Omelette at the Grill
Prime rib at the Grill
Pasta a la presse at the Grill
“Let me get you an emergency martini,” the table captain pronounces the second your behind hits the banquette. You didn’t ask for one—you didn’t even know you needed one until the chilled glass arrives, straight up with a twist, effectively soothing the fuss of hightailing it uptown at rush hour during a heat wave. It’s the kind of showy, hyperpersonalized service and keen eye for detail that has come to define Major Food Group, the restaurant label from Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone and Jeff Zalaznick that’s yielded some of New York’s splashiest dining rooms (Carbone, Dirty French, Sadelle’s).
The group’s branded blend of New Age ballsiness and nostalgic reverence was met with considerable kickback when Four Seasons landlord Aby Rosen announced the trio would take over the iconic space inside midtown’s Seagram Building. (Martha Stewart and Henry Kissinger were among the high-profile dissenters.) Scrutiny, in this case, is a given: 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. The real surprise, however, is how deftly Major Food has silenced such critics with this dazzling remake of the famed Grill Room.
And 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 that Major Food has finally returned to form: For the past few years, Team Torrisi has been swallowed up by spectacle, surrendering culinary consistency for high-priced high jinks, but the Grill is MFG’s first restaurant since Carbone to successfully synergize both whims. Sure, tuxedo-clad waiters still wheel $10,000 silver-domed service trolleys to tables populated with Jerry Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow and Regis Philbin, but the real draw is what’s on those trolleys— everything from blushed slabs of prime rib to brandy-soaked cherries jubilee.
Inspired by midcentury menus from Delmonico’s and 21 Club, chef Carbone reconstructs continental classics like filet Peconic, lobster Newburg and three iterations of Dover sole (horseradish meunière, $67; grilled Riviera, $69; and Neptune’s crown, $72). His finest dishes are those that fuse dinner and theater: an à la minute omelette scrambled tableside, with earthy morels and trumpet mushrooms piercing fluffy egg ($24); and a twirl of noodles that begins with your waiter running pieces of roasted duck, squab and pheasant through an antique press at your table, the savory jus of which serve as the pasta’s sauce ($29).
And, of course, there’s that prime rib ($62). 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.
|Venue name:||The Grill||Contact:|
99 E 52nd St
|Cross street:||between Park and Lexington Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat 5–11pm|
|Price:||Average main course: $48|
|Do you own this business?|