“ Address: 151 West 54th Street / New York / NY 10019 / USA „
I visited Maze restaurant with my boyfriend during our holiday to New York in August this year. After watching many of Gordon Ramsay's shows I've always fancied trying one of his restaurants, but never end up in London where they are located. So when I found out he had restaurants in New York I knew I had to visit. I researched the restaurant online and found out he has two restaurants in New York both located on the ground floor of The London Hotel. One is called The London and is the posher of the two which insists on men wearing suit jackets and serves a very find cuisine. Maze is the more casual version and also serves fine cuisine and I believe actually shares a kitchen with The London.
After coming to the conclusion that we wouldn't have the correct attire (or bank balance!) for The London we decided to go with Maze and I booked in advance online to avoid any disappointment. I booked online direct with the Maze website but it re-directs you to a website called opentable.com which deals with restaurant bookings in America. The website was easy to use and didn't require you to register or anything like that.
The London Hotel is located between 6th & 7th Avenue on 54th Street, therefore it is in Midtown Manhattan but closer to Central Park. It is located in a safe area and there are several other bars located nearby. I think because the restaurants are popular and located in a hotel they aren't too well signposted so we did initially almost walk past them so you do need to keep an eye out to avoid missing them. They are located on the ground floor of the hotel on either side of the main entrance so are easy to find once you're in the hotel.
As I've already said the restaurant it located at the front of The London Hotel. It is a very traditional but beautiful hotel and the lobby was very ornate and elegant. The restaurant matched this and was surprisingly very posh inside. Because it was described as the more casual of the two restaurants I didn't expect it to be as glamorous as it was and to me it was internally a very posh restaurant and didn't feel casual what so ever. I was relieved we had dressed up for the occasion as the majority of other diners were dressed formally, and the dress code which was described on the website as "casual" certainly wasn't being followed! I was pleased about this though as I prefer restaurants to feel more sophisticated once inside. There is a large bar area with various tables scattered around the bar itself which looked glitzy and boasted a large number of spirits. Then the restaurant itself merges into the bar area and is a large open space with tables placed throughout.
We were shown to our table and were slightly disappointed with the placement of the tables for two. They were lined up next to eachother a bit too close for comfort. I value my privacy when I go for a meal and dislike the awkward feeling of being placed with other couples directly next to us. This wasn't helped by the fact that the couple on our right insisted on kissing constantly and then loudly complaining about everything they were given. So that kind of ruined the moment a bit! We considered requesting a change of table but it was clear the restaurant was fully booked so we doubted this would be successful.
Despite this the tables and tableware were nice and the dimmed lighting and relaxed music gave the place a nice ambience. Even though the restaurant was busy it never came across as noisy and there didn't appear to be any big loud groups present. The kitchen is closed in so we couldn't see what was going on in there. The toilets in the restaurant were lovely, they are a series of individual rooms along a corridor with no male or female signs, so you just choose one. Once in there you have the toilet, wash basin, mirror etc all in one little room. I liked this, it was different and meant you had your own space.
When we arrived at the bar we were asked to wait in the bar area until our table was ready. Once in there we noticed there was a waitress serving people drinks from the tables. We had a look at the drinks menu on the table and noticed the wine was only listed by the glass. In the meantime we decided on some cocktails we would have instead. Then we waited and waited...We noticed other people had their orders taken who got there after us which was a bit annoying. I got the feeling it was because we were young, we're actually 26 and 28 but most people in there were 40+.
Eventually the waitress came over and we questioned the lack of bottles of wine on the drinks menu. She then informed us there was a separate wine menu and brought that over. I was then given the biggest wine menu I've ever seen, listed in order of location. I'm no wine expert so having a choice of that many wines threw me. We decided to order Rose which helped slightly as Rose wines are limited, particularly in USA. In the end we went with a Californian Rose. Just a few moments later a delightful waiter came over with the bottle to show us and check this was the one we ordered. He then went away again and came back with the bottle now opened and 2 glasses and let us taste the wine first. He even described the wine and seemed to delight in all things wine related. It turned out he was the restaurants dedicated wine expert/waiter. For us this wasn't entirely necessary as were know very little about wine, but for some I'd imagine this mans knowledge could be priceless. We were served wine by the same man throughout our entire stay at the restaurant and he was a pleasure to deal with.
