It must be so easy for a Manhattan restaurant to aspire toward pretentiousness. New York is undoubtedly one of America’s dining epicenters, and competition remains stiff across all types of cuisine and all levels of expense. To distinguish itself, chefs and restauranteurs must wonder if they need to go all out for haughty menus and stuffy service.
The Back Room at One57 shows that an elite restaurant can take up residence in the most precious New York real estate and fund success serving a simple menu of perfectly prepared food, served via an intelligent and pleasant staff.
Located in the 96-story tower that’s been home to the Park Hyatt Hotel and private residences for a little more than a year, the Back Room resides in a warmly lit, wood-lined room just off adjoining hotel’s Living Room lounge bar. The staff is utterly efficient from reception through dessert, with each member of the crew knowing the menu and the thoughts behind its construction in detail.
Led by Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault (formerly at Andaz West Hollywood Hotel and Blue Duck Tavern in Washington, D.C.), Wine Director Tristan Prat-Vincent and Executive Pastry Chef Scott Cioe, The Back Room offers a menu composed of American classics.
I recommend the Suckling Pig, Pork Chop and Pork Belly, served with Turnips and Mustard Seed Jus, or the rare and special beef cut of a Bone-In Filet. The Brussel Sprouts with Chili-Lemon and Cranberry are the house’s most called upon side. Throughout the experience, the preparation is careful and delicate — though the dishes in question are simple by design.
The Back Room also flashes a passion for seafood, with a whole lobster on the entree menu and a wide selection of market oysters and clams for starter or main.
While the American-centric choices generally keep it centered and welcoming, there are some flares of the more complex gourmet variety. There’s the start of Fluke Crudo with Candied Wasabi, the entree of Sweet Corn Agnolotti or the dessert of Poached Apricot Verrine.
Whether the visitor is a simple carnivore or a gourmand, a spoiled local or a wide-eyed tourist, the Back Room at One57 offers a menu just big enough to offer consistent satisfaction from starter to dessert without resorting to anything resembling the fake hipster cool or snooty exclusivity that plagues other New York fine dining joints.
You can enjoy a closeup look at some of the menu’s items in the gallery below.