I have a mostly hate-hate relationship with the Major Food Group, which specializes in running extravagant, overpriced restaurants like Carbone, Santina and Sadelle’s. One of the newest additions to its portfolio is The GRILL, a reboot of the famous Grill Room of the Four Seasons Hotel in Midtown. As expected, I spent a ton of money overindulging on platters that would obviously fit the bill for fat cat, expense-account dining, only I was footing the bill and I didn’t think it was worth it.
The most outrageous and laughable demonstration of The GRILL’s over-the-topness was the preparation of the notorious pasta a la press dish. A server comes over and shows you a platter of various duck parts, and then proceeds to dramatically squeeze the tasty juices out of the meat and bones in a contraption that is reminiscent of a medieval torture device. All this for what is essentially just noodles in duck fat. You don’t even get the used duck pieces on the side. Your $33 for the plate is going towards paying off the machine and the labor involved to turn the press.
Appetizers are priced like expensive entrees and entrees are priced like expensive entrees for two. A single crab cake costs $39. Again, for that price, the execution should be flawless, but placing the crab meat on top of a layer of mushy potatoes is a strange choice. The prime rib, which you have to order a day in advance, is $76, which is the price of a whole tasting menu at some places. I would have gladly paid $40, but not nearly double that. Despite the salty crust and the offensive price, I did like the prime rib, but it nowhere near brought me joy in the way that the cheap hanger steak at St. Anselm does.
The Amish ham steak was pretty marvelous, and at $40, it seemed like a comparative bargain. You’ve never had ham until you’ve had this, and It definitely put all those past Christmas and Thanksgiving hams to shame. But moments where I felt like that were far and few between. More often than not, I liked what I was eating, but I always felt ripped off. A meal at Jean-Georges or Le Bernardin can cost much less and taste so much more exquisite. They say you’re paying for the experience of reliving the JFK glamour days, but my meal felt flashy and more Trumpian. Leave this place to the corporate closing dinners and holiday parties.
99 E 52nd St (between Park and Lexington Ave)
New York, NY 10022