Plaza Hotel Food Hall
Sorry for being missing in action so long. We've suddenly become very busy folks. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: it's tough being a second-term senior!
Last week, we visited the Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel for dinner. The Food Hall is not your typical restaurant. It is in the style of traditional European food halls. Now, what is a food hall, you ask? A food hall is like a food court after you put stiletto heels and lipstick and a little black dress on it. There are many stations that prepare different foods and usually high tables for you to stand around and sip your wine with your pinkie held out.
By far my favorite food hall is the one in Harrods, the mega-department store in London. Both times I visited Harrods, I neglected the "shopping" part and just wandered around its food hall. When you first enter Harrods, you see the typical department store offerings: handbags, gloves, scarves, leather goods, cosmetics. Then, walk a little further and you enter rooms filled with chocolate delicacies. Venture in a little deeper and the elegant rooms open up into a vast, brightly lit space with glass counters everywhere displaying everything. The scents of every cuisine mix and mingle in the air. On one wall, there is a sushi bar. Across from that is a small dim sum restaurant. Then, there are glass counters containing prepared foods like beef wellington and lobster thermidor and oysters on the half shell, y'know, for when you want a little nosh during your Harrods shopping trip. Also in the same arena are the fromagerie, salumeria, pizzeria, and gelateria. Everything is enough to bust a sizable hole through your wallet, until you get to the bakery, where scrumptious baked goods (sweet and savory) are around £1 each. That is my idea of a good nosh while shopping.
Another great food hall is the one in Selfridge's, another department store on London's Oxford Street. It is not as swanky as Harrods', but similar in theory and has more affordable and accessible food. I remember after a shopping day down Oxford Street (which included Primark ♥, multiple H&Ms, and Uniqlo), we definitely needed refreshment and I had a cool little lunch of instant Indian food (chicken tikka masala and rice).
One non-English food hall I visited was in Madrid. We were wandering and just happened upon the Mercado de San Miguel. It looked like an enormous grocery store, but when we got under the covered plaza, we saw stalls selling tapas, seafood, jamon, chocolate, and marzipan. In the center of the whole plaza, people stood around high tables, having tapas and preparing for their siestas, I presumed.
Anyway, that's the inspiration behind the Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel. It's a much smaller, less wide-encompassing version of a European food hall: there aren't really many diverse stalls selling goods. It's more like different sections of a restaurant with diners sitting right next to them, watching food being made. We sat by the grill (burgers), but there was also a sushi bar, a brick oven (pizza), and a seafood station. I always thought it would be cool to eat at a real food hall...until I realized that everything cooked at the grill was going to end up as my perfume for the next few hours. Next time, we should ask to be seated by the least odorous food (sushi?).
|Complete meal: green beans, turkey, and BACON|
I ordered the golden potato pizza and Alex had the turkey sliders. I heard good things about potato pizzas at other restaurants and how potatoes are the next cool pizza topping, so I wanted to try it. My pizza came on a peal, which is a clever presentation, but not very functional because it was a knife-and-fork pizza and I kept digging knife cuts into the soft wood...oops, Todd English, it looks like I owe you a new pizza peal. The pizza was... interesting. The potatoes were indeed a good pizza topping, but there was something about it I couldn't quite put my finger on: there was a sort of sharp-tasting ingredient that left a funny aftertaste in my mouth, and the whole pizza was oddly and inexplicably and unappetizingly covered in oil. Whether it was oil cooked out from melted cheese or a drizzle of olive oil, I don't think it was appropriate for my pizza to be dripping when I put a piece in my mouth.
Alex's sliders were, on the whole, a more successful dish. Three little sliders with sliced turkey, bacon, and whipped avocado were paired with pickled green beans and a dipping sauce (the dipping sauce was incredibly uncreative, I have to say. It was ketchup and mayonnaise.). We also got a side of Parmesan fries, which were identical to any fast-food fry, but tasted really good with the addition of Parmesan and some herbs. Meh.
I was more than full with my oily pizza, and the biggest downside to eating at the Food Hall was that I walked out of there smelling like I had just stood in front of a barbecue grill in the summertime. Nevertheless, I thought it was a fun eating experience, something that everyone should try out sometime!