The next few posts will be about getting through the backlog of our trip to NYC.
Is it fair to judge a chef and restaurant by the quality of room service?
In this case, I say sure. As Gordon Ramsay prepares to open the doors to his latest Sunset Boulevard outpost, I won't rush to experience his West Coast digs. I've already had a brush with the GR kitchen at the hotel where we camped out at for a few days in New York last week. The London NYC houses Gordon's eponymous restaurant, and all other food options lower on the hierarchy apparently have something to do with the man himself and his Michelin starred kitchens.
Now, I LOVE room service. My Eloise fantasies often trump any common sense about it. Food delivered to the room is ususally cold, bland, poorly textured, or all of the above. But hey -- it's always fun.
Frank Bruni's dream assignment that was published last year set my expectations of The London's "in room dining" quite high. Out of the six hotels where he sampled room service, The London ranked top. Since we can't go out much, good room service (and roomy suites) appealed when booking our stay. I suspect, however, that perhaps Mr. Bruni didn't check in under a pseudonym.
Dinner brought to the 46th floor on a Friday night was certainly several cuts above average. Yet service was fine, nothing to write home about. That tray of food pictured above fed me, a 19-month-old, and a four-year-old. It consisted of an overly dressed Caesar salad that made me feel slightly ill, a very tasty chicken breast with delectably crisp skin and rich mushrooms, creamed potatoes (think butter with some potatoes mixed in for good measure), green peas, and a glass of ABC pinot. [Yes! Jim Clendenen still has that amazing hair in his glam shot.] It came on simple elegant dishes placed on ubiquitous Chilewich place mats.
It cost $100. At least the chicken was excellent, and if it was cold, that was at least partially my fault since the kids have to get fed first. I'm sure what's served in the dining room is immeasurably better than in the privacy of your own room. But still... Breakfast in the dining room the next morning? Our trio ate very modestly (scrambled eggs, one order French toast, coffee, juice) for $64. In less than 24 hours I was exasperated by the Midtown tourist economy.
We'll see what happens when GR (maybe) comes to L.A. this week.