26 March 2009

Lunch at The Four Seasons Restaurant

The Four Season's Hotel. Bob Hoskin's look alikes wander the lobby drunk with their shirts untucked while commenting on how classy everything is.

The Four Seasons Restaurant. Elegant. Understated. Tuck your shirt in when you come here.

The Lippold sculpture above the bar. Cool.

A very warm $16 Martini. Bad.

Lunch at the bar. Good

This was my first visit to the Four Seasons Restaurant at 52nd & Park. I've known about it for years but like the tailors on Savile Row it took some time before I had the courage to step inside. I also went to the wrong Four Seasons. Like a lot of people I went to the hotel on 59th and looked around thinking, "This ain't it. This ain't it at all." While the Four Seasons Hotel does nothing for me - - The Grill Room in the Four Seasons (is this confusing?) is a 50's master piece. Much smaller than I thought but warm, friendly and well run. Also, it's filled with Blue suits, gray suits and lots of Hermes ties.

As everyone knows in this economy - - lunch is the bargain. I had steak tartar and a glass of wine. And a pretty crappy martini. I arrived late in the lunch hour and sat at the bar. Waited a considerable amount of time. Not sure where the bartender was. Didn't matter. There was the menu to consider as well as the room. A beautiful place to take in with all the senses.

Lunch was pretty damned good too. And at north of $50 it should be although the show was free. Michael Douglas approached the bar and struck up a conversation with four women who were celebrating something. He glanced over my way and I got the, "scrape you off the heel of my shoe" look. He turned back to the women and I saw that he leaned into his conversation with them. It was a nice move. Very Gordon Gekko like. The ladies started giggling and that was his cue. To leave. A small irony here. Just last week I had lunch at 21. Gordon Gekko's restaurant of choice - - on the rare occasion he ate lunch. It was painfully bad. Bad service. Bad food. Bad customers taking flash pictures. "Lower than whale shit" was the expression we used in the army. I'd say it's fitting for 21.

Anyway, after Douglas left I nursed the martini and this guy goes to the window behind me flipping open his cell phone. I over hear a conversation that went kind'a like this:

You're blowing this way outta proportion.
No, it's not like that at all.
Why would you say that? What? I'm not doing that.
Where are you?
What are you doing there? I'm in the Four Seasons. Come over.

I check this guy out (Blue suit - Hermes tie) and keep an eye peeled on the stairs to see what the other party looks like. Is it his lawyer? His accountant? His Plumber? Five minutes later a beautiful blonde (Chanel suit - Hermes scarf) shakes up the steps in heels with shopping bags and a chilled aloofness...I only wish my martini was that chilled. "Blue Suit - Hermes Tie" goes over, buzzes both her cheeks and takes "Chanel suit - Hermes scarf" away. His Plumber... Am I brain dead or what?

You have to be brain dead not to love a place like this and while the Grill Room is one of the most beautiful rooms ever - - did you know JFK had his 45th birthday party here? I doubt his martini was as warm as mine.


M.Lane said...

Nothing worse than a warm martini. Good Lord. Sounds like on the whole the lunch was pretty great though and a tremendous Tradley choice. The lady in Hermes would have made it worth it for me despite the nefarious presence of Mr. Douglas.

I had a pretty great dinner at 21 my last trip up. It may have been enhanced however by the three hours I spent at Clarke's bar beforehand....


tintin said...

Dinner may sit better than lunch. But 21 is having some probs from what I hear.

CaliforniaCommodore said...

Off-Topic question, but is it possible to effectively tailer a 42R coat so that it fits like a 41R/40R? I spoke with someone who said the body could be altered but that there might be issues with the shoulder cuffs.

Blushing hostess said...

21... I quit that when the boys there gave up ties. Not a surprise the service headed down the ol' slippery slope with well dressed sexy old school types. And Four Seasons... I like my martini dirty and my burger salty... though I agree, in this economy I'd not be in the grill now on anything but an expense account with $40 burgers. Crazy, but so good.

Chenners said...

Impressive narrative skills!

tintin said...

Cal Commodore- I'm not sure what you mean by shoulder cuffs. A good tailor can do a lot with a suit. But it'll cost you. Working cuffs run $100. Extensive work can easily run $500 or more.

