throughout the city. I’ve eaten in these five and enjoyed my experiences very much, so I was inclined to share. The next time you’re looking to dine somewhere different, consider these New York hotel restaurants because they’re absolutely worth trying.
Lexington Brass, Hotel 48LEX, 517 Lexington Ave
This Midtown East restaurant that’s a walk from Grand Central Station wowed me! I ate one of my best meals so far this year, and I can’t wait to go back. I started with the (not-all-all boring) homemade chicken soup (poached chicken, garden vegetables, and couscous) before I moved on to the flawlessly cooked steak frites (grilled hanger steak, watercress, and parmesan truffle fries). I swear I will rave about this meal for months. I could eat the chicken soup every single day during a New York winter. Other dishes like the smashed avocado toast on seven-grain country bread and the buttermilk fried chicken looked and sounded equally delicious.
Wines range from a Sancerre rosé to a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir (smooth, silky, and near perfection). I wish I’d had space for the seasonal fruit cobbler (almond streusel, coconut sorbet), but I settled for cookies to go and ate the delectable crunchy oatmeal and chocolate chip sweets the next day.
The service is phenomenal too. Super friendly and welcoming, the staff are there to please and happy to make recommendations. Plus, the vibe is very cool (for Midtown). Go. You will not regret Lexington Brass.
Felice 15, Gild Hall, 15 Gold St
I’d been to Felice on the Upper East Side and I liked it, so I was excited to try the downtown sister location. Felice 15 is a wine bar meets restaurant, and it’s tucked off the beaten path on Gold Street in the Financial District. If you don’t know where you’re going or you’re not specifically looking for the address, you probably wouldn’t happen upon it. (Gold Street starts at Liberty Street/Maiden Lane and dead ends at the Brooklyn Bridge.)
Pasta dishes here are wonderfully fresh and well priced, but the artichoke salad (thinly sliced raw artichokes, arugula, Parmigiano, hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes,) although on the lighter side, could easily be enough for a midday meal or light supper. This was one of those salads with so much flavor and texture – I barely knew that I was eating salad at all.
Because Felice 15 is an Italian wine bar, most wines hail from Italy including regions like Piedmont, Tuscany, Calabria, and Umbria. With more than 100 wines by the bottle and 20 by the glass, you’re bound to find a suitable pairing or one to quaff on its own. Saluti!
American Cut, The Lombardy Hotel, 109 E 56th St
Who doesn’t like a classic steakhouse? I guess if you don’t eat meat, a steak restaurant wouldn’t exactly be your first choice. But trust me, even if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll find more than enough to satiate your hunger here. Helmed by Chef Marc Forgione, American Cut might feature steak as the star of the menu, but the team puts out a host of noteworthy plates sans meat.
I suggest starting with one of their signature dishes. The Chili Lobster (a lobster in a spicy Thai curry sauce with a side of Texas toast for dipping), or the “OG” 1924 Caesar salad (Parmigiano Reggiano, soft egg, Pullman crouton) – it’s as heavenly as any salad can get. No matter what you choose for a beginning, you must try their everything biscuits with buttery cream cheese on the side. You will think you’ve died and gone to food heaven, and you haven’t even gotten to the steak yet.
Sure there’s the usual New York strip, ribeye, and filet that you can expect from most any steakhouse. But there’s also the 42-ounce tomahawk chop for two that’s been dry aged for 30 days. Oysters, clams, cedar plank salmon, and Dover sole are terrific choices for pescatarians. And the side dishes could be a meal on their own. Select from latkes (gribenes, sour cream), grilled asparagus (spring onion, chimichurri), sunchoked spinach (fontina, smoked salt), and wild mushrooms with grits, among others.
If you have a sweet tooth and you’re still hungry, I recommend the cake of the day. It probably won’t be the same massive and moist chocolate layer cake that I ordered (best cake ever) because the selections change, but even if it’s half as good, you’ll be happy.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya, SIXTY LES, 187 Orchard St
I do eat sushi, but I’m not usually an adventurous sushi eater. I tend to stick with what I know and play it safe. When I dined at Sushi Izakaya, though, I asked my server for recommendations, and I ordered just about every one. What’s interesting about this sushi spot is the two different cooking spaces. Sure, the sushi is decadent, but if you’re not into raw, you can have cooked fish, meat, or vegetables because Izakaya has separate kitchens for sushi and cooked food. So know that sushi is only one-half of the menu.
The Blue Ribbon team flies in fresh seafood daily, so you know you’re getting top quality fish and the freshest there is. I loved the melty yaki sea scallop skewers with miso butter, the toro (a first for me), and the silky miso-marinated black cod. I even ordered sea urchin. I’d tried uni once before and was not a fan, but after eating the rich, creamy delicacy at Izakaya, I can say that I AM a fan.
Sushi Izakaya is the kind of place you go when you want to step outside your comfort zone. You don’t go there and order a California roll (if it’s even on the menu). Ask your server to recommend and go with it. You might not like every single bite, but you might love it and beg for more.
Temple Court, Temple Court Building and Annex, 5 Beekman St
Celeb Chef Tom Colicchio produces another stellar restaurant, and this one is at the Beekman Hotel (worth a visit for the architecture alone). While I have not been to Temple Court (formerly Fowler & Wells) for dinner, I’ve been there for brunch and a private event, and I adored the food on both occasions.
The brunch menu features a selection of breakfast dishes (think a killer egg sandwich, country omelet, and vanilla pancakes), as well as several entrees like a chopped steak and duck confit. Depending on the time of day you dine, the choices have you covered for a morning meal through a late lunch or early supper.
Fluke carpaccio, oysters Rockefeller, chicken fricassee, and steak Diane head the dinner lineup, and the restaurant offers a tasting menu for $99, a vegetarian tasting for $85, and an optional wine pairing for an addition $60. I would LOVE to try the tasting menu at Temple Court with wine, of course! Perhaps my next birthday? Since I was born in September, I have a year to wait.
Both the cocktail and wine list here are impressive, and the bar is beautiful! I think Temple Court would be an excellent spot to sit at the bar and sip a drink, have a nosh from the bar menu, and then sip some more, have a nosh, sip some more…… You get me.
American Cut Caesar salad photo by the restaurant via Yelp.
Here’s a great New York Times article about the reason behind the name change from Fowler & Wells to Temple Court.
Plus, here’s what you need to know about the King Cole Bar at the St Regis.