New York City: The Back Room at One57


More often than not, dining rooms in hotels serve up overpriced unexciting simple dishes catered to “satisfy” the often-uninformed taste buds of foreigners who, after a day of travelling from miles away or a day of exploring the city, turn up too tired to even hunt further for delicious food (except foodies like me and you of course) and end up settling down for the comfort of their own place of stay (that is the hotel). Reasons why dining at hotels are generally more expensive is because of the supposedly more upscale atmosphere or service, which may or may not be accomplished. Dishes are often boring and uninspiring – the standard eggs benedict, oatmeal and pancakes for breakfast, salad, sandwiches and pasta for lunch, and heavier mains for dinner. Buffet brunches that feature merely a wide spread of probably-leftover international spread are often crazily priced. Nothing special done, leaving me to conclude 90% of the time that the hefty price tags are unjustified.
Yet, it is that 10% of the time where food is done well – high quality ingredients, cooked perfectly – and service is impeccable, that makes you want to come back to a hotel again and again, despite knowing that you could probably get as exciting food that is more reasonably priced. Either way, whatever, delicious food and good service calls for regular visits.
The Back Room at New York’s Park Hyatt Hotel is one of those hotel dining rooms that I would eagerly wake up every morning just not to miss my breakfast. Food is simple, yet done well, with a touch of their own specialty here and there. Ingredients used are also seasonal and fresh. Definitely not the most reasonable place to get your traditional breakfast food, but its extremely mouthwatering exceptional.
During the fall/winter, they offered the Sweet Potato Pancakes, salted caramel sauce, pecans ($20). The pancakes were thick, light and fluffy and the density of the sweet potato itself definitely did not come through. The sweet potato did lend it a hearty flavor, and the salted caramel sauce had the right balance between sweet and salty.
Another dish featured during the fall/winter was the Pumpkin French Toast, pepitas, warm spices ($20). Like the pancake, I absolutely did not find any much flaws in this dish – they were balanced in both flavor and texture wise. The French toast was not eggy at all, and it was soft enough to sink into your teeth with the slightest chew. Again, the pumpkin lent the dish a heartiness instead of mere dessert-sweetness that many French toast provides.
Granola parfait, organic yogurt, berries, honey ($16). I love granolas that are exceptionally crunchy and not over-the-top sweet. The drizzle of jam on the top was unnecessary I felt as the granola was sweet enough to counteract the tanginess of the yogurt. The berries were also exceptionally sweet, which goes to show the freshness and seasonality of ingredients that the chef takes pride in.
Main lobster with egg white scramble, avocado, spinach, preserved lemon, tarragon ($26). Rich dish, absolutely, but there was just enough of everything so as to not make the dish a mash up of some sort. The claws of the lobster were perfectly shucked and cooked – not at all rubbery with a slight hint of sweetness. The eggs too, were cooked to my liking – they were still a little runny at the centre and there were no signs of any other colour other than white. Everything was seasoned well, and the lemon and tarragon rounded off the whole dish by providing a slight lightness and zing. Another commendable aspect of this dish is the plating. Instead of getting chunks of lobster meat mixed into the scramble, a whole claw seats atop the dish, retaining the integrity of the meat itself and allowing you to savour and appreciate it on your own.
You could really just make these dishes right in your kitchen. I mean yogurt and granola, and scrambled eggs, spinach and avocado, there’s really nothing much difficult with them. But what makes me think that The Back Room is worth it is their use of seasonal fresh ingredients, showcasing simplicity and refined techniques done at its best.
The Back Room at One57
Park Hyatt Hotel, 3rd floor
153 West 57th Street
Tel: 212-897-2188
This entry was posted in American/New American, Cafe, New York City, Travel to eat! :), Vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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