Archive for January, 2010

Drake Hotel – New York

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Drake Hotel, Park & 56th St., NYCThe Drake Hotel – Another Landmark Gone – brought down this time not by bankruptcy but by the greed of a developer called Harry Macklowe

The Drake Hotel was the last symbol of the elegant buildings that lined Park Avenue in the mid-town fifties, they have all been replaced by featureless glass boxes with no style. I am particularly disheartened as I lived across the street from the fifty-sixth street entrance at one time.

This was a lovely old building and a hotel that was run well, and for the city building department to allow Macklowe Properties to demolish it without hesitation, and even before the proposed project was a reality, is appalling. The property now still sits vacant after a couple of years, and is a weed infested eyesore while “the deal” is no further along than it was before, except that Macklowe is deeper in debt and less able to put things together, although he tyrannically hangs on.

The Palm Court Closes Temporarily, Plaza Hotel – New York

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Palm Court, Plaza Hotel, NYC (image credit: Plaza Hotel)Found during the recent renovation, the domed stained glass ceiling was restored, and fitted with a lighting system that subtly changes to suggest the time of day.

The Palm Court (temporarily closed)
The Plaza Hotel
768 Fifth Ave at Central Park South
Tel. 212-759-3000)
Opening Hours: Daily 6:30am–10pm
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Very Expensive

The Palm Court was never know for its good food and in the past was favored for lunch and tea. However, of late the food presented by Didier Virot (formerly from AIX) was almost inedible, by the accounts of some New York food critics. It has closed its doors and will regroup to reopen again. It is however, still providing breakfast service.

Rainbow Room Closes; New Operator Has Not been Chosen – New York

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Rainbow Room, NYC (image credit: Room in the 1940’s, although today catering mainly to tourists

The Rainbow Room (currently closed)
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

The Rainbow Room has symbolized glamor since it opened in 1934, during the Great Depression and has a marvellous view of the city. It is currently closed and a new operator has not been chosen yet.
Cipriani, the last operator, with other catering and restaurant operations across Manhattan and in Europe, complained: “Unfortunately, we are dealing with an uncompassionate and greedy landlord who has not made any efforts to resolve our differences in a reasonable manner”.  Tishman Speyer, the landlord, said it had no intention of gutting the Rainbow Room to make way for corporate offices, a move that would be certain to evoke outrage from New Yorkers. “The Rainbow Room is one of our city’s great institutions, and we will immediately begin the process of finding another great restaurateur to operate the space in the first-class manner that New Yorkers and visitors deserve,” said Tishman spokesman Robert Lawson.
According to Tishman, Cipriani, which in theory holds a lease that does not expire until 2013, was four months behind on its $500,000-a-month rent for the space, which includes the bar, the grill restaurant and a business club.
There are several Cipriani restaurants around New York including, Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue, Cipriani Dolci in Grand Central, Downtown Cipriani in Soho, Cipriani 42nd Street, and the now closed Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Plaza all of them have a thread that ties them with the original Harry’s Bar in Venice.

Tishman Speyer, co-owners of Rockefeller Center, stated that they are looking for a quality restaurateur to operate the Rainbow Room.

However, I think it would be fair to say, that it would probably be difficult to interest anyone to do this now, with a cited annual rental of $6 million and other additional high operating costs. K.M.

Tavern on the Green Shuts After New Year’s Eve 2009 – New York

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Tavern on the Green, Central Park, New York CityI have used an image of the entrance way, which has changed little through the years, as opposed to a shot of the interior as designed by LeRoy

Tavern on the Green is Closed
Warner LeRoy: First an Impresario; Second a Restaurateur

Tavern on the Green had a long history in New York City’s Central Park before its last owner, Warner LeRoy took over in 1973.  After three years of renovations with enormous cost overruns, the restaurant reopened with a hodgepodge of molded plaster ceilings and crystal chandeliers, statues and murals, it became one of the top-grossing restaurants in the country, mainly accommodating tourists, despite its mediocre food.

