Best eating on this year’s Clarence Brown trip to NYC

Oh, man! This is the salmon at Butter, the midtown restaurant of celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli, one of our favorite new discoveries.

The goal of my friends and me during the Clarence Brown Theatre’s annual New York trip is to make our restaurant selections as exciting as the Clarence Brown’s play selections.

This year we accomplished this by choosing Gabriel Kreuther, Butter, Grand Central Oyster Bar and The Stinger, our “go-to” little bar and eatery in the lobby of our hotel, The InterContinental Times Square. We also stumbled in to the charming, whimsical Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle hotel. And what a treat that was.

Our friends Margie Nichols and John Gill discovered Gabriel Kreuther and, from their descriptions, we knew we’d be going there this trip. They accompanied us.

Gabriel Kreuther’s dining room is visually stunning.

So is the bar, where we enjoyed these beautiful bread sticks with our cocktails.

This drink, which Margie ordered, is called a Pauper’s Grave! This is because Bryant Park, located across the street from the restaurant, was once used as such.

The signature appetizer there: sturgeon and sauerkraut tart featuring caviar mousseline.

Prior to service, it is treated to a dose of applewood smoke.

White asparagus appetizer.

Roasted black bass with olive oil bread crumbs, garlic confit and shellfish broth.

A damn good shrimp dish I ordered!

The folks at Gabriel Kreuther were so nice that, when we ran out of time on our prix-fixe dinner and were going to have to skip dessert in order to make it to our play on time, they told us not to worry but to just come back after the play to finish! So, that’s what we did! Here’s Alan heading out.

The view upon our return for dessert.

Decadent chocolate dessert with caramel ice cream.

Lambent mandarin milk chocolate, peanut butter crunch, mandarin gelee, milk chocolate creme.

Gabriel Kreuther, located on West 42nd Street, was the best restaurant of our trip.

Second best? Butter on West 45th Street.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is the owner of Butter in Midtown. You probably know her as an “Iron Chef” on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” She’s also a judge on “Chopped” on the same network.

Best martini I’ve ever had in my life was at Butter.

The bar at Butter.

Artwork in the dining room.

Alan had that salmon pictured at the top of this blog. I had poached Florida shrimp and loved it. Notice the plates. They are traditional diner plates, aren’t they?

Butter’s take on the peanut butter cup! Fantastic.

In all of our years of going to New York City, I’ve never been to the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar. This trip, we went!

Loved the huge fork and napkin indicating the Dining Concourse.

The menu is extensive!

But I had no trouble settling on my choice: bouillabaisse!

They made me wear this dumb bib.

Alan loved the cod, as well.

So, those are our top three restaurants of this trip. But we enjoyed a couple of other spots, as well.

You must stop by The Carlyle on your next trip to NYC and have a drink at the sweet and super-charming Bemelmans Bar.

Named in honor of Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books, the bar’s walls are covered with large-scale murals, the only surviving Bemelmans’ commissioned artwork open to the public. Seems that Ludwig bartered his artwork in exchange for stays at the The Carlyle for himself and his family. (What a good idea that was for all involved!)

Dancing rabbits on the wall.

An orchestra plays on another section of wall.

A scene from nearby Central Park.

And the bar snacks are great, too! (Warning: drinks cost $25!)

Finally, we always visit The Stinger, in the lobby of the InterContinental Times Square. It is owned by Chef Todd English.

And here’s our go-to order: shrimp dumplings. I wish I had some now!

 

 

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