The wines did not come cheap though, ours was one of the cheapest at $60 (roughly £38) but it was a pleasant wine and one of the better Rose wines I have tried.
We ordered from the A la Carte menu ad for starter I ordered a Goats Cheese Pizza. This cost $19 (£12) and was quite disappointing. It came looking quite ordinary and not looking like something I had ordered from a fine dining menu. It was quite small and the base was overcooked meaning it was far too crispy so I could barely get my knife through it, and it was slightly burnt. The cheese was quite sparing and didn't make enough of an impact on the dish. It was sprinkled with rocket which was a nice touch, however just wasn't that great. I wouldn't blame this on my high expectations, as I think I would have been disappointed with this starter in any restaurant, even chains.
For the main course I ordered the roasted breast of long island duck which came with a red wine & fig jus, cabbage and gaufrette potato which cost $36 (£23). Luckily I enjoyed this much more than that starter. To begin with it looked much better, it came on a square plate and the duck was chopped into small chunks and lined up neatly on one side of the plate, whilst the potato and cabbage was neatly placed on the other side. It looked modern and minimalist, just how I would imagine food to look in a restaurant like this. The red wine & fig jus was served in a small gravy boat meaning I could pour it on when I pleased.
I had never eaten duck as a main course before (I'd only ever had it in pancakes at a Chinese!!) so it was a first and I loved it. The only problem was the duck wasn't very hot, however the jus helped this slightly. The red wine and fig jus was delicious and sweet and complimented the duck perfectly. The potatoes were interesting and actually a bit like crisps but I enjoyed them and it was nice to have something different to ordinary potatoes. The cabbage was ok but slightly tasteless, I do like cabbage but expected it to be seasoned on this occasion. Overall I was pleased with the meal, the portion was generous and it was all well cooked and presented. However I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed as it didn't blow me away like I expected. Yet it was a great meal all the same.
I decided to try dessert and ordered the Vairhona chocolate fondant with green cardamom caramel sea salt and almond ice cream. This dessert was $13 (£8) and was worth every penny. The presentation was excellent and modern looking with the chocolate fondant cut into a rectangular block, with the ice cream moulded into an oval shape and placed beside it and the caramel delicately placed on top. It tasted lovely and the variety of textures and flavours was amazing.
When we received the bill we were given 4 chocolates which had quite a hard shell which once bitten revealed a chocolate and liquor liquid centre. These were delicious and a more generous bill accompaniment than one would usually expect.
I had mixed feelings about the service. Neither me or my boyfriend are fussy when it comes to service and are generally happy as long as the food is good. I think the trouble was we were expecting 'amazing' service at this place and really the service was just normal. Other than the wine waiter who was just amazing and attentive, the staff came across as a bit bored and stuck in a rut. Considering it is the kind of restaurant many people will visit for a special occasion this could be disappointing. The waiters were efficient but just seemed a bit indifferent and there was no personal touch and they weren't making any effort to be friendly. I also found it a bit odd that we didn't have just one waiter, it seemed to vary throughout the time we were there.
The waiting time for the starter was just right and it came just when we were ready. However the main took about 40 minutes from the point that the starter was cleared. I got the feeling we had been forgotten and that the waiter had forgotten to ask the chef to start our mains. This didn't actually bother us too much as the starters were quite filling and we weren't in any rush, so for the first half hour we barely noticed but I still think its far too long to be kept waiting and had we been very hungry or in a rush it would have been annoying. However admittedly we didn't bring the wait to the attention of the waiters as we didn't mind it. I do think they had realised how long we had been waiting though as when they did bring the main meals they looked quite flushed and apologetic, although no apology was actually given, possibly because we didn't look that bothered.
