To say that I love food is an understatement. The hunt for new food experiences and tasting diverse flavours is one of my favourite pastimes. So, imagine a place where the hunt for, and opportunity to taste, a wide variety of dishes and gourmet products can all be had under one roof. This place is known as a Food Hall.
I first discovered Food Halls while living in London. The hallowed Food Halls at iconic London retailers such as Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are wondrous places to explore. Every time I step into a Food Hall, I feel giddy with excitement. In planning my recent weekend getaway to New York City, I had scheduled afternoon tea at the Plaza. However, after visiting the hotel, I quickly learned that the Plaza’s Todd English Food Hall was where the story was at.
I describe the Plaza’s Food Hall as NYC’s “best kept secret” because I have many friends that regularly travel to NYC for holiday or business and, surprisingly, most of them have never heard of the Plaza’s Food Hall.
Launched in 2010, the Plaza Food Hall was modeled after the famous Food Halls in Europe. The idea for the creation of the Plaza Food Hall was conceived by celebrity chef, Todd English. Situated in the concourse of the Plaza Hotel, with the Todd English Food Hall as its anchor, the Plaza expanded in 2012 to include specialty vendors including Three Tarts, Pizza Rollio, Sub No. 7, Olma Caviar Bar and Boutique, Luke’s Lobster and William Greenberg Desserts.
On a very sunny and hot Saturday morning, I walked over to the Plaza with two girlfriends to have lunch. The Food Hall was abuzz with activity. Young couples, older couples, groups of friends, families with children and individuals sat at various stations and vendors.
Between the gourmet sandwiches, pizza, subs, lobster rolls, asian noodles, sushi, pastries, green tea cakes, gourmet marshmallows, small tasting dishes and macarons, I couldn’t figure out where to start!
With the vast selection, I think anyone would be hard pressed not to find something appetizing between the various vendors and the TE Food Hall. Wishing that I had a bigger stomach to sample everything on offer, I was relieved that the hotel had kindly organized a tasting for us at the TE Food Hall; at least we’d have some guidance on what to try!
However, my relief was short lived. The TE Food Hall seemed to have as many food stations and menu items as the various vendors in other parts of the hall.
From the made-to-order seafood grill and oyster station…
…to the home made pasta station (check out the fresh pasta hanging to dry on the back wall)…
…and the wine bar.
After some helpful guidance from Anthony – our very approachable and attentive waiter – we decided on the following menu items: Lobster Guacamole with Nachos, Tuna Tartar Tacos, Peiking Duck Buns, Fig and Prosciutto Pizza and Artichoke Ravioli.
Of the various dishes, hands down, all three of us loved the Peiking Duck Buns and the Tuna Tartar Tacos.
I also appreciated the contrast between the sweetness of the figs and the saltiness of the gorgonzola on the pizza. Although my sense is that you’d have to be a fan of strong cheeses to enjoy this pizza because the gorgonzola is pungent.
What I love about the TE Food Hall is that it offers lots of small tastings and dishes; which is fantastic if you like to try a variety of items in one meal. While The Plaza was kind enough to arrange this meal experience, I wouldn’t write about it if I didn’t think it was well worth the visit. In fact, my friends commented that we’d definitely visit the Food Hall again on our next trip.
And after your meal, you can check out the various fine food items offered in their retail store. I was told that customers can also call in to pre-order a picnic basket to pick up on the way to Central Park. How cool is that?
Location: The Plaza Hotel, 768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States
Website: The Plaza Food Hall