In order to get to the Blue Box Cafe, the new restaurant inside Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship, you have to walk through the store’s first-floor maze of black-jacket greeters, eager tourists and crystal-clear cases filled with sparkling rings, amping up your holiday adrenaline and simultaneously making you feel both posh and poor. But the cinematic fairy tale really starts when you ride the elevator with a white-gloved attendant and step onto the less chaotic home-accessories floor, where the café is nestled in the back corner.
On a recent Thursday morning, we didn’t need to wear a black gown and tiara to be treated like Hollywood royalty; the host sat us immediately without our dining companion (this reviewer’s mother), and the waiter patiently let us stay with just a cup of coffee. We could practically hear the iconic “Moon River” music.
If you moved to New York to follow in the footsteps of Holly Golightly, Carrie Bradshaw or Blair Waldorf, you’ll feel right at home in the teal Barbie DreamHouse; the windows face Central Park, the walls are painted the patented Tiffany blue, and the brand’s fine bone china sits prettily on every table. The only detail that snaps you out of the dollhouse haze is the wrinkled, IKEA-style, built-for-traffic chair covers. Nonetheless, all the well-dressed women in attendance were Instragramming to their hearts’ desire, including one who scrolled through her collection of iPhone photos postmeal as if it were a jewelry catalog.
But the food itself is more of an afterthought. The Fifth Avenue salad on the prix-fixe lunch menu ($39) is ostensibly part of the luxury brand’s “refined take on signature New York dishes,” but there’s a reason nobody has tried this particular mix before; lifeless lettuce topped with chewy lobster chunks and acidic grapefruit slices made for a haute mess. More care seemed to be put into plating a black bass crudo than into cooking it: Ribbons of green fennel and pink radish delivered beauty without flavor.
The prix-fixe breakfast ($29) fares better, thankfully. Savory, soft scrambled eggs mixed with Kunik cheese sit underneath sizable black truffle slices and smoked bacon bits for rich, savory bites. And fittingly, the starter croissant, shipped from the nearby Eli’s Bread, is better than most you’ll try in the city: classic, delicate and sweet–the Audrey Hepburn of pastries. Yes, the breakfast may be overpriced, but we both kinda liked it and we thought, well, that’s the one thing we’ve got.