Personally we didn't need to complain about anything, however as mentioned earlier the couple next to us complained about everything therefore we got an insight of how the waiters reacted. I must admit the couple were very rude and it appeared they were just in the mood to complain or the sort who do it everywhere, however I still think the complaints were handled badly by the staff who just looked quite bewildered and gave answers which didn't really answer the complaint. They seemed ill prepared for dealing with complaints, thus they just angered the couple further. Perhaps they don't often get people complaining, but either way they need to be better prepared for it as it came across as quite unprofessional.
***Value for Money***
The bill came to approximately $200 (£125) and despite not receiving the best service we left a 10% tip (as tips are often expected in America) therefore we paid $220 in total for a bottle of wine, 2 starters, 2 mains and a dessert. Yes this is expensive but actually wasn't quite as much as I expected to pay in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant. We paid in cash and the tip we left was brought back so were given the option to leave it which was nice as I hate it when waiters assume you are leaving a tip and don't come back with any change.
We enjoyed our meal at Gordon Ramsays but left feeling slightly disappointed at the not so great starter and generally poor service. We expected nothing less than perfection and didn't feel this was what we got. However we did thoroughly enjoy the main courses and dessert which were of a very high standard therefore didn't resent paying the bill and would still recommend this place overall. Just don't expect the world from it.
151 West 54th Street
Tel: (212) 468-8889
Just prior to my visit to New york in december 2009, I remember well that the 6 of us that were going, were really excited, and determined to save hard for the trip, and cram as much site seeing, and one off experiences into the trip as was possible in the 5 days that we would be there for.
One of our group of 6 was very keen for us to have an evening meal in Gordon Ramsey's restuarant in New York, called 'The London' during our vsit to NYC. Now I wouldn't say I was desperate to go myself, the main reason being that I quite dislike the foul mouthed, and self obsessed Gordon Ramsey.
We were warned at the time that 'The London' would be expensive, but all agreed that whilst we were on this trip, we would love to try the dining experience at Gordon Ramseys restuarant, and proceeded to have a quick look at prices, and menus, and book a table, (and start saving!)
$$$$$$ Menus and prices $$$$$$
The cost of the prestige menu is an astounding $150 per head for seven courses, or for those with less pennies, a reduced price of $95 for 3 courses.
Now don't get me wrong, I love my food, and I am prepared to pay a decent price, for very good food, but $150 for your dinner is way too extreme!! $95 is bad enough, and totally out of my league normally, but for a one-off, we decided to go for the $95 deal.
This included a starter, a main, and a desert, from a fairly varied menu, although as is custom with these types of places, there were a few choices on the menu, (mainly the ones that everyone really wants to order), that carried a further supplement in the range of $10-$25!!!!
Anyway, a few months later, we arrived in New York, and were having a great time. Eventually the night of our booking to 'The London' arrived, and so we all got dressed up, and headed off to the restaurant.
The dress code is:
Smart, with jackets preferred for gentlemen, but not required.
The London Restaurant is located at:
51 West 54th Street
The restaurant is part of The London NYC Hotel, situated on the ground floor, which is a luxurious and expensive hotel, (containing suites which start at a bargain price of $279 per night!).
As we arrived at the restaurant, and had our coats taken from us, and were taken to our table, we felt like VIP's!
The retaurant was very chiq, and modern, with large round spacious tables, set out in a huge, modern 'art deco' style room, filled with the smell of delicious food, and relaxing music.
The service was very good, and the menus were explained clearly to us, which was a good a job, as most of the content from the menu was completely new to us all.
The waiter then bought us some water to the table, and we chose our food, and were given the wine menu.
The wine, was not cheap, so we selected 2 bottles of the cheapest wine, which was approx $45 a bottle, and were determined to make the 2 bottles last all 6 of us throughout the evening, which it did thanks to the water that we were supplied with over the course of the meal.
