Sunday, July 01, 2007

London Calling

We had dinner at Gordon Ramsay's first New York venture, a restaurant called Maze at the London Hotel. Large fluttering Union Jack flags welcomed us as we stepped into the elegant hotel space. We were dining in the bar (rather than the full restaurant), and this gave us opportunity to sample more of the smaller plates that are offered in this area.

The food was really good. Rich flavours and well sourced ingredients gave each small plate a real lift. Highlights included a verdant asparagus risotto, perfectly fried sea bass, and the "essences" of a BLT served in a martini glass. This may have been Ramsay-by-numbers, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The price was right and the service mostly spot-on, yet the place was surprisingly quiet. Maybe it's the location in an anonymous part of midtown, maybe it's the fact that Ramsay's reputation in the states is based only on the US version of his foul-mouthed and abusive Hell's Kitchen, rather than his cooking. Either way, I can't see the restaurant lasting a long time in its current incarnation unless a few more guests show up.

If you're in town soon, snag a table.

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