Todd English's Food Hall Opens at the Plaza Hotel
Todd English and his executive chef, Mike Suppa, pose with the catch of the day at the Food Hall's Ocean Grill.
Central Park South is about to get some European flair with the opening this Friday of The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English. Part market, part restaurant, it is inspired by colorful European markets such as the San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale in Florence and the food hall at Harrod's in London. It's also the first of an influx of European-style food emporiums about to invade New York.
On a sultry, pre-Memorial day evening, chef and restaurateur Todd English offered up a sneak peek of the new venue, which is located on the concourse level of the Plaza Hotel. Let's just say, Eloise never had it so good.
There's also a grill serving up burgers and freshly carved meats with an adjoining butcher station; a sushi bar; charcuterie and cheese counter; dumpling bar; wine bar; a wood-fired oven churning out thin-crust pizza (my favorite is the Bianca, topped with Buffalo mozzarella, parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, arugula and cherry tomato salad); and a bakery. You can also pick up fresh flowers, specialty food products and cookware, or drop by for one of the tastings, cooking demonstrations and other events that will be held here.
English sources many of his goods from local purveyors. Murray's Cheese Shop, a New York institution, handles the cheese station, for example, while the bakery features temptations from local favorites including Tom Cat and Sullivan Street bakeries and Ceci Ceci patisserie. English bakes his own bread and is debuting a line of chocolates here, but the real draw may be the cupcakes created by his 17-year old daughter, Isabelle, the founder of Isabelle's Curly Cakes.
English's Food Hall, in the basement of the Plaza where the hotel's laundry operation used to be, next to the netherworld of high-priced cosmetics (it has a separate entrance to the immediate left of the main Plaza entrance), may be the most fun thing to happen to the Plaza since Trader Vics, the tacky but beloved tiki bar in the Plaza's basement that was closed by Donald Trump in 1989.
The Plaza Food Hall is the first of a spate of eclectic food emporiums planned by bold face chefs: Mario Batali's Eataly will include a market, six restaurants and a roofdeck brewpub, when it opens later this year in new York's Flatiron district. And Jeffrey Chodrow is planning Food Parc, a collection of food stands in the Kimpton Hotel on Avenue of the Americas for next year. (He recently opened hip dining establishments in two other New York hotels, the Hotel Gansevoort and the Empire Hotel.)
English, by the way, is also opening a new brasserie, to be called Ca Va, at 310 West 44th Street, in July.
The Food Hall will surely become a neighborhood favorite and a destination for visitors and New Yorkers alike. Here's our own sneak peek....
A tasty morsel from The Ocean Grill: Atlantic Salmon with Grilled Leeks.
The Grill is all about American fare, like the burger slider above. There's also rotisserie chicken, carved meats and housemade pastrami.
Fig and Prosciutto pizza with rosemary crust and gorgonzola, one of the offerings from the stone hearth oven.
Whatever you do, DO NOT miss the cupcakes (baked by English's daughter, Isabelle) at the Food Hall's bakery.
Architect Jeffrey Beers, Todd English and Plaza partner Miki Naftali of Elad Group at the Plaza Food Hall.
The Plaza Hotel, One West 59th Street, Concourse Level, New York, NY 10019. Hours are 7:00am to 9:00pm Sunday to Thursday, and 7:00am to 10:00pm Friday and Saturday.