The food was very good, each course was tiny though, and was basically a couple of mouthfulls, but this was pretty much what we expected. We were treated to 2 appetizers at no cost throughout our meal which was an unexpected surprise.
So all was going very well, until we asked for the bill....
Being quite a money concious person, I was well aware that the meal was $95, and so for the six of us, with the wine, I was expecting a bill somewhere in the region of $700.... But boy was I wrong!!
1st mistake - It is common in America to add taxes to the total of the bill, and so this was something I had forgotten about, and came to approx a further $70.
2nd mistake - All the water they had been shoving down our throats throughout our visit, we were being charged for. I was really annoyed by this, as A: there was no mention of a charge anywhere, and B: the waiter kept filling our glasses up, thoughout the meal, without even asking if we wanted any more!!! This resulted in a further $80 for water!!! (Not amused). This was the same story for the bread rolls which we had been offered, and gratefully accepted with the first 2 courses!!
3rd mistake - As if that wasn't enough they added an 18% gratuity fee!!
All in all our bill came to just shy of $1200, almost double what I had been expecting, and at $200 per person for 1 meal, is completely ridiculous.
Boy was I thanking my lucky stars that we had not gone for the 7 courses!!
So $400 for tea for me and the missus....................
(godness knows how many dooyoo miles that is!!!! )
We paid up, and left, with a distinct taste of 'being ripped off' left in our mouths!
$$ Conclusion $$
OK, so I will start with the positives:
The food was nice, not very filling, but tasty.
The service was good.
The restaurant was very nicely set out, and felt lavish.
Now for the negatives:
Its really expensive! I have had some delicious meals back in the UK, many of which have cost approx a tenna, and all of which have been a lot more filling than the crumbs we got in 'The London'.
Hidden charges - don't forget to add the gratuity fee, and taxes to the initial figure you are quoted on the menu!
$80 for a few glasses of water!!
Apart from the ridiculous cost, this was a nice place to eat. I will not be visiting it again EVER, but for a 'one off' I suppose I have experienced the whole 'Ramsey experience' thing.
Go with a full wallet, and a quite full stomach!
© l500589 2010
Gordon Ramsay has received a bad press of late, but my two experiences of dining at The London Restaurant in New York, cement my belief that he remains one of the best chefs in the world.
Having lived in New York for four years, I sampled a number of eateries during my stay, and this restaurant always left me wanting to go back for more.
Set in the London Hotel, the restaurant is accessed via the London bar, and is a small dining room at the back of the hotel. The restaurant itself is an intimate setting, with stunning mirrored walls and a low ceiling which creates a tranquil environment and a real sense of opulence.
The menu is divided into two, offering an a la carte selection or the prestige menu, which is a 7 course set menu, with an option for vegetarians if required.
On both of our visits we opted for the prestige menu, as we felt that we would maximise the combinations of flavours by doing this. We also opted for the wine pairing which was truly a wonderful experience, and the sommelier was always on hand to talk us through the choice of wine and how it complimented the food.
The cheese board, although pricey at $17.00 supplement is an experience all of its own, with something like 60 cheeses on offer, and an experienced waiter to tell you the history of the cheese, the various types and those that go well together. Even though I'm not a cheese lover, this was an amazing taste experience!
From the moment we arrived, each and every member of staff was attentive to our needs, polite and courteous, and happy to assist with any questions we had.
The Restaurant Director was on hand during our second visit, and happy to talk to us about the history of the hotel and the Gordon Ramsey franchise, and upon our request, he was happy to give us a tour of the wine cellar and kitchen - this was a wonderful end to the evening.
This is the painful bit! Such luxury and five star service doesn't come cheap, and for the two of us we didn't see much change from $500! However, it will always be money well spent in my book as the service was second to none.
If you can afford it and you're having a romantic break in New York, this isn't to be missed.
We went to Gordon Ramsays restaurant at the London Hotel in New York. Before going in to dinner we sat in the bar having a couple of cocktail prior to being called to the restaurant which is at the back of the bar area in a very exclusive dining room.