Warner LeRoy  (March 3, 1935 – February 22, 2001), was the son of film producer-director Mervyn LeRoy and his second wife Doris Warner, and was the grandson of Harry Warner, one of the founders of Warner Bros. and a major player in the development of the film business. He had one child, Bridget, with his first wife, Gen LeRoy Walton, and three children with his second wife Kay O’Reilly: Carolyn, Max, and Jennifer. Jennifer became the CEO of LeRoy Adventures at age 22 upon LeRoy’s death. Warner’s son Max was killed in a motorcycle accident in November 2005 at the age of 30.

Maxwell’s Plum opened in April, 1966, it was know for its outlandish Art Nouveau decor, kaleidoscopic stained-glass ceilings and walls and Tiffany lamps. The sprawling bar became a favorite prowling spot for the 1960’s singles set and the design became the model for many other chains that followed who copied it including T.G.I. Friday’s.

The Russian Tearoom closed for renovation in 1996 when the Tea Room’s longtime owner, Faith Stewart-Gordon, sold the restaurant to Mr. LeRoy in 1995. After its opening it garnered mostly negative reviews for the food although, as usual for his operations, it gained attention as a spectacle.

Jin-Emon Hermitage, Japanese Style Spaghetti – Bangkok

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Jin-Emon Soi 53

71/1 Soi Sukhumvit Soi 51
Bangkok, 10110
Tel. 08-2796-2837
Opening Hours:
Lunch: 11:30-1500 (last order 14:00)
Dinner: 17:30-23:00 (last order 22:00)

The original Jin-Emon Restaurant is located in MBK, this new branch called Jin-Emon Hermitage is on Sukhumvit Soi 51 (with an entrance but no parking from Soi 53 as well) is in a Thai house that has been converted into a restaurant; it still looks and feels more like a house than a restaurant.
The concept is good, although the implementation is poor. My wife, a Japanese national, was really looking forward to having spaghetti with authentic Japanese taste such as squid and Mentaiko (spicy cod roe) made with dashi (made from dried bonito) and sprinkled with nori, or spaghetti with Squid and Shiso leaves and other popular Japanese-style spaghetti dishes; she was disappointed with the dish she ordered.

The spaghetti with tomato sauce, was more like a thin tomato juice with chunks of peeled tomatoes and was so bland that it led one to believe that it had been poured directly from the tin without anything added to embellish it. Beef curry (Hayashi) suffered the same fate and tasted as if it had come from a packet. We can give the operators the benefit of the doubt on the food side, as they have only been open a month, although the dirty interior hallway walls, and stains on the rear entrance pathway? Well, I don’t know, maybe they will be cleaned?

Beef Curry at Jin-Emon

Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce at Jin-Emon

Spaghetti with Squid & Nori at Jin-Emon

Four Seasons Hotel, Schedule January 2010 – Bangkok

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Four Seasons HotelFour SeasonsIce CreamCool Winter Treats
Exotic Ice cream flavors to tempt your palate
A brand new ice cream menu filled with unusual and exotic flavors awaits. Try the Peach Melba, featuring wine poached peaches and apricots; the Malibu Bounty with marble coconut and chocolate ice cream scoops; and the MTC, featuring mangoes, Thai tea ice cream and sticky rice! Available at all outlets.Pool BBQPoolside BBQ
Delicious grilled dishes and drinks by the pool

This winter season we will be offering poolside barbecues every Friday and Saturday evening, so you can take advantage of the cooler weather and enjoy delicious Thai-style buffet dinners outdoors. Live action stations will offer a choice of juicy grilled meats and fresh seafood, with a full bar to keep you properly hydrated, and live music to keep you entertained.

Reservations are recommended due to limited seating.

Dates: Friday, January 15 – Saturday, March 20
Times: Fridays & Saturdays, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Price: Baht 1,400 per person includes beer and soft drinks
Kids: Baht 700 per person includes soft drinks