Since 1959, the Four Seasons was the city’s most exclusive supper club, a veritable village green for New York’s wealthy, famous and powerful. So the real surprise is how deftly Major Food Group—the restaurant label from Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick that’s yielded New York’s splashiest dining rooms (Carbone, Dirty French, Sadelle’s)—has dazzled in its remake of the famed Grill Room.
It’s not just the deference for the landmark interior, though the familiar glass walls, metallic blinds and Richard Lippold–designed brass fixture over the bar should pacify the worried old guard. It’s also the midcentury menu, inspired by Delmonico’s and 21 Club, where chef Carbone reconstructs continental classics like filet Peconic, lobster Newburg and three iterations of Dover sole (horseradish meunière, grilled Riviera, and Neptune’s crown).
But Carbone's finest dishes are those that fuse dinner and theater: a twirl of noodles begins with your waiter running pieces of roasted duck, squab and pheasant through an antique press at your table, the savory jus of which serves as the pasta’s sauce.
And, of course, there’s the prime rib wheeled on $10,000 silver-domed service trolleys by tuxedo-clad waiters to tables populated with the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Gwyneth Paltrow. The spit-roasted beef is sliced to order, revealing rosy, dripping flesh beneath a dark, charred crust, which is then showered in grated horseradish. While your eyes are still glazed over, out comes the accompanying deviled bone, imbued with equal parts juicy fat and blackened rub that’ll make you want to eat it with your damn hands. But compose yourself—after all, Seinfeld’s watching.