The ambiance was absolutely fantastic the waiting staff were extremely attentive and unobstrusive and seemed to glide around the restaurant as if they were floating on air. There were probably around about 20 tables in the restaurant and slowly filled up as the evening progressed although whilst dining you actually felt as if you were the only customers in the restaurant.
We ordered the prestige menu with wine pairing which compared to London prices was excellent value. We paid approximately $350 for the meal. I was going to describe the menu but decided it would spoil the experience should you endeavour to go there. Suffice it to say there were 7 courses which were presented and introduced individually by the staff. Freshly cooked breads were presented throughout the meal.
The wines picked by the sommelier were picked to compliment each and every course and were excellent and very well recieved. The service was unhurried and discrete in fact sometimes we didnt even notice they had removed the empty plates and glasses between courses.
The meal felt very unhurried and was delivered with precision timing and two staff attended the table one placing the food in front of you and then the second describing the contents of each course ready to answer any questions you had about the food.
We enjoyed it so much we actually made another booking for the following night and had exactly the same menu again. This time the sommelier picked different wines to accompany each course which were absolutely out of this world and ceratinly enhanced the meal. The staff are certainly experienced and knew exactly what they are doing in such a discrete and professional manner.
The whole experience was magical and something you will never forget. We were treated as if we were special and the service was of the highest standard. It was well worth the money and I would definitely recommend it for a truely memorable experience and although we were in the restaurant for two hours we had to rush to go to the theatre but could have stayed for another half an hour to an hour at least.
If booking dont make the mistake of booking the Maze restaurant which is not the same restaurant......the Maze is an open area near the bar and not private or exclusive like the restaurant.
This restaurant is certainly a credit to Gordon Ramsay and more so the staff working here. If I could award it 6 stars I would do so.
I went to The London restaurant in December 2007 during a visit to New York. This was a gastronomic treat for us, and, when compared with the prices in the UK (with the exchange rates a that time) a bargain!
The restaurant is set at the back of the hotel, and is spacious, elegantly decorated and very chic. As you would expect in a restaurant of this calibre, and being in New York, the service is just excellent. The staff are very knowledgeable and keen to wait on you without being fussy, pushy or in the way.
We went for the set lunch menu and at $45 - £22.50 for three courses we thought it was great value. The menu does change, but there are at least four or five options for each course. I had foie gras, loin of rabbit and a chocolate soufflé. As I had not tried foie gras before, I expected it to be a fatty pate, but was rather surprised at how greasy it was. The rabbit loin was delicious, very tender and had an interesting, complementing hazelnut jus. The chocolate soufflé was perfectly created with a crispy top and a luscious, gooey centre. The soufflé was accompanied with a measure of malted milk, I wasn't sure whether to pour it over the soufflé or swig it like a shot, so I did both. The soufflé had caramelized bananas at the base of it, which for the chocoholic in me, was unnecessary and replaced another delectable taste of soufflé.
I found the meal very well priced but with the additional cost of drinks and a taste of the cheese board and sweets like hokey pokey and lime marshmallows - which are, of course, made on site; the total cost can climb a fair deal. But as always these are optional extras. I am a big foodie and I like to eat out usually at places with very good fresh food but I am not overly keen on pretentious dishes. Some of the food is extremely pretentious, there aren't many, if any, simple dishes, but they are put together very well. In terms of portion size, I thought the courses were well measured. The starter is a sample, the main is a larger taste and the dessert finishes you of. There is also an amuse-bouche, which I can only describe as frothy, whisked egg, was not to my fancy, but interesting to try. I was pleasantly full after my meal, which for lunch menu I think is great.
I would suggest that you review the menu online before visiting The London to ensure that there is something you enjoy, or would like to be a bit adventurous and try. You will need to book several weeks in advance as the lunch time slots are very popular.
The London was a lovely fine dining experience, I think if I were to try other restaurants I would visit somewhere with simple lines in their dishes rather than numerous complicated flavours. I would visit the London again and think it is great deal.
Formal hotel dining.