I’ve never had high tea at the Plaza but I may have found the next best thing. I first went down to the hotel’s underground retail area a few years ago on a whim and discovered Demel, the famed Austrian patisserie and chocolatier. I used to love going there on crispy fall afternoons to have a slice of cake with a cappucino. Demel, and all of the cosmetic/retail counters have since been replaced with a vast food hall. I have to say that this recent addition is a much better use of the space, as it already seems to be a hotspot for Midtown lunch-goers and captures more attention from Plaza guests and passersby. With haute cuisine names like David Burke, Todd English, Lady M, La Maison du Chocolat, Payard, and Billy’s Bakery all under one roof, it’s oh so easy to be crippled by indecision.
I was initially shocked that all of these big brands would collaborate and work within the same space when they are all highly successful names on their own, but the more I walked around, the more it made sense. Less attention is really paid to in-your-face branding and more on the delicacies on offer. Whatever you’re in the mood for, the Plaza Food Hall is likely to serve it. Since I was spending a solo afternoon cruising through the park to the West Side and wanted something I could eat outside on a park bench, I opted for a mini cheese bioche bun and a slice of bread pudding with creme anglaise from Pain d’Avignon. I’m not usually a bread pudding kind of gal, but all it took was the moist (but not soggy) looking slice to be proffered with a small pot of fresh creme anglaise to seal the deal for me. Next time, I want to go for something substantial and savory, and I think Luke’s Lobster will be just the thing. Those succulent lobster rolls have been taunting me everywhere!