First Look: The Plaza Food Hall
The high-end retail stores in the basement of the Plaza—which include Maurice Fine Jewelry, Krigler perfumes and, in a recent addition, Emmanuel Ungaro—have been struggling to attract patrons since the unveiling of the underground mini-mall two years ago. But the beleaguered Shops at the Plaza may have found their savior in Todd English’s Food Hall.
The concept, which opens today, is a condensed version of Harrod’s famous food hall, with a slew of bar areas featuring different cuisines interspersed with sales displays of artisanal food products and fancy kitchen tools. Among the offerings are The Ocean Grill and Oyster Bar, featuring a full raw bar, grilled fish and a lobster roll; a brick oven pizza and salad station (where I sampled a heavenly arugula-mozzarella-fontina pie at last night’s sneak peek of the place); a sushi bar; a noodle and dumpling area; a tapas and wine station; a grill featuring burgers, lamb gyros, steaks, and a carving station; a cheese and charcuterie bar; and a delightful bakery offering homemade candies, maccarons, tarts and cupcakes by CurlyCakes, a company that the one-time runaway groom launched with his teenaged daughter.
The Food Hall was not a late-game idea designed to save the shops, according to Miki Naftali, the president and CEO of El Ad, which bought the Plaza in 2004. “It just took many years to find someone who shared my vision of a European-style food hall,” says Naftali. In any case, the option to dine in or take out from the halls will surely buoy the adjacent shops. They won’t be helped, though, by the feature that will most delight nearby office dwellers: delivery service, from 8th Avenue to Lexington and 54th Street to 64th Street.
From left, Miki Naftali, Todd English and Jeffrey Beers.
Photos: Evan Sung