Gramercy Terrace

gramercy terrace iceberg wedge

iceberg wedge

Wait, do you mean Gramercy Tavern? No, no I don’t. And though they’re both owned by the Union Square Hospitality Group (the brainchild of Danny Meyer [of Shake Shack fame]), Gramercy Terrace is nothing like Gramercy Tavern–except for its supple sophistication.

Located on the roof of the Gramercy Park Hotel–whose feel transports you back a few centuries–Gramercy Terrace is a well-lit space (and surprisingly warm in the winter months) where summer cocktails are often consumed. In fact, it’s been rated one of the best rooftop bars in the city–and I get it. It’s gorgeous and quiet, and you feel like you’re afar from the city, yet of it (as demonstrated by the towering buildings that you can view from your seat).

My lady dining partner and I visited Gramercy Terrace for restaurant week (which I’ve discussed). Just a few blocks from our office, it presented a nice departure from the hum-drum of the neighborhood lunch offerings. We got all gussied up–MLDP wearing her finest fur, me in a cute black dress–and made our way over there, to find a comfortably serene restaurant awaiting us.

gramercy terrace burger

burger

For appetizers, we both ordered the iceberg wedge, drenched in Maytag blue cheese and covered with bacon strips. “I’m not sure how to eat this,” said MLDP, but we both dug in. Before the salad, we were served salt-and-pepper popcorn in a cute tin, which was very good. I thoroughly enjoyed my iceberg wedge, and I believe MLDP would say the same.

I got the cheeseburger for my lunch entree, which came with spicy fries and a tiny milkshake with a red-and-white straw. The milkshake was just so cute, I had to drink it (even though I initially protested–MLDP was supportive in its eventual consumption). The burger was juicy and the hint of “fancy” sauce eluded my palate–I couldn’t place the flavor–but this was, by no means, my favorite burger. The spicy fries were overly spiced, in my humble opinion, but were fine.

MLDP ordered the (gramercy) Waldorf salad, which notably featured slices of celery, but too much of it in MLDP’s opinion. It looked good, but was on the small side, and was accompanied by two slices of sesame-coated French bread–a nice touch.

gramercy terrace apple crisp

apple crisp

For dessert, I opted for the apple crisp, which had cubed apples within and was topped by delectable vanilla ice cream. MLDP got the brownie sundae–a rich, chewy-enough brownie with vanilla ice cream and candied pretzels. Yum! So good.

A waiter (or somebody who worked at Gramercy Terrace) came over to ask how our meal was, and we told him it was excellent. He went on to explain that while Gramercy Terrace strives to serve up comfort food, they do it with a flair of sophistication. I must agree. Everything at Gramercy Terrace–from the tiny milkshake to the waitress’ insistence on addressing us by “ma’am”–added up to a highly sophisticated experience.

Though the food is great, Gramercy Terrace is only open for breakfast, brunch and lunch. You’ll have to just go to Gramercy Tavern–have I thoroughly confused you yet?–for your nighttime meal.

Gramercy Terrace

2 Lexington Avenue (between 21st and 22nd streets)

Gramercy, New York

Take the 6 to 23rd Street and walk south. Gramercy Terrace is located in the Gramercy Park Hotel.

Five Points

Five Points is located on Great Jones Street/Way and Lafayette, just a block or so south of Astor Liquor. The location is neither bustling nor dead, and has an air of magic about it. Lights shine down on you as you enter Five Points, which is symbolized by a bright red star–the restaurant’s namesake.

five points potato pizza

potato pizza

I had been to Five Points before, and, believe me, it is well worth trying more than once. Last time, I had the Wagyu burger, which is outstanding and is among my favorites in the city. Last Monday night, I had made a reservation at Five Points for this past Friday, and all week, I’d been scouting out the menu to see if they would put the burger up for Friday. I even called to check. No dice. So I had to order something else.

The seasonal menu features a number of tasty-sounding offerings, but I selected the scallops with pureed winter squash and brussels sprouts. The scallops were extremely tender and not overcooked, the way scallops are often served. They weren’t tough or chewy, but splitting in half at the mere touch of the fork. The winter squash puree was delicious and the brussels were leafed and strewn around the plate–very good.

MDP ordered, yet again, the potato pizza, which comes drizzled with truffle oil–on both sides of the crust. The potato pizza features fontina cheese, instead of your run-of-the-mill mozzarella blend, and I like what Five Points is doing with this pizza. The cheese soaks up the truffle oil and infuses every bite with it. Yum! It is, in a word, fantastic. And it won’t break the bank–I think the pizza was only $16 or so, and came sliced into eight delectable pieces.

five points apple crisp

apple crisp

We also ordered the giant fried onion rings. Served on a kind of cutting board, the onion rings were slightly greasy and crisp, and quite good.

Though we were both full, we had to order dessert–and drinks for a change. I got the Maker’s 46 bourbon, which tasted caramel-inflected and delicious. MDP ordered the hot mulled apple cider with rum (which rum? I don’t remember). And we opted for the apple crisp with buttermilk ice cream on top. The apple crisp was filled with tender diced apples and topped with a sweet crumble. A nice addition, the large scoop of buttermilk (not-too-sweet) ice cream nicely complemented the crisp.

All in all, Five Points is a wonderful choice. It’s cozy and comforting, and the food is outstanding.

You’ll want a reservation. You’ll also want to try Cookshop and Hundred Acres, which are both outstanding restaurants in their own right and happen to be sisters to Five Points.

Five Points

Great Jones Way and Lafayette

Noho, New York

Take the 6/F/D/M/B to Broadway-Lafayette and walk north a block or so. 

Recipe Attempted: Apple Crisp

So the nagging question of what differentiates a crumble from a cobbler from a crisp has been on my mind. As a result, I decided to try making an apple crisp.

I found the recipe on allrecipes.com, a holding place for meals and treats made by middle-aged white ladies. (How do I know this? Just look at some of the usernames: “Josie,” “jandtsmom,” and “let_them_eat_cake.” I don’t see any ethnic threads here.)

A simple execution, the recipe, calling for dashes of delicious cinnamon and nutmeg, was easy-to-follow and yielded brilliant results:

allrecipes.com apple crisp

apple crisp