Friday, February 25, 2011

Todd English and the Food Hall Plaza Hotel New York

Chef Todd English opened the Food Hall in the Plaza Hotel last year- and New Yorkers are loving it! On a frigid Tuesday evening, the Food Hall was packed with diners elbow-to-elbow and chatting with each other and the chefs.  The bar-style Food Hall puts diners up close with their chefs tending to the red-brick pizza oven, the raw bar and seafood station, the charcuterie and cheese block and more.  The marketplace-food court atmosphere is decorated with swingy marmalades, olive oils, sauces, cheeses and of course, Todd English’s cookbooks, that are available for sale throughout the Hall.  

The menu mixes Raw Bar, Sushi and Mediterranean with classic Italian such as Parmesan and Mushroom Risotto, Butternut Squash Ravioli, Bucatini all’Amatriciana, Pappardelle with Whipped Ricotta and Lobster Tagliatelle with Baby Artichokes. 

We started with one of Todd English’s signatures- a Fig’s-style brick oven pizza, topped with Prosciutto, Gorgonzola, rosemary and dried figs.  As we waited I watched stiff-white-coated chefs walk past with a Zuppa Di Cozze, steamed mussels sprinkled with chilli pepper, and wooden cutting boards with all sorts of cheeses paired with salumi, olives and spiced honeys.  The charred octopus with leeks and almond-red pepper romesco made my Amalfi Coast heart proud- that even on this icy February evening, my 8-legged tapas were tender and not the least bit rubbery.  Meanwhile, my dining partner savored the hand-rolled Gnocchi with traditional veal Bolognese topped with shaved Parmesan.

We ended with two of Isabelle’s Curly Cakes- the Grasshopper with a mint butter cream frosting and the Red Velvet topped with a chilled White Chocolate-Cream Cheese.  Keep an eye out for Taste Of Italia’s April Issue for more on these little delights!

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