Nick's Review of Rock Center CafeLocation:
West 50th (Manhattan, NYC)Cuisine:
AmericanNick's Rating (4 out of 5):
For the third straight Saturday evening in a row, two things have taken place. It was a damp and wet night and, I was sent out on a mission to find a restaurant for our 2010 holiday group. At first I wasn't thrilled about heading into the middle of tourist central - again - Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center and the Holidays - not a welcome combination. But, nonetheless, I was given a job and fully intended it to do it right. So off Leanna (my wife) and I went to Manhattan and, from start to finish I have nothing but praise for Rock Center Cafe: http://www.patinagroup.com/east/rockCenterCafe/
We arrived at our standard dining time of 7:30pm and were joined by fellow Cruise Freek members Christina (FormerlySanFranBayCruiser) and Marina (Curvy Gal Cruises). After the usual greetings and catching up after the holidays and, Leanna showing off her Christmas present, we were seated - right by a HUGE picture window and yes the photo below was
REALLY taken from INSIDE the restaurant - that's how close you are to the rink! I was smart enough to bring along my new digital camera so you could see the restaurant for yourself - I'm not sure my words alone would do it justice:
This was our view:
We were off to a great start. Yes, this is a very expensive place to dine but, with a view like we had - you know you're partially paying for atmosphere and, I'm telling you, if we want the true holiday feeling for our 2010 group, nothing is going to come remotely close to Rock Center Cafe. There is nothing like dining here during the Holidays. The menu isn't extensive but, the choices offered are very good and, I would rate the wine menu good but, not outstanding (since Morrell's - which is a wine bar - is across the street, I guess they figure it isn't worth competing). Anyhow, we ordered a bottle of Pinot Noir and settled in for a wonderful dining experience.
For appetizers Leanna had the Jumbo Shrimp, I had the Crab And Risotto Cake and both Christina and Marina ordered the Manhattan Clam Chowder. Well, there were absolutely no complaints during our first course! When I say Jumbo Shimp, I should say more like colossal in size. The Crab and Risotto cake was also a very generous portion, not to mention extremely
well done in both taste and presentation. And, we have two thumbs up from Christina and Marina on the Manhattan Clam Chowder.
For our main entrees: Christina had the Duck Confit which she described as deliciously decadent; Marina had the Braised Lamb Shanks that was so tender if fell off the bone; Leanna had the Pork Tenderloin which was very good; and I had the Prime Rib Of Beef Au Jus, perfectly cooked and very tender.
You know we had a good time because we lingered and ordered a second bottle of wine before dessert and, just enjoyed each other's company, the conversation and of course, the restaurant itself. Below is a photo I took of the restaurant as we were leaving, just so you can see how it looks decorated for Christmas time. Boy did I feel like a tourist!
On to my favorite part of the meal. Dessert!!! All three ladies ordered the Key Lime Pie which was very well done, not too sweet and not too tart. And, I ordered the cheesecake - it was very good. Was it Junior's - no, nothing will ever come close to a Junior's cheesecake but, this one was still very good.
Overall - I loved just about every minute of this restaurant experience. A wonderful view, very good food, no intrusive waiters
asking where I'm from - and understanding Tina's logic that Rock Center Cafe would suit our needs perfectly since Radio City is literally just upstairs from this restaurant, to me this is the number one choice for our group for our second pre-cruise night in New York City. However, Tina said we'll put it to a vote so please look for a voting poll and, I will link all three reviews so everyone can read before voting.
PS - Thank God for bad weather, otherwise, this fat boy would have ended up on his fat butt in the middle of the staking rink!
This is sidewalk elevator down to the restaurant and shops inside Rockefeller Plaza: