in the Theater District. (We splurged on tickets to see the Baz Luhrman La Boheme, which was great, if funny in a couple of the wrong places.) We went to the Grand Cafe, which is the hotel restaurant for Hotel Monaco. Crowded, loud, and slow-but-apologetic service, not a good place for a romantic dinner, but the food was real good. And the surroundings were fun - the place is huge, but with these metal sculptures of fantastical animals around you, it makes for a merry setting.
We started with 2 bowls (cause it just sounded so good) of their pumpkin soup. Yum! Instead of going for sweet, with cinammon or some such, they went for peppery. The soup wasn't terribly thick - they used a chicken base rather than cream - but that made it a good appetizer. Not too filling, eh? The pumpkin paired with the pepper (say that 3 times fast) made for a nice spicy soup, and the pumpkin seeds floating on the surface were a nice touch. We finished both bowls.
I had duck, nicely marinated, falling off the bone tender. Yum! It came with baby carrots, cooked just so that they were slightly crispy but not underdone, green beans (done same - it's so hard to not overcook green beans!) and what we think were parsnips. Only drawback the parsnips - are they out of season? Too crunchy, not much flavor! Oh, and a little horseradish in the mashed potatoes gave them a nice bite. And a yummy bottle of wine straight off the wine list - we had a French chablis. Gotta do that again sometime soon. Yum!
Oh, for dessert, how sweet was this! To make up for the slow service (they were mobbed with people, and apparently understaffed), they gave us a little box of about 8 cookies to take with us. The cookies turned out to be great - not so crunchy that they got all over my pretty new going-out-on-the-town outfit, but not too soft either. Little cookies with raspberry jam in the center, palmieres, and something puffy with frosting on it. Not sure what they're called. Just yum.
Enjoy if you have a chance.
Oh, incidentally, I used to work at the Clift when it was a Four Seasons hotel, and we stopped in on our way there - what's up with that bizarre new decor? And what's up with the food at what used to be the French Room? Has anyone tried it? That front lobby gave me a fun sense of the creeps - something out of Beetlejuice! Nice place for a Halloween visit. Hee-hee!