When people would say New York City is dead, I would always point out the busy outdoor restaurants downtown to prove otherwise. But Midtown was a different story. It really did feel like the everyone had left this part of town. With people working from home and Broadway having gone dark, was there any real reason for Midtown to exist? So when I went to dinner at Le Pavillon, the new Daniel Boulud restaurant that opened at a Midtown office tower, I was relieved to see that things were back. The crowd seemed to reflect precovid clientele – date-nights, the finance bros, and even out-of-town guests! You know things are really back when the tourists are back.
Le Pavillon is definitely a luxurious, corporate expense account type of restaurant. If you want to impress your out-of-town parents or some clients, this is where you should take them. The dining room is beautiful and is set up to optimize people watching. The menu checks all the marks on fine dining–caviar, lobster, steak, etc. What’s nice about the menu, though, is that it devotes a significant portion to vegetable dishes. I personally think the seafood is where Le Pavillon shines, but it’s great that there are fancy options for just about everyone.
The meal runs on a three-course menu format, although there is a six-course tasting menu if you want to venture there. The food is on the opulent and rich side, so three courses should be more than plenty. Like I said, the seafood dishes were the best, so I’d recommend focusing on the “mer” or surf side of the menu. The star of the show at our dinner was the moules or mussel soup. The broth was velvety and comforting, while the caviar made it feel luxurious, and the watercress provided some good texture. A close second was the uni pasta. It was surprisingly light in feel, due to the lemony flavors, and the breadcrumbs again added some needed crunch to the overall soft layers.
We were very traditional with our main courses–we went literal with the surf and turf theme and ordered the strip loin steak and the maine lobster. Both were crowd-pleasing choices that made us feel like we definitely got our money’s worth at our “nice” anniversary dinner. You can just tell from the pictures which one was the slightly tastier option (the lobster). The potatoes that came with the steak were surprisingly good, though.
The desserts are frilly and fancy. You won’t find ooey gooey cake or scoops of ice cream stacked up high. Everything is very neat and very French. They tend to showcase seasonal fruits in the desserts, so while I’m not sure how long the citron / fraise dessert will be on the menu, if it’s still available, I would go with that. And of course, since this is a French restaurant, you can have cheese to conclude your meal. Whatever you order, it will be very beautiful and refined, and you won’t be disappointed by your big meal out in the city.
One Vanderbilt Ave
(between 42nd and 43rd St)
New York, NY 10017
Reservations on Resy here.