The next locale in my QNYGF series is a somewhat hidden gem located in what is perhaps one of the most iconic buildings in Manhattan – Grand Central Terminal (or station for the uninitiated). I say somewhat hidden gem because you could easily walk though the station and not know that just a few steps above you fantastic fine dining is taking place at Charlie Palmer’s Métrazur. Now I had eaten at Métrazur before but that was long before my alter ego came on the scene.
Over the December holidays, my in-laws were in from Bermuda and we had planned to hit the City on Boxing Day (12/26) to do all the fabulously touristy things the holidays inspire. So, on a rather cold and rainy day we took in the store windows, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, and full day of running around various shops and sights. I though what could be more New York than dining on one of the fabulous marble balconies at the iconic Grand Central? Prior to our dining reservation we imbibed at the historic Campbell Apartment located above an opposing balcony – and the future subject of another post.
As for Métrazur, it was rather quite initially as we ate earlier than we normally do having been combating the elements and running around all day. We were greeted by a very friendly hostess that quickly took out coats and showed us to our table which was located right on the edge of the balcony with a fantastic view of the action going on in the Great Hall. As it was the holidays Grand Central also had a laser show twice an hour on the ceiling of the hall.
The menus were presented and being a Saturday and holiday weekend it was a special limited menu but there was still plenty of choices and gluten-free options that I too could indulge in. I was hoping that their special wine dinner option which includes three courses and a bottle of wine for every two people would be available but alas, being a holiday weekend it was not. No worries though as the available options were well-priced and plentiful.
For a starter three out of four of us had the Roasted Beets from the Farm which was red and yellow beets complimented with Vermont goat cheese and roasted walnuts in a delicious sherry vinaigrette. The lone outsider opted for a Lobster Bisque which according to him was delicious. It also was not a watered-down version but a clearly house made stock that was a rich amber color and quite fragrant. Needless to say my shellfish allergy prevented me from getting too close.
For our main courses three of us had the Charred Angus Sirlon Steak with rosemary fries, pulled haricot vert and a black truffle hollandaise. My preparation was just simply grilled to medium-well perfection, no fries or hollandaise but a wonderful replacement of vegetables accompanying the meat. The steak was grilled to perfection and those that ordered rare got perfectly rare and mine was perfectly medium. The grill chef really knows how to grill a piece of meat. The meat itself was great quality and extremely flavorful. The lone holdout for the steak opted for the Lamb Shank with creamy saffron risotto, pressed olives, melted tomato and frizzled onions in a red wine reduction. The shank was immense and according to the recipient, delicious.
For dessert, I opted for the Crème Brulee with sweet potato chutney and was presented with quite possibly the largest dish of the dessert I have ever been served. It came complete with a perfectly melted sugar crust and the accompanying sweet potato chutney made for an interesting twist on this classic dessert. Only two other desserts graced the table as the fourth diner was full from their entrée. A personal cheesecake that was topped with a house made marshmallow disc (which was apparently very good) and a chocolate cake that is not on any of their regular menus that my other half raved about.
All in all if you have not been to Métrazur I highly recommend it. The theater that is the various travelers coming and coming through the iconic structure makes for a dinner theater you will not find anywhere else. The service was extremely attentive without being obtrusive and diners were truly made to feel welcome. On the allergy front, I need to only mention once what I could not have and nothing was a problem. The staff could not offer up enough replacement for items I needed to replace and did so in a manner that did not make me feel like an outcast or that I was troubling the kitchen.
If you find yourself in Grand Central look to the East balcony which is Métrazur and do yourself a favor and pop in for lunch or dinner. One caveat – the place is hopping during the week with a bar on one side and the restaurant on the other.