Blushing Hostess- The expense account has opened the doors of many a restaurant to me.

Chenners- Thank you. My eating skills are impressive as well.

Alice Olive said...

Hilarious! Don't stereotype plumbers, I'm sure there are a lot who are blonde, don Chanel and Hermes and have perfected aloofness.

Enzo AGC said...


I just got three jackets back from the tailor I've always taken my pants to in Nolita. Until now I've kept my pants and jackets tailored separately but I wanted to see what they could do with a jacket. Had two of them taken in at the waist and one taken in and sleeves shortened. The whole thing ran me $140 and they did a great job. The place is called NY Tailors on Kenmare. I think you should try it next time you need some work done.

tintin said...

Alice- My uncle was a plumber in Greenwhich, CT. He met my aunt when they both worked for Joan Crawford. When my uncle died they found money hidden all over the house. Wrapped in foil. He could've dressed anyway he wanted but was happiest in bowling. I have to say I enjoyed bowling with him.

Enzo- Man, I'll try anyone although after some real failures in midtown my go-to guy has been Mr Peppino. He's cheaper than my dry cleaners on basic alterations. Bahmbi did a big job for me but they were $600 for a 3 piece and it took almost a year. They also didn't do some details I asked them to. Someone should do a "Tailor's of NYC" piece about the best value. I'll check your guy out.

W. Essex said...

Great story! Did you have any trouble getting into the Four Seasons? We should go sometime and discuss claims frequency and cat models, lol.

Are there still super-friendly restroom attendants at 21 Club? Last time the guy was telling me about his duaghter's upstate prep school. Amazing! Made me question where all my money goes.

Have a great weekend!

tintin said...

W. Essex- Anything to write it off. I'm itching to try that $55 Buffalo burger. Maybe I can take an AIG u/w one last time.

The BR attendant at 21 is Rev. Short for Reverand. A wonderful man and the only employee at 21 who is always cheerful. He tells me he keeps resigning but the manager refuses.

initials CG said...

Ouch...a hot blond in Chanel is the ruin of many honest men with a vain streak. And worse, she was out shopping. Yeah, you see them. You get them,and think "how the *&#% did I bag this?" It's great for a few months because she looks really good naked. Then...

Kind of like a warm martini. It's nauseating if it ain't perfect. Don't put up with it. Send it back before you drink it. Even though I imagine you were just too relaxed to really worry about it. At least its effects wear off quickly.

Blue suit-Hermes dude wont be as relaxed as you were, for a long time.

Ebenezer Howard, Jr. said...

Martini might have been cooler before 17 lbs. of warm olives were thrown into the soup.

I'm enjoying your blog. Thanks.

tintin said...

cg- You're a hoot. No truer words ever written.

Ebenezer- Glad you like the blog. I am an olive man.

Anonymous said...

Grabed a KobeBurger(TM) @ Hardee's - had a coupon. No sign O'Charlie Sheen. Cashier called me "Hon", OK!

ADG said...

Great post...sorry that I didn't catch it sooner.

21 hasn't been the same since Bruce Snyder retired. He was the epitome of grace-class-elegance-style....always dressed in finery that exceeded most patrons...and this was back when ties were still required.

tintin said...

When I worked in Chicago we had a guy in our NY office who ate lunch at 21 every day of the week. He also got passes to Penthouse photo shoots. He was a very popular guy.

Nick Rossi said...

Ah yes, the Four Seasons. One of my favorites. For those of us trying our hand at high style on the cheap, I highly recommend lunch in the pool room. As tintin says, the prices are "more affordable" (cough) and the room is stunning. I like cocktails in the Grill Room as well - although lunch there is a good option as well. Where else can you dine in an establishment touched by the hands of both Van Der Rohe and Saarinen?

Ben said...

Huh, I missed this post. Glad I found it, as it's a good one.

You shoulda told Douglas: "Get the number for my tailor, Rudy. You can't show up here looking like that."

tintin said...

Ben- Brilliant.

Paul said...

3 olives in that martini glass! Glad to see you eat your vegatables.