Plate With A View: Métrazur, New York
Saturday 12 June 2004
The celebrity chef Charlie Palmer is the creative genius behind one of the most enviably positioned restaurants in New York. Métrazur sits on the east balcony of Grand Central Terminal, at the top of a sweeping flight of marble stairs copied from Paris's Palais Garnier opera house.
A sleek modern American brasserie, Métrazur is an ideal place to people-watch, as the commuters surge past down below. It takes its name from a train that once ran along the Côte d'Azur en route to Monaco, and has an atmosphere reminiscent of the days when travel was gracious.
The food served is what Palmer calls "progressive American cuisine" infused with a Mediterranean flavour, and a great deal of fresh seafood. The menu changes seasonally, but regular favourites include Caesar salad with a parmesan crisp and Bergamot-crusted lamb loin with whipped eggplant and fava beans.
Looking down, you see a sight familiar from the black-and-white photos of the 1950s and countless films, including, more recently, The Fisher King and K-Pax. Shafts of light stream down to illuminate the toing and froing on the marble floor of the main concourse. Looking up, the vaulted ceiling of this Beaux Arts masterpiece is decorated with a mural of 2,500 stars, making up the major constellations and star signs.
Thanks to the current exchange rate, Métrazur's starters, such as littleneck clams at $9 (£5.50) or oysters at $15 (£9), aren't too expensive. The seafood platter is strongly recommended ($18/£11), as is the prawn risotto with green onions in a lobster reduction ($22/£14). A reasonable bottle of white wine starts at $20 (£12.50), but don't forget to tip above 15 per cent. The restaurant is open for lunch from 11.30am to 3pm (Monday-Friday), and for dinner from 5pm to 10.30pm (Monday-Saturday). It is closed on Sunday.
Métrazur, Grand Central Terminal, 42nd Street & Lexington Avenue, New York (001 212 687 4600; www.metrazur